Managing Director & Partner
Related Expertise: Supply Chain Management, Consumer Products Industry
Working in collaboration with the Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA) and its membership, The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) conducted extensive benchmarking on topics related to effective supply-chain management. The resulting report, GMA Supply-Chain Benchmarking 2012: Unlocking the Hidden Value of Complexity Management and Collaboration, is based on a survey of 51 CPG manufacturers in the U.S., supplemented by interviews with 65 supply-chain executives. It also incorporates data that BCG gathered by polling 116 attendees at the February 2013 Supply Chain Conference, jointly hosted by the GMA and the FMI, including retailer views. Furthermore, it draws on BCG’s experience working with many of the leading CPG manufacturers and retailers in the U.S.
Since the Grocery Manufacturers Association’s (GMA’s) last supply-chain-logistics benchmarking survey in 2010, manufacturers of consumer packaged goods (CPG) have continued to face challenging economic headwinds. Many have responded by intensifying their focus on cutting costs and optimizing working capital, but this avenue to superior performance will at some point reach its natural end. And while some CPG manufacturers have successfully balanced lower costs with improved service, businesses on average have suffered slight drops in service levels.
Given these factors, it is time to go beyond traditional cost-cutting and find the answer to a different question: How can CPG manufacturers unlock additional value? This report, the eighth in the GMA’s benchmarking series focused on manufacturers’ outbound-supply-chain logistics, points the way forward.
There are still significant opportunities for nearly all companies to improve their supply-chain performance. Our analysis indicates that traditional assumptions regarding tradeoffs among costs, inventory, and service don’t always hold true. We found that higher inventory does not always equate to better service, and scale does not automatically lead to lower costs. (See “Questioning Conventional Wisdom.”) Instead, the winners manage the tradeoff between cost and service by focusing on less utilized, customer-centric levers such as complexity management and collaboration with trading partners.
Manufacturers should challenge conventional wisdom, particularly bearing in mind that the data we collected revealed several surprises:
This three-part report builds on the GMA’s 20 years of supply-chain-benchmarking experience and related publications but differs from its predecessors in three key ways:
Here, we outline the key findings of our study, primarily focusing on companies using warehouse-based supply chains.