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Supply Chain

Supply Chain

Turn your supply chain into a competitive weapon

Supply Chain

The pandemic, trade wars, and severe storms: these are just a few of the disruptions recently churning markets. Today the entire world appreciates the value of resilient and sustainable supply chains. But it’s nothing new for our firm. We’ve been helping clients achieve these virtues for decades.

Whether you want to undertake an end-to-end strategic transformation, or targeted fixes for specific links in your operations to increase supply chain resiliency, our supply chain consultants are the perfect partners to collaborate with on Supply Chain Reinvention. We combine proprietary digital capabilities, deep domain expertise, and a rich database of your industry’s key performance indicators to create highly effective, customized solutions. We augment our supply chain expertise with a proven track record in areas spanning change management, sustainability, digital transformation, and more.

No matter where your company falls on the supply-chain maturity curve, Supply Chain Reinvention can help you seize a competitive advantage. We've partnered on critical supply chain issues with more than half of the companies ranked in Gartner’s “Top 25” supply chains. And we’ve helped companies in consumer products, advanced manufacturing services, energy and natural resources, retail and nearly every other industry conquer capacity constraints, overcome margin pressure, embrace the latest digital technologies, and fully align their supply chain capabilities with their strategic ambition.

The journey from suppliers to end customers is often global, complex, and beset by countless chances for value to escape due to mis­takes, delays, unnecessary costs, inefficiency, poor communication, and missed opportunities. So it’s not surprising that most companies have supply chains that underperform, typi­cally leaving 5 to 10 percentage points in potential gross margin gains—and often more—unrealized.  

You need a supply chain that’s resilient, responsive to complex consumer demands, and differentially enabled—all while remaining efficient and affordable in a way that satisfies both your investors and your price-sensitive consumers.

We provide the right mix of planning, technical expertise, specialized tools and ongoing engagement to bridge the gap between strategy and design, and ensure that your supply chain reaches its full, unconstrained potential.

Read about more about our approach to Supply Chain Reinvention.

Water scarcity, reducing carbon emissions, fair labor, and consumer demand for sustainable products are driving companies to commit to change. In many respects, supply chains are at the heart of a company’s sustainability strategy—and key to their success. From design, source, and make to deliver, use, and dispose, every component of a supply chain intersects with a range of the environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues that define sustainability.

We can help you address critical issues from one end of the value chain to the other, so that your operations and supply chain evolve from a traditional, linear approach to a circular ecosystem that embraces the 5 R’s (rebalance, reduce, reuse, recycle, and remanufacture). We can help you accurately assess your ESG starting point, structure your sustainability ambitions, implement the organizational and operating models that enable you to execute your sustainability strategy across the entire value chain, and implement the traceability, metrics and digital solutions that support these efforts.

We can also make sure you avoid common traps to achieving sustainability in operations, adopt best practices critical to integrating sustainability into your operations, build sustainability into your procurement function, and develop a partnership ecosystem that can provide the specialized expertise you need to accelerate your progress.  Our proven approach is designed to produce quick wins in the short term and keep you on track to reach your longer-term ambition. Not only will your supply chain be more resilient and reliable—it will become the spine of your sustainable operations strategy, enabling you to seize and maintain a leadership position.

Companies often find themselves constrained by a complex manufacturing network. Assets, spin-offs and siloed investments are a common cause, as is the tendency to build expensive new plants to meet demand for a high-margin product. Complex regulations can pose a challenge, while asset- or plant-level throughput initiatives often fail to take into account the impact on the broader supply chain or manufacturing network.

The results can be devastating:

  • Poor service levels
  • Declines in perfect order rates
  • Low asset utilization
  • Skewed capacity-to-demand ratios
  • Frequent disruptions
  • Slow or expensive logistics

We can help you redesign your networks using a proven, repeatable approach that begins with a detailed assessment of the current state, an analysis of future demand and a definition of what full potential can look like.

From there we establish design principles and define service levels, use unconstrained thinking to envision an optimum future state, and launch an iterative process that strikes the right balance between actionable scenarios and the capital investments needed to achieve them.

Our approach generates impressive results that span Capex and gross margin improvements, shrink and logistics cost reductions, and significant improvements to service levels, inventory turns, customer satisfaction, and more.

We believe there are three essential building blocks to integrated business planning (IBP):

It should begin with strategic translation, to make sure that your top business priorities inform the choices you make about your network and operational parameters. 

It should integrate with your demand and supply planning.

And, it should rely on metrics, root-cause diagnostics, feedback loops, and a variety of other tools and data sources to support continuous improvement.

Our IBP consulting expertise builds on those three elements by creating coordinated, cross-functional teams; applying clear governance and decision rights; integrating plans; connecting data systems; and developing the capability to identify the root causes of any problems or sources of underperformance.

Our clients have boosted revenue by as much as 8%, due to their increased ability to meet demand. Improved customer service levels pave the way for better pricing. Inventory declines by as much as 25%, thanks to superior planning capabilities. Lower operating costs lead to an EBITDA margin improvement of as much as 3 p.p. Forecast accuracy improves by up to 30%. And on-time delivery improves by as much as 15% because they have the right inventory in the right place at the right time.  

Every supply chain has an “efficient frontier” that defines the trade-off between service level performance and inventory levels. Most companies don’t get as close to that frontier as they could, opting instead to carry too much inventory and pay the price in diminished service level performance.

There are a number of reasons for this, ranging from the use of incorrect safety stock algorithms to SKU complexity to lack of ownership of metrics to ineffective promotions, and many more.

We work with companies to optimize inventory management, first by getting you closer to the current efficiency frontier and then by helping you “shift the curve,” to achieve step-change improvements in inventory efficiency. We help you address multiple facets of your supply chain design and operations, including planning, purchasing, manufacturing, distribution, product portfolio and your manufacturing network. We also work with you to integrate digital capabilities across your supply chain.

We've helped companies in retail, advanced manufacturing, consumer products, energy & natural resources, healthcare and many other industries reduce non-seasonal inventories by 25%, improve the inventory-to-sales ratio by 4%-5%, and achieve total shrink reduction of 15%, to cite just a few results.

Becoming a leader in transportation and logistics requires finding the right balance between cost, investment and service levels based on segment need.

We help companies do that through an approach that includes three major elements.

  1. Strategy translation: Determine optimal service levels based on customer needs and your overall strategy for customer service and logistics.
  2. Network optimization: Evaluate resource sharing across units, and make critical decision about whether and what to own versus outsourcing to a 3PL.
  3. Customer service and logistics excellence: Optimize the order-to-cash process and the warehousing and transport components of your logistics operations.

We also inject state-of-the-art digitization and automation technologies wherever they produce value, and help your teams acquire the capabilities they need to support continuous improvement. The result: Logistics costs decline 10% to 25%, on-time and in-full deliveries improve to >95%, and Capex on transport and warehousing infrastructure declines.  

Our supply chain expertise is supported by a number of complementary capabilities that ensure you get the best results possible.

We embed the right digital technologies at key points along the supply chain. Smart automation, for example, can help you accelerate your operational processes while increasing flexibility and the ability to customize. End-to-end visibility and collaboration, including with 3PLs, can boost responsiveness, improve operational planning, and facilitate superior tracing of products and input materials. Advanced R&D management, planning and forecasting capabilities and a host of tools and technologies that make employees more productive are also important parts of our digital portfolio.

We'll help you address essential organizational elements of an effective supply chain, including what level of centralization makes sense and what forms of decision-making, governance and related ways of working will ensure that your supply chain meets its full potential.

Sustainability is also critically important. We can help you define your sustainability ambition and make a strong business case for sustainability, one that addresses cost reduction, commercial opportunity, risk mitigation, recruitment, or some combination of all four. 

Bain Partner Joe Terino explains how companies can reinvent their supply chains to meet their changing needs, now and in the future.

Our Impact in Supply Chains

Our Impact in Supply Chains

Analyst Recognition

Analyst Recognition

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We have been recognized by IDC MarketScape as a leader in worldwide operations improvement consulting services.

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Our Supply Chain Insights

Supply Chain Index

How resilient is your supply chain? Don’t let disruption put it to the test. Our Supply Chain Resiliency Index identifies vulnerabilities before trouble strikes, through a quantitative assessment of operational and macro impact risks.

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