The rigors of global competition are especially evident in the consumer goods industry and retail. Hardly any other sector has undergone a greater increase in product diversification. Taking the food industry as an example, milk producers now have more than twice as many products as they did only five years ago. Companies are tempted to occupy small niches in order to continue growing. The key factor in competitive success is the ability to master this growth in real terms.
The retail sector is experiencing further radical changes. Consumers want to use different sales channels from a single supplier in parallel with seamless transitions between in-store, mail order, call center, online, and mobile apps. This requires realigning the requisite structures. Working together with manufacturers and retailers, Porsche Consulting unleashes hidden resources that enable suppliers to concentrate fully on their customers instead of on administrative matters. This strengthens their competitive edge – in large part by increasing customer satisfaction.
- How can we bring our goods to retail shelves quickly and smoothly?
- How do we design the ideal factories, production processes and distribution networks of the future?
- How can production respond to increasing cost pressures and calls for greater flexibility?
- How do we master greater variety without neglecting individual demands from the market?
- How do we gain more time for our customers and secure their loyalty over the long term?
- How do opportunities for digitization generate even more impetus?
Strategies and solutions
The experts from Porsche Consulting command substantial practical experience in industry and trade. From their work they know the interfaces, bottlenecks, and risks on both sides. As consultants they combine a strategic long-term view with implementation-oriented strategies. Their key to success lies in open dialogue with employees on the shop floor just as much as with managers.
Raw products generally undergo a long journey before landing on retail shelves as consumer goods. This often takes far too much time. After all, multiple other fields such as production, logistics service providers, and dealers are also involved in the supply chain. Because customers want new products at ever faster rates, however, companies can no longer afford such long throughput times. The Porsche consultants analyze the dependencies and interdependencies of complex supply chains and derive the right measures. Success lies in better planning and control as well as in closer cooperation. This enables production to respond in faster and more flexible ways to new customer desires. In one of our projects, a producer of sweets succeeded in bringing chocolate bars to supermarket shelves at a much faster rate. Instead of three months, product development and delivery now take only two weeks.
Companies that design their factories and distribution networks efficiently generate advantages in highly competitive sectors. Porsche Consulting lays the foundation on which companies can set up lean structures at their factories. The consultants analyze not only layouts and surfaces, but also critically examine the organization, the flow of goods, and the network as a whole. Systematic subsequent optimization enables investment and transport costs to be lowered and higher levels of efficiency to be reached. For a producer of baked goods, this quickly paid off. By restructuring its production layout, the company no longer had to go through with plans to build a new warehouse because the existing space proved to be sufficient.
Raising production is not a one-time action. Experience from Porsche Consulting shows that just a few years after completing a successful productivity program, it is possible to achieve yet another considerable increase in efficiency. Major opportunities arise from constantly changing preconditions such as the product mix, external market influences, and internal company changes. This was shown by a producer of canned goods. Although its production processes were already very strong and stable, it was able to increase productivity by an additional 20 percent. A regular check of efficiency factors, therefore, brings marked improvements. Machine availability, set-up times, and effective planning and control instruments for ideal production processes can always be further optimized in just a short period of time.
The Porsche consultants identify critical complexity drivers. These include an unnecessary large number of variants. Analyzing them makes both their benefits and their costs visible and measurable. Based on these results, the experts derive a strategy to reduce these factors. They apply modularization, modular matrix and variant management methods that were originally developed in the automotive industry. Porsche Consulting has already used these methods for a number of consumer goods manufacturers to great success, opening large areas of potential that generate substantial advantages in cost.
At the interface between brick-and-mortar and online shops, excellent and comprehensive service is becoming a major strength and distinguishing feature. However, the even greater degree of interconnection between the real and digital worlds is placing even more pressure on retailers. Together with their clients, Porsche consultants smooth standard processes such as the shipment of goods and planning. This enables employees to devote greater attention to their customers. Sales and support processes are generally separated. Porsche Consulting’s projects have demonstrated that it is possible to increase purchase rates by up to 30 percent. Overall sales have risen by five percent a year.
Contact points with retail customers open up all manner of opportunities. As such, it is important to increase the number of customer contacts on the one hand, and to make perfect use of these contacts on the other. Ideally, digital and classical service processes should be precisely interlinked, enabling consumers to not only be satisfied but also delighted. The result: retailers with future-oriented structures acquire new customers and increase their success by means of lean management.