100 Great Supply Chain Partners of 2018

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A truly great supply chain partner is one who knows precisely which ingredients we need to make our operations successful — and those we can skip.

Some partners can tell us, for instance, what technologies we need to deploy, when to implement and how to upgrade.

Others can advise who to contract for manufacturing and transportation, where to source parts and raw materials — or how to dispose of tainted or defective goods. They can help us finance supply chain operations, mitigate risk and ultimately bring together these disparate components to streamline our businesses.

The interconnected nature of business today means leaders have to be careful when choosing each partner. Modern supply chains often resemble more of a web than a chain, and with so many partners involved — often in a single transaction — mutual trust and reliability are key. Relationships of any real vintage endure only when these qualities are baked in from the start.

Success is in sight, and probably guaranteed, when you know a partner’s word is good: that they mean what they say and deliver on their promises. The best make streamlining your business look effortless. A pinch of this, a pinch of that — and voila!

Each year, SupplyChainBrain readers tell us about thousands of these great partners, and we publish the top 100 most-nominated — along with select case studies. Here, companies can express their appreciation for their partners in logistics, technology or some other area of supply chain management.

This year, we received nominations for supply chain solutions companies of all sizes and industries — who not only solved real-world issues, but exceeded their contractual obligations. Many submissions expressed gratitude for partners that allowed companies to focus on core efforts. Results included new business gains, increased financial savings, improved operational efficiencies and more.

In the testimonials below, anonymous (and verified) leaders in supply chain management express more of what makes their partners great.

What Must a Partner Bring?

  • Reliability. If your word isn’t good, neither is your business model.
  • Excellence. Second-best is second-rate.
  • Value. Is your partner bringing the same-old, same-old that everybody else offers?
  • Expertise. Your partner needs to know your business inside and out.
  • Problem-solving skills. Is your partner looking to you for answers or is he or she providing them?
  • Continuous improvement. Your partner must never stop learning.
  • Support. After the sale or implementation, can you find your partner for support?
  • Positive attitude. If your partner doesn’t have a “can-do” attitude, you need a new partner.
  • Global reach. Stay-at-home partners should stay at home.
  • Strong leadership. Is your partner reading the manual on leadership — or writing one?

Click here to continue reading this article and to see Smart Gladiator in the list.


Puga Sankara is the co-founder of Smart Gladiator LLC. Smart Gladiator designs, builds, and delivers market-leading mobile technology for retailers, distributors, and 3PL service providers. So far, Smart Gladiator Wearables have been used to ship, receive, and scan more than 50 million boxes. Users love them for the lightweight, easy-to-use soft overlay keyboard and video chatting ability, data collection ability etc. Puga is a supply chain technology professional with more than 17 years of experience in deploying capabilities in the logistics and supply chain domain. His prior roles involved managing complicated mission-critical programs driving revenue numbers, rolling out a multitude of capabilities involving more than a dozen systems, and managing a team of 30 to 50 personnel across multiple disciplines and departments in large corporations such as Hewlett Packard. He has deployed WMS for more than 30 distribution centers in his role as a senior manager with Manhattan Associates. He has also performed process analysis walk-throughs for more than 50 distribution centers for WMS process design and performance analysis review, optimizing processes for better productivity and visibility through the supply chain. Size of these DCs varied from 150,000 to 1.2 million SQFT. Puga Sankara has an MBA from Georgia Tech. He can be reached at [email protected] or visit the company at www.smartgladiator.com. Also follow him at www.pugasankara.com.

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