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Accenture helps a nutritional products manufacturer reduce operational complexity to unlock high performance.
The client is a global health care company engaged in the discovery, development, manufacture and sale of pediatric and adult nutritional products with reported sales exceeding $5 billion.
Although the company was experiencing financial success due to brand-name recognition and superior performance relative to peers, consumer demand for the company’s core products often exceeded supply. The company realized it had systemic issues with the supply chain, yet it could not detect where the issues were originating from or how they were affecting overall organizational performance. Furthermore, as the company strove to meet demand, the near-term focus on execution was resulting in process inefficiencies and complications.
At the same time, external factors were aggravating the situation. Continued expansion into new marketplaces across the world resulted in increasing pressure on the company to provide unique products for local markets to meet local demand. By providing new products to maintain its competitive edge and continue its expansion, the company began to experience a proliferation of products that added layers of complexity to its supply chain and operations.
To address these challenges, the company sought ways to reduce complexity and increase internal capacity—without making a significant capital investment. Accenture was able to assist with its perspective on how organizations can achieve smart growth through innovation without getting mired in product proliferation. (See Smart Growth: Innovating to Meet the Needs of the Market.) To realize smart growth, organizations must identify the unmet and unarticulated needs of the customer, and align their innovation processes to those insights. One key component of this process is to free up innovation capacity by removing or managing complexity within an organization’s products, services and operations.
Accenture started with an assessment phase focused on taking an end-to-end view of the supply chain—from forecasting and planning through to product returns. The assessment team quickly progressed through facilitated workshops, site visits and complexity value stream-mapping to develop a robust as-is view of the client’s supply chain. This process provided the baseline for highlighting the primary issues inhibiting supply chain performance, which included stock-keeping unit (SKU) proliferation, and inconsistent operational performance and output.
After the assessment phase, Accenture delivered an actionable list of more than 75 initiatives on which the internal improvement team could focus to capture short-term value, and lay the groundwork for longer-term process and organizational change. Accenture also provided training and tools from its Lean Six Sigma offering to help the internal team scope, scale and drive the improvement agenda from the assessment phase into implementation and value capture.
Accenture collaborated with the client to leverage a holistic perspective created by the complexity assessment and issue-based problem solving methodologies—and then focused resources on driving maximum return on investment. The team created a realistic and actionable strategic agenda for immediate implementation, while targeting three key systemic issues inhibiting total supply chain performance:
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