Case study

National consumer goods leader gets the right products to the right customers at just the right time with a connected supply chain solution

Client: National consumer goods leader

Our Role: Help to transform the value chain, integrating new ways to work, new go-to-market strategies and new ways to engage with retailers.

Industry: Consumer Markets

Services: Fit for Growth, Technology, Operations Strategy

Solution: Connected Supply Chain

Client Challenge:

How do you future-proof your tried and true brands in an evolving marketplace? By embracing the future. That’s precisely what a leading producer of packaged consumer goods decided to do. Highly effective direct-to-store delivery and strong brands had helped the company achieve market leadership. In a world of changing consumer expectations, new trends and emerging technologies, staying competitive would require structuring and operating a value chain fit for growth and change in a digital world. What data would they need? How could analytics provide insights into the best actions to take in a fast-evolving marketplace? With so many opportunities and options, it was hard to know where to start.

“Integrating the digital strategy and value chain design allowed us to think holistically about what was possible and, at the same time, to plan in a focused way for what was practical in the real world and in real-time.”

Rob DeNardo, Advisory, Partner, PwC Strategy&


A holistic approach to step change

With changing industry dynamics and the expectation of more disruption, transforming the value chain was a top priority for the company’s CEO. A PwC Strategy& team had worked with the C-suite leaders on an earlier project. When it was time to move from the back office to the supply chain, the CEO asked us to work with them to create a fully digitized enterprise. We suggested a holistic approach to transforming the value chain, integrating new ways to work, new go-to-market strategies and new ways to engage with retailers.

PwC specialists with deep experience in business and technology strategy, supply chain, consumer markets, digital design technologies, PwC’s SCOOP[1] Supply Chain analytics tool, PwC’s Demand Estimator tool, Salesforce and customer management, and change management joined with leaders and managers across the company -- from finance to IT, marketing to manufacturing -- to apply our Connected Supply Chain solution. In an immersive experience with 40 company leaders, we explored the “art of the possible,” thinking together about what the future could look like.

Designing an integrated end-to-end value chain began with a scan of the entire business, benchmarking to evaluate the company’s digital maturity, and the creation of dozens of user stories assessing the needs and impact of change on the company’s retail customers, its employees, and, ultimately, on consumers.  Where were the pivotal opportunities for change? Where could we take advantage of PwC’s alliances and joint business relationships to help the company make improvements using tools already in their digital portfolio?

Working closely with company leaders, we identified a handful of key leverage points that would help the company simultaneously predict demand to enhance the consumer experience, customize local product assortments, and seamlessly connect an information superhighway across the enterprise from sourcing, through delivery, through real-time measuring of sales. A new more targeted way of looking at customer (retailer) segments, changes to the frontline salesforce (redefining jobs to be more desirable), and mobile apps to enable a connected frontline (e.g., digital tools for order placement and sales team connectivity) would build on the company’s proven direct-to-store delivery capability. Segmenting into differentiated supply “pipelines” would allow the company to respond more quickly and effectively to meet both high-volume stable and low-volume volatile demand -- an “endless aisle” to support innovation and growth.

To bring the vision to life, we are testing and refining the capability system in multiple markets. As the company implements the system nationwide, they will continue to build and scale their capabilities. Recognizing that value chain transformation is a business transformation, the company’s leaders have their sights set on the system’s long-range benefits to help keep them at the top of the game for the long-term.


The capabilities to deliver in a digital world

Prepared for change and committed to evolving new ways of working, the company is poised to handle disruption and embrace new opportunities.

  • Strategic customer segmentation helps get the right products to the right customers, when they need them.
  • A frictionless and smart ordering platform connects frontline sales people in the field with the retail customers on their routes, eliminating the guesswork with predictive ordering and near real-time demand-sensing.
  • Diversified go-to-market models enable the company to efficiently respond to changing demographics, product demands and local trends.
  • Differentiated supply pipelines shift the company from large scale mass production to a tailored approach supporting both predictable high-volume and more volatile low-volume products.
  • A flexible, agile network lets the company deliver a larger portfolio of products to market with better lead times and less inventory -- to keep pace with the increasing customer expectations and innovation necessary to grow
  • A connected enterprise links physical, information and financial flows along the value chain, from sourcing raw materials to stocking store shelves.
  • New digital tools improve the employee experience in the field

[1] Supply Chain Opportunity and Optimization Platform

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Ian Kahn

Salesforce Practice & Alliance Leader, PwC US

Brian O'Rourke

Salesforce Analytics Lead, PwC US