In 2020, our Smarter With Gartner supply chain coverage paralleled the evolution of the global pandemic, from initial logistics disruptions to widespread supply shortages to vaccine rollout and distribution.
Supply chain was always an important, but often low-profile, part of business operations. Now at center stage because of COVID-19 and global trade upheavals, supply chain organizations have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform their operations.
Supply chain leaders are rushing to invest in advanced technologies, digitalize and automate factories, implement new labor management models and improve manufacturing resilience. We bumped up our coverage of these and other critical supply chain issues in 2020 — and our readers responded with healthy interest.
Here’s a list of our most-read supply chain articles this year.
No. 1: Coronavirus: How to Secure Your Supply Chain
When we ran this article in February, the first coronavirus death outside China had just been recorded. At that time, no one could have predicted the extent of the global crisis that would follow, but supply chain’s potentially critical role in the response was already evident.
This article outlined the likely impact of the pandemic across the entire supply chain — materials, labor, logistics — and practical steps that supply chain leaders could take to mitigate disruption. Read it now and also check out an e-book on how to implement factory innovations in the post-pandemic era.
No. 2: Gartner Top 8 Supply Chain Technology Trends for 2020
Supply chain leaders tend to be cautious when it comes to adopting new technology, but the coronavirus outbreak broke their resistance to change. We published this highly popular article several months into the pandemic, when supply chain operations were stretched to the limit. Supply chain leaders looked to technologies such as 5G networks, digital supply chain twins and edge computing to provide a competitive advantage as their organizations moved through the pandemic and beyond. Read it now.
No. 3: 6 Strategies for a More Resilient Supply Chain
In the wake of the pandemic and global trade disruptions, supply chains have had to balance their traditional emphasis on cost efficiency with greater resiliency — the ability to sense and respond to unanticipated changes in supply or demand quickly and reliably. That often means additional cost, but as this article shows, in the current environment, the cost of doing nothing can be much higher. Read it now and from there jump to a guide to managing supply chain in a circular economy.
No. 4: 3 Trends From Top Supply Chain Organizations
This article identifies what leading global supply chains have in common that helps them succeed even in an uncertain business climate. Drawn from the Gartner Supply Chain Top 25 for 2020 list, the best supply chains share purpose-driven objectives, innovative business models and investment in advanced technologies. Read it now.
No. 5: 5 Trends From the Gartner Hype Cycle for Supply Chain Strategy, 2020
Gartner Hype Cycle reports, which show how the adoption of technologies and applications will evolve over time, are perennial favorites with our readers. This article on the Hype Cycle for Supply Chain Strategy is especially popular because it describes the capabilities that supply chain organizations should invest in to optimize their performance and move out of the economic downturn faster than their competitors. Read it now and jump to a guide to developing end-to-end supply chain strategy.
Transportation, logistics and more
With interest in supply chain issues running high, several articles that didn’t quite make it to our top-five list still drew thousands of readers. Runners-up include:
- 2 Best Practices for Rebooting the Supply Chain. In this article, written in May, a Gartner expert weighed in on what supply chain leaders could learn from Chinese businesses that were already exiting the coronavirus lockdown. The lessons still apply in the “new normal.”
- Improve Transportation Worker Safety During COVID-19. The pandemic has pressured all aspects of supply chains, but transportation workers are particularly at risk. Social distancing to prevent infection is a challenge for both truck drivers and employees at pickup and delivery locations, such as warehouses, stores or medical facilities. This article lists steps to ensure safety.
- 6 Key Actions to Manage Logistics and Supply Chain Disruptions. The theme of disruption understandably dominated the virtual Gartner supply chain conferences held in October and November this year. This article reported on a conference session that focused on managing continuity across six important areas of logistics.