Pandemic disruptions are boosting supply chain consulting

Visual Subway Map Consulting 2022

In 2021 almost 90% of European consulting firms saw a rise in profits from their supply chain consulting activities, compared to only roughly half of them a year earlier. Nearly three-quarters of them did supply chain network optimization projects most often, followed by Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP) projects (68%) and supply chain strategy projects (61%). These findings became apparent during the research for the annual SCM Consulting Subway Map of Europe.

By Martijn Lofvers

Across the board, supply chain consulting firms in Europe had a strong year in 2021. 95% of the 38 firms surveyed reported growth in the number of enquiries and projects compared to 2020, when only 34% did more projects than the previous year. Over three-quarters of the firms hired more consultants. Several of the consulting firms interviewed indicated that the shortage of new consultants is currently limiting their growth and sometimes even forcing them to turn down assignments.

End-to-end planning

As part of the research for the SCM Consulting Map of Europe, consulting firms were also asked about their most appealing projects. Supply chain network optimization scored highly in this context, including a project by Bluecrux for a Dutch pharmaceutical manufacturer of COVID-19 vaccines and a project by Efeso Consulting for a Swiss consumer goods manufacturer.

However, the most frequently mentioned appealing projects related to end-to-end supply chain planning. Ordina and Solventure each implemented advanced planning tools at international food manufacturing companies. Capgemini implemented touchless supply chain planning at a global consumer goods manufacturer, improving the forecasting accuracy by 10 to 15%. Chainalytics implemented advanced planning software at a multinational in the agricultural industry. Camelot applied demand-pull principles in the vertical supply chain planning between the factories and distribution centres for a Swiss manufacturer in the life sciences sector.

Meanwhile, both Tsetinis Consulting and Horváth & Partner selected creating supply chain transparency for an automotive client as their most appealing supply chain projects in 2021. Many of the consulting firms surveyed were involved in cutting-edge projects for European retailers last year. EyeOn helped retailer Lekkerland to apply machine learning in supply chain forecasting, and Districon integrated analytics into the global e-commerce fulfilment processes of an omnichannel retailer. In the Netherlands, Diagma and Möbius each designed an automated distribution centre for a retailer. Mews helped a French retailer to future-proof its e-commerce operations for the next five years. Last but not least, to improve the client’s online performance, the Supply Chain Consulting Group redesigned the logistics network for a British homeware retailer with 400 stores in the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Positioning on the subway map

The strong growth in supply chain consulting since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a number of acquisitions. The strategy consulting firm Kearny has acquired the Danish procurement and supply chain consulting firm Prokura. Another Danish supply chain consulting firm, Syncronic, has been taken over by Deloitte, while Chainalytics became part of the US IT group NTT Data at the start of this year.

The ninth edition of the SCM Consulting Subway Map of Europe is based on information provided by the consulting firms themselves. A subway station on a line visualizes a company’s proven experience in that particular area of supply chain expertise. This is assessed by considering the number of consultancy projects completed, the market share by revenue for each specific area of advice, the size of the company and the degree of specialization. To be included on this subway map, a consultancy firm must have offices in more than one European country or also on at least one other continent. However, a few exceptions have been made for supply chain consulting firms with a truly international customer base.

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