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Microsoft named overall winner at Gartner supply chain initiative awards

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Gartner, Inc. has announced the winners of the 2021 Power of the Profession Awards, which recognises the most impactful supply chain initiatives of the year as selected by the community.

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

“Gartner’s Power of the Profession Award winners show how supply chain organisations overcome challenges through innovative technology and customer initiatives along with initiatives that impact people and social issues,” said Eric O’Daffer, VP analyst with the Gartner Supply Chain practice.

O’Daffer continued that 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.

The awards highlighted four categories: technology or process innovation, customer or patient innovation, social impact and people breakthroughs.

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 hospitalised 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. The device allows a single ventilator to be used for two patients that receive acute COVID-19 treatment, until individual ventilators are available. Leveraging its 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. Pioneered in Dell Technologies’ factory in Brazil, 20% of the total manufacturing workforce in the project included 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. 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.

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