Management Consulting Firm Helps Food Manufacturer Build A Resilient Supply Chain

The Client

More than Just a Partner, a Member of the Team

Designing strategies that make a difference and improve performance for its clients is all in a day’s work for this Pennsylvania-based management consulting firm. The goal is to maximize impact by delivering measurable, sustainable, and one-of-a-kind solutions. This firm accomplishes this by becoming a part of the client’s team and nurturing the trust that comes from working closely together to help businesses chart the best course forward.

The Situation

Pandemic Prompts Supply Chain Optimization

Companies today face rising prices, outdated technology, and a shortage of raw materials. To improve business performance, companies must invest in digital transformations.After being impacted by the effects of the pandemic, this firm’s food manufacturing client realized it needed to rehaul its supply chain to find ways to lower spending, increase revenue, and decrease oversupply.

Together they conducted a supply chain assessment, analyzing SKU performance and identifying opportunities to improve operations across the organization. Doing so would enable the manufacturer to increase forecasting accuracy, meet target service metrics, and increase customer service performance.

Satisfied with the recommendations, the manufacturer retained the firm to execute the findings. They wanted help in designing and implementing new processes, including replenishment, forecasting supply and demand planning, and sales and operations planning.

Yet the firm lacked someone on their team with the required industry knowledge to successfully execute the project. Knowing that it would need to fill the immediate gap with outside expertise, the firm set out to find an independent consultant that could:

  • Lead a team in the creation of new processes and tools
  • Conduct data analyses to support sales and operations planning
  • Facilitate working sessions with stakeholders
  • Guide a team through testing and implementation
  • Develop materials to educate the company on demand/supply planning and sales and operations (S&OP) best practices
  • Craft a tailored S&OP playbook

The Solution

Industry & Enterprise Experience: A Winning Combination

As a long-time Graphite client, the consulting firm knew it could rely on its account executive (AE) to find, vet, and onboard the right independent subject matter expert. Over 40 experts with S&OP process design and implementation experience and forecasting/supply and demand planning with industry experience were invited to apply for the project.But knowing how important large enterprise experience was to the client, the AE decided to dig deeper into the applicants to provide a shortlist of four candidates.

The AE drew the client’s attention to one expert who seemed like the ideal fit for the project based on Graphite’s vetting process — a former McKinsey consultant with over15+ years of experience. After using Graphite's in-app messaging tools to review and vet each expert, the firm decided to go with the AE recommendations. The firm was impressed by the expert’s strategic-level thinking to drive the transformation in addition to their enterprise background.


A Supply Chain Built to Last

The first thing on the expert’s list was to conduct a current state assessment of the supply/demand planning. This provided the manufacturer with a roadmap on where it needs to optimize its workflows and processes to drive efficiency. Once the current state assessment was completed, the expert then worked on designing the future state supply/demand planning and S&OP planning processes using the findings from the assessment, which would enable them to facilitate the:

  • Replenishment design: this would allow the manufacturer to determine when and how much product they produce and order based on SKU segmentation.
  • Demand supply planning design: this would enable the manufacturer to optimize inventory levels to meet customer demand in realtime.
  • Sales and operations planning design: this would allow the manufacturer to integrate sales, operations, and finance.

After completing these process designs, the expert then set out to help the manufacturer implement the first and second cycle of supply/demand balancing and the S&OP processes. By taking the initiative to optimize its supply chain, the manufacturer was able to decrease spending and manage inventory better to ensure a more resilient approach to its business.

The client has continued working with Graphite by onboarding seven additional experts on-demand to address capacity gaps on new projects at other enterprise clients within three months of their positive experience on this engagement.