Press Release


Stamford, Conn., March 18, 2021

Gartner Announces Supply Chain Winners of the 2021 Power of the Profession Awards

Microsoft Wins Overall Award for Supply Chain Breakthrough of the Year

Gartner, Inc. has announced the winners of the 2021 Power of the Profession Awards. The awards are community-selected recognitions of the most impactful supply chain initiatives of the year.

“Gartner’s Power of the Profession Award winners show how supply chain organizations overcome challenges through innovative technology and customer initiatives along with initiatives that impact people and social issues,” said Eric O’Daffer, vice president analyst with the Gartner Supply Chain practice. “Supply chains that responded well to the challenges of 2020 went beyond conventional practice, applied digital technology, worked toward societal good and took employee-centric approaches.”

There were four award categories, highlighting technology or process innovation, customer or patient innovation, social impact and people breakthroughs.

Supply Chain Breakthrough of the Year: Microsoft wins the overall award, which celebrates the initiative that drives a breakthrough innovation for customers, the business and the lasting benefit of society.

Customer or Patient Innovation of the Year: Johnson & Johnson for its submission “Leveraging 3D Printing and Partnerships to Solve the COVID-19 Ventilator Crisis.”

As the shortage of ventilators for hospitalized patients began to emerge, Johnson & Johnson responded to the demand by partnering with Prisma Health to make and distribute the VESper Ventilator Expansion Splitter device that received emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The device allows a single ventilator to be used for two patients that receive acute COVID-19 treatment, until individual ventilators are available. Johnson & Johnson leveraged existing 3D printing foundations, and its global partnerships to innovate this solution. Johnson & Johnson demonstrated speed and agility as it ramped up production and distribution in only 10 days.

Process or Technology Innovation of The Year: Microsoft for its submission “A Blockchain That Works: Saving $50 Million in Supply Chain Costs.”

Microsoft’s cloud supply chain team developed new blockchain capabilities that reduced cycle time and improved end-to-end, item-level traceability. The technology has uncovered $50 million in hidden costs and expanded margins by digitizing items in a shared data structure. The team developed a single platform that allows users to trace inventory through all steps in the supply chain, from the component supplier to the final delivery. This solves traditional visibility problems in multitiered supply chains. The blockchain platform enables all parties to view, contribute to and monitor the data. The digitized assets on the platform include serialized inventory and the statements of work, purchase orders, invoices, as well as shipment and receipt notices associated with those goods across all parties.

People Breakthrough of the Year: Dell Technologies, for its submission “Empowering and Enabling People with Disabilities (PwD) in Its Factories.”

Dell Technologies’ PwD Global Inclusion Project explores new ways to include people with disabilities in the workforce. The project was pioneered in Dell Technologies’ factory in Brazil, where 20% of the total manufacturing workforce includes people with disabilities. It is based on implementing inclusivity best practices and training, ensuring the physical and structural accessibility of the facility, and partnering with multiple stakeholder groups to create and implement assistive solutions for people with disabilities. Assistive technologies deployed include an application that allows people with hearing loss to test laptop speakers, motorized wheelchairs that help users with lower limb disabilities on the assembly line and a platform that uses augmented reality (AR) to help people with hearing loss learn how to assemble devices.

Social Impact of the Year: Thermo Fisher Scientific for its submission “Developing a 100% Recyclable Paper Cold-Chain Cooler.”

Thermo Fisher Scientific developed a 100% paper, easily recyclable cold-chain packaging alternative to expanded polystyrene (EPS, commonly referred to as “Styrofoam”) coolers that provide appropriate thermal and structural protection during shipping. EPS is inexpensive, lightweight, durable and highly insulative. However, it’s also difficult to recycle which is why it commonly ends up in landfills and contributes to a significant volume of hard-to-recycle waste. Thermo Fisher’s proprietary paper cooler consists of an outer corrugated box with layers of perforated paper folded and laid across the interior. The entire cooler is recyclable alongside other paper and corrugated cardboard materials. For every 10,000 paper coolers Thermo Fisher Scientific ships, more than 6,500 cubic feet of EPS foam stays out of landfills.

The identification of a Gartner award winner or finalist is not an endorsement by Gartner of any vendor, product or service.

Gartner clients can read more in “Supply Chain Executive Report: Power of the Profession Awards” and “Supply Chain Brief: Power of the Profession Awards Highlight Breakthroughs from the Winners”.

A complimentary webinar is available here.

About the Gartner Supply Chain Practice

The Gartner Supply Chain Practice brings together the most relevant analysis, peer-based best practices, metrics and data across Gartner and offers supply chain leaders a platform to make the choices that will drive their business forward.

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