It's long been acknowledged that logistics and supply chain competency has an impact on profitability. According to the results of the latest market study conducted by stock research firm wRatings Corp., it may also help to determine whether a company survives in tumultuous economic times. The survey was sponsored by Fortna Inc., a supply chain consulting and systems integration company.
To conduct the annual study, wRatings researchers identify the bestperforming companies by blending financial data from more than 1,000 consumer goods companies and retailers with information gleaned by polling consumers about how well vendors meet their expectations. The analysis categorizes the consumer data by nine tactics—which include supply chain, product, and marketing/delivery elements—that companies use to prevent competitors from stealing their customers (and by extension, their profits). Then wRatings ranks companies by combining those competitive scores with the companies' profit histories. The winners are deemed not only most competitive but also most durable—those that are likely to be here in the long run.
The Quarter 1, 2009 list looks very different from the list compiled just a year ago. Turnover in the top 20 rankings is 75 percent for retailers and 55 percent for consumer goods companies. Top competitors in the first quarter, say researchers, are likely to come out of the recession stronger and with their customer bases largely intact, thanks in part to realtime access to supply chain data that allows them to respond swiftly to changes in consumer demand. Among the companies wRatings cites as using supply chain management strategies to help them thrive and survive in a tough economy are KimberlyClark, Timberland, and PepsiCo.