Operations strategy

We help our clients improve their business processes and operations to strengthen their operational resilience

Improving resilience and maintaining flexibility

Disrupted supply chains, supply gaps, production stoppages and location discussions: The past few years ruthlessly exposed the vulnerability of our globally interwoven economy. At the same time, the rules of the globalization game are changing rapidly. Protectionist tendencies are on the rise, geopolitical tensions are growing, and climate change is accelerating. All these factors are putting pressure on organizations’ business processes and operations. Whether partner networks, production sites, sustainable supply chains, or ESG approaches: Companies need to question, analyze, and realign their operations strategy in a number of areas.

Geopolitical resilience is a key success factor in this multipolar world. Companies must be able to respond quickly and effectively to changes and fluctuations in the market. To do this, they need to build resilient supply chains that take both current and future crisis regions into account, develop sustainability strategies, and analyze product portfolios and value chains in order to identify strategic growth areas. To be able to realize all this, organizations must invest in their process digitization and build an IT architecture fit to handle operational business requirements.

With our cross-industry expertise in operations strategy, we help our clients optimize or realign their business processes and operations. For example, we work closely with them to redesign supplier networks and rebuild ecosystems to strengthen the resilience of the entire supply chain. We support cost optimization along the value chain and accompany our clients on their way toward net zero and sustainability. We also help drive digitization and establish an effective IT infrastructure. Whenever necessary, we draw on a broad PwC network with expertise in the areas of tax and law as well as audit and assurance to offer our clients comprehensive solutions.

Our expertise

  • 1.
    COO agenda: As operations strategists working in all major industries, we help our clients to solve their most pressing challenges. Our strategic agenda for Chief Operating Officers provides a holistic, industry-tailored perspective on today's and tomorrow’s hot topics that need to be addressed by operations decision-makers.

    Find out more
  • 2.
    Operations resilience: Rising cost pressures. Protectionism. Disruptions. Sustainability considerations. All of these factors were affecting supply chains even before the global pandemic. But now, as the world changes at an unprecedented speed and on an unforeseen scale, more business leaders than ever are realizing the need to reimagine the way they are operating.

    Click here to find out how to manage daily risks and adapt to unforeseen disruptions.
  • 3.
    Supplier/ ecosystem management: We support companies along the entire value chain - e.g. in optimizing their supplier relationships and purchasing organization - to create a resilient and decarbonized supplier base.
  • 4.
    Digital operations: We help our clients drive the digitization of their business and build an IT infrastructure that is aligned with the real needs of their business.
  • 5.
    Profitability: We support our clients in holistic cost optimization along their entire value chain.
  • 6.
    Sustainability: We support our clients on their way to net zero and with the development of an individual sustainability agenda.

COO agenda

We see four high priority topics for aerospace and defense COOs:

  • Product life cycle managementProduct life cycle management

    Product lifetime in the A&D industry is significantly high and optimizing life cycle costs boosts the efficient implementation and operation of A&D programs. Typical challenges stretch from initial solution design to building a resilient support network, finding the right commercial framework and ensuring efficient execution along the design, production, and servicing phases. By leveraging our existing efficiency hub approach, we have optimized operations along the production life cycle and successfully introduced new concepts like performance-based logistics or lean management principles. We have proven that significant improvements can be made on a commercial and operational level, especially in availability, when public sector and industry partners collaborate closely.

  • Supply chain resilienceSupply chain resilience

    Highly complex ecosystems spread across the globe have suffered severe disruptions such as Covid-19 and geopolitical events with immediate impact on operations through delivery delays or even supplier insolvencies. On the other hand, the A&D industry is now facing a rapid ramp-up in OEM production, and suppliers putting global supply chains under pressure. These new conditions foster the need to reassess the current supply chain set-up and to develop potential improvements (e.g., deglobalization or multi-sourcing) to ensure maximum resilience. We regularly conduct supply chain maturity/risk assessments, run geopolitical risk scenarios, derive potential optimization strategies and develop collaborative cooperation models along the supply chain.

  • Digital operationsDigital operations

    As for most industries, the A&D industry is challenged and enabled to grow by digitizing operations. Changing customer demands, complex supply chains and constant cost pressure are still major challenges. Meanwhile, the potential to optimize time to market, operations, decision-making or service offerings through digitalization is increasing due to innovative technologies and simplified data availability. In order to stay competitive, companies face the task of identifying key use cases such as smart factory, autonomous solutions, cloud computing, digital twins, process automation or predictive maintenance to drive the required digital transformation. Strategy& supports clients with proven approaches and tools along the entire process, from a digital readiness assessment to defining a digital strategy to selecting and executing relevant use cases.

  • ESG excellenceESG excellence

    Environmental challenges and changing public perception are the two key factors that drive the importance of ESG across the entire A&D industry, including the public side. It is essential to identify the right levers to generate meaningful environmental and social impact (e.g., Net Zero and employee diversity), comply with all regulations (e.g., EU taxonomy) and, at the same time, maintain and further build a strong competitive position. With our proven approach we support clients in the private and public sector by guiding them through initial ESG ambition and KPI setting, maturity assessments, identifying optimization potential in operations and supply chain, and developing and implementing holistic ESG strategies, including communication and reporting.

For more information, contact our experts Dr. Jan Wille, Dr. Nils Förster, Dr. Hans-Jörg Kutschera and André Keller.

We see six high priority topics for automotive COOs:

  • Product disruptionProduct disruption

    The growing demand for smart and electric vehicles significantly impacts the automotive value chain: Rapid innovation is required to offer competitive products. This includes early make-or-buy decisions to secure strategic leadership in the future market and maximize operational synergies. Product development cycles need to be adapted to successfully integrate new processes such as battery system assembly or integrated software development. With a deep understanding of technology and operations, the automotive operations team at Strategy& is able to support their clients on these complex challenges from product development and production to comprehensive transformations programs.

  • Emergency operationsEmergency operations

    The automotive industry is facing an unprecedented transformation. Due to changing customer demands, new products are launched at unparalleled speed. Ramp-up of “Gigafactories” and the industrialization of proprietary battery or software technologies are becoming necessary for OEMs to win through in the future. Many suppliers are having trouble in mastering the complex new technologies, putting the supply chain at immanent risk. Ad-hoc damage limitation and problem solving are becoming ever more important for automotive players to survive. Strategy& successfully supports clients in these situations with their proven Extended Enterprise Enablement approach.

  • Cost excellenceCost excellence

    Operations excellence remains a constant imperative for success in the automotive industry. OEMs and suppliers not only need to be operationally efficient; they need to further optimize their cost base and ensure healthy cash-flows to successfully navigate the transformation. It is of utmost importance to cut costs through a capability-driven lens: “Bad costs” (no differentiation from competition) need to be cut aggressively, while “good costs” (differentiating capabilities) need to be protected or even invested in. Strategy& supports clients with proven approaches and tools on all relevant steps along this transformational journey.

  • Operational resilienceOperational resilience

    Economic shocks, supply chain disruptions and further economic or geopolitical disputes nowadays pose immanent risks of abruptly constraining the standard operations of automotive companies. Bankruptcy and economic fatigue become an inherent risk, especially for upstream players in the automotive value chain. Operational losses at OEMs due to multiple parts shortages are reflected in massive fallout in production volumes, causing economic distress for the suppliers. Through advanced planning and partnering methods, Strategy& ensures long-term supply of critical materials and high finished goods availability, thus creating true resilience.

  • Sustainability championshipSustainability championship

    Today’s businesses must serve all stakeholders - customers, employees, society, and investors. Strategy& believes in the power of business to be a force for good. Their teams engage deeply with clients to analyze their core business models and operations, to create positive economic, social, and environmental impact in ways that are profitable for the long term. Within the operations strategy team, Strategy& offers unique expertise from strategy through to execution, leveraging the regulatory expertise of the PwC network – supporting offerings such as CO2 footprint strategy and operational sustainability facilitation for automotive players.

  • Workforce managementWorkforce management

    Automotive players are facing high pressure to cut costs, to increase speed of innovation, and to ensure adaptability. They need to find ways to implement revolutionary thinking in their existing organizations. This requires the organizational capabilities to cope with constant change and disruption. Operational agility and people behavior need to be supported by sound workforce management. Strategy& supports as mediator and enabler, providing a comprehensive outside-in perspective as well as a trusted environment for experimenting, for hands-on support building and for connecting the capabilities required for future-proof workforce management.

For more information, contact our experts Christian FoltzAxel Borowski, Jörg Assmann, Boris Kainz and Henning Rennert

We see four high priority topics for energy, utilities, and resources COOs:

  • Grid expansion and modernizationGrid expansion and modernization: Enhancing infrastructure for the future

    Expand, upgrade, and modernize the power grid infrastructure to accommodate renewable energy integration, improve reliability, and enable smart grid capabilities. This involves investing in advanced monitoring systems, energy storage solutions, and grid management technologies to enhance efficiency and resilience, and enable seamless integration of distributed energy resources.

  • Diversification of revenue streamsDiversification of revenue streams: Developing new business opportunities

    Explore new revenue avenues for B2B and B2C customers, such as new energy services, customer-specific renewable energy solutions, energy storage offerings, electric vehicle infrastructure, flexibility services etc. By diversifying beyond traditional electricity sales, the company can tap into emerging markets, offer value-added services, and capitalize on the transition to a sustainable energy system.

  • Customer engagementCustomer engagement: Delivering a seamless customer experience

    Focus on customer-centric strategies to enhance customer satisfaction and engagement. This involves leveraging technology to provide real-time information, personalized services, and efficient billing systems. Implement customer feedback mechanisms, develop innovative (e.g., real-time) solutions, and foster strong customer relationships to meet evolving customer expectations, improve the customer experience, and drive customer loyalty.

  • Renewable energy transitionRenewable energy transition: Embracing a sustainable future

    Embrace and invest in renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and hydro power, together with storage solutions. Collaborate with governments, industry partners, and research institutions to develop innovative technologies and policies that promote clean energy adoption, reduce reliance on fossil fuels, and achieve sustainability goals while ensuring a reliable and affordable energy supply.

For more information, contact our experts Christian von Tschirschky and Dr. Johannes Schneider

We see eight high priority topics for finance COOs:

  • Reimagining customer and sales partner engagement and service innovationReimagining customer and sales partner engagement and service innovation

    In an era where customer preferences are rapidly evolving, financial services firms must prioritize reshaping the customer and sales partner experience. This entails deploying innovative service models and digital solutions to meet and exceed expectations. Tailored customer journeys, powered by advanced analytics and personalized touchpoints, are essential for securing competitive advantage and fostering long-term loyalty.

  • Strategic evolution of the target operating modelStrategic evolution of the target operating model

    The focus shifts to refining the operational blueprint to align seamlessly with business objectives. This strategic evolution involves a holistic review and optimization of organizational processes, embracing agile and lean methodologies. The objective is to drive operational excellence, ensuring agility and resilience in a dynamic business environment.

  • Value chain optimization and strategic alliancesValue chain optimization and strategic alliances

    A comprehensive review of the operational value chain is imperative. This includes identifying areas for process enhancement, cost reduction, and efficiency gains. Concurrently, the strategic exploration of outsourcing and partnership opportunities is crucial for leveraging external expertise and innovation, thus enhancing core operational capabilities.

  • Legacy modernization paving the way for technological agilityLegacy modernization paving the way for technological agility

    Legacy modernization is essential for insurance COOs, focusing on replacing outdated systems with advanced, scalable platforms. With an emphasis on cloud computing and data analytics, this shift not only boosts efficiency but also facilitates collaborations with third parties. This modernization is crucial for adapting to market changes and enhancing customer responsiveness, marking a significant shift in the operational approach of insurance companies.

  • Accelerating digital transformation and integrative technology solutionsAccelerating digital transformation and integrative technology solutions

    Digital transformation transcends mere technology adoption, representing a fundamental shift in how financial services firms operate and deliver value. The focus is on harnessing emerging technologies such as AI, machine learning, business process management, and advanced analytics to streamline processes, enhance customer service, and unlock new avenues for growth. Embracing these technologies is no longer optional, but a strategic imperative for staying relevant in a digitally-dominated future.

  • Elevating performance management through data-driven insightsElevating performance management through data-driven insights

    In the quest for operational excellence, performance management takes center stage. This involves establishing robust frameworks that utilize data-driven insights to steer operations using informed decision-making. Key performance indicators and metrics should be redefined to capture real-time operational efficiency, employee productivity, and customer satisfaction, facilitating a culture of continuous improvement and excellence.

  • Future-proofing through talent management and workforce developmentFuture-proofing through talent management and workforce development

    The talent landscape in the financial services sector is undergoing rapid transformation. COOs must prioritize developing a workforce that is not only skilled in contemporary digital tools, but also aligned with the principles of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) practices. This encompasses fostering a culture of lifelong learning, inclusivity, and sustainability, ensuring the workforce is equipped to meet current and future challenges.

  • Agilization of the workforce and novel collaboration modelsAgilization of the workforce and novel collaboration models

    Agility in the workforce is increasingly vital in the fluid business landscape. This requires cultivating a culture that values adaptability and innovation. COOs must champion new collaboration models that encourage cross-functional teamwork and leverage digital communication tools. Transforming the work culture to be more agile and collaborative enables insurance companies to swiftly respond to market trends and drive ongoing growth.

For more information, contact our expert Dr. Philipp Wackerbeck

We see four high priority topics for retail and consumer COOs:

  • Strategic planning and supplier collaborationStrategic planning and supplier collaboration

    Strategic planning and E2E collaboration become increasingly crucial for success in the competitive retail and consumer goods industry. To achieve this, companies must adopt a strategy-linked planning approach that aligns supply chain planning with a company’s long-term goals and objectives. This requires a closely connected, cross-functional planning ecosystem involving suppliers, distributors, and retailers for optimum communication and collaboration. Companies need real-time visibility throughout their supply chain operations to identify inefficiencies and improve overall performance. Transparency and accountability are vital components of strategy-linked planning. Also, Integrated Business Planning (IBP) is critical, as it integrates all business processes and functions into a cohesive plan, aligning supply chain planning with financial objectives. We implement strategy-linked planning and help to improve supply chain performance, optimize inventory levels, reduce costs, increase customer satisfaction and support sustainability goals.

  • Dynamic supply chainsDynamic supply chains

    The retail and consumer goods industry is experiencing significant changes driven by the rise of e-commerce, shifting consumer expectations and unstable supply and demand. Sustainable products, an omnichannel environment and D2C sales are now the norm and require a rethinking of today’s supply chains. To keep up with these changes, dynamic supply chains are becoming crucial: Not only can dynamic supply chain segmentation increase resilience by handling smaller product batches, managing rapid changes in demand, and reacting to supply shortages, but it also enables balancing cost, service level, and sustainability. We engage in close collaboration with our retail and FMCG clients to perform comprehensive supply chain assessments, analyze dynamic segmentation scenarios, and identify actionable steps to enable the development and implementation of a dynamic supply chain.

  • Digital operationsDigital operations

    In today's fast-paced retail and consumer goods industry, supply chains have become increasingly complex due to ever-changing customer demands, constant cost pressure, and the growing emphasis on sustainability. To remain competitive, companies must prioritize supply chain visibility, resilience, and collaboration. By utilizing digital technologies and real-time data analytics, companies can achieve greater transparency and traceability throughout their supply chains, enabling them to quickly identify and address potential disruptions and improve decision-making. By seeking partnerships up- and downstream in the supply chain, companies can improve internal and external efficiency, reduce costs, and optimize time to market. We have proven approaches and tools to support our clients along the entire process, from a digital readiness assessment to defining a digital operations strategy and selecting and implementing relevant use cases and software solutions.

  • Workforce resilienceWorkforce resilience

    In an ever-changing environment, workforce resilience is key to maintaining a successful and efficient supply chain. Organizations must not only ensure that its people adopt end-to-end thinking, but also encourage and enable them to work in a flexible and open-minded way. A digital way of working provides employees with tools to be agile and adaptable, including cloud-based platforms for remote work, real-time data analytics and mostly automated processes to reduce errors and delays. Making change the new standard and embedding agility and adaptability in the core of the organization is one way to build workforce resilience. However, achieving this requires hard work and commitment from every organizational member. With our proven approach for operating model design and holistic change management support, we are able to transform your organization and build a resilient workforce for your future operations.

For more information, contact our experts Harald Dutzler and Reinhard Vocke.

We see three priority topics for pharma life sciences COOs:

  • Commercial-fit supply operationsCommercial-fit supply operations

    How do I best serve my place in the market? We support you in shaping the future supply ecosystem to master bi-directional supply chains, meet unique process needs, and ensure timely market entry. The manufacturing and distribution footprint is a key element in this. Improve and leverage the production network to manage fast-changing customer needs and shifts in demand, avoid supply interruptions, and enable growth. Additionally, in the light of external dynamics and internal portfolio changes, it is vital to develop a resilient and sustainable supply chain strategy, to ensure long-term supply security. Matching this, PharmaCos are starting to re-define their capability and capacity ambitions, with the potential to offer idle capacities to the market.

  • Core manufacturing capabilitiesCore manufacturing capabilities

    What capabilities do I need to operate successfully? We support you in developing best-in-class CMC, technology transfer and launching capabilities to ensure timely and successful market entry and product scaling. The key to this is to prioritize and evolve applied manufacturing technologies and processes to the next level, to stay competitive in a cost-driven market. Digitization of operations processes has been a focus area lacking full deployment for almost two decades, but with the rise of AI, it needs to be fully integrated into the overall strategic vision across functions. Particularly with regard to new modalities, underlying technology requirements define the operations strategy including make-or-buy decisions, priority technology investments, and risk mitigation measures. Overall, we observe far more integrated R&D operationalization – staying on top of a rapidly-changing ecosystem by combining best-in-class practices, strategic partnerships, and high-performing operating models.

  • Large scale operations transformation Large scale operations transformation

    How can I transform existing operations? We support you in business-led restructuring: Exploit technological advancements to improve business processes, enable new product offerings, and upgrade and upskill digital operations, while ensuring that decisions are based on present business requirements. Overall, competition in operations is rising due to various market dynamics. Enabled through agile task forces, successful PharmaCos are setting a bold vision to stay competitive, while regularly pressure-testing overall performance. Additionally, we consistently support other transformation journeys such as integration and deal value creation programs, or sustainability and ESG restructuring. Nowadays, corporate transformation is likely to be driven by regulatory changes, while differentiators can be established given the increasing sensibility for environmental concerns.

For more information, contact our expert Dr. Jens Neumann

We see six high priority topics for transport and logistic COOs:

  • Customer experienceCustomer experience

    With rising expectations around visibility, service usability and responsiveness, a unique customer experience becomes the competitive edge in the logistics industry. Those companies that excel in experience management are rewarded with higher customer loyalty, positive recommendations, increased market share and overall higher profitability. Achieving a unique customer experience requires a clear understanding of the customer journey and its “moments of truth” to set yourself apart. How technology can support a superior experience, how to equip your customer service staff to provide timely and accurate information across channels, and how to effectively deploy automation and self-service offerings are the questions top of mind for executives. We support clients with proven approaches and tools to make their experience management best in class.

  • Partnerships and acquisitionsPartnerships and acquisitions

    While the intensity of M&A activity and partnerships in the T&L industry has fluctuated over recent years, they are an undisputed industry driver. Investment in strategic services to advance end-to-end service offerings, capability build-out, and increasing interest from financial investors are having a lasting impact on the dynamics of competition. Pursuing a targeted M&A and partnership roadmap while constantly screening the market for opportunities needs to be high on the T&L agenda. With E2E deals services, we support corporate and private equity T&L customers from pre-deal and due diligence to value creation and divestments.

  • Target operation modelTarget operation model

    The operating model breathes life into your strategy and is key to translating concepts into action. How to design efficient processes and establish an organizational structure that best supports agility, and which governance mechanisms to build around it, are just some of the top-of-mind questions for T&L players. The operating model is the engine behind (digital) transformation and must be aligned to all elements of your strategy to enable cost efficiency while delivering rigorously on quality promises. With a successful track record in operating model design, Strategy& is committed to your success.

  • Technology and digitalizationTechnology and digitalization

    Transport and Logistics enterprises have to undergo major digital transformations to stay competitive and respond to increasing digitalization of business models and processes. A long time since the first digital forwarders entered the competitive game, only a few players have fundamentally transformed their business model towards digital. But the momentum is changing. Today, moving to the cloud is no longer a question of “if” but “how” and “by when”; an abundance of use cases from AI-enabled dynamic pricing to digital twins for supply chain control promise tangible benefits. Navigating through the complexities and cultural change of a digital transformation while distinguishing tempting trends from those with actual business cases are key capabilities in a fast-paced environment. Our team supports clients in designing targeted digital, tech, and data strategies for lasting competitive advantage.

  • ESG and sustainabilityESG and sustainability

    The transport and logistics industry needs to respond to a diverse set of stakeholder demands. Shareholders are stepping up pressure on T&L companies on sustainability and climate protection, giving weight to ESG criteria in their investment decisions. The social and environmental responsibility of a company is also key for employees in their job choice, and logistics players need to provide transparency on working conditions along their multi-tiered supply chains. On the customer side, the demand for sustainable solutions is increasing while countries have reaffirmed the Paris Agreement to pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5° Celsius, along with net-zero commitments. We support T&L companies in balancing this complex set of stakeholder demands when defining an ambitious yet realistic sustainability strategy with a bold vision for a sustainable future.

  • Change and communicationChange and communication

    Change management is not simply a worn-out buzzword, it is the means to an end in projects if done properly and holistically. While the importance of people dynamics is recognized by the vast majority of executives, it needs to be manifested in a dedicated and integrated change management approach, combining change and project expertise, to yield its full impact. From making your employees join the movement, making them understand and develop their own role in the process to upskilling and keeping them engaged – a consistent employee enablement experience has to be built.

For more information, contact our expert Bernd Jung.

Management Engineers

Management Engineers was acquired and integrated into Strategy& (formerly Booz & Company) in 2013. The company's experts are characterized by their in-depth technical know-how in all functions and industries of the manufacturing sector, such as automotive and mechanical engineering, as well as their focus on implementation consulting and expertise in operations.

Contact us

 

Aerospace and defense

Dr. Hans-Jörg Kutschera

Partner, Strategy& Germany

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Dr. Jan H. Wille

Partner, Strategy& Germany

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Automotive

Axel Borowski

Partner, Strategy& Germany

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Jörg Assmann

Partner, Strategy& Germany

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Dr. Christian Foltz

Partner, Strategy& Germany

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Boris Kainz

Partner, Strategy& Germany

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Henning Rennert

Partner, Strategy& Germany

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Consumer markets

Harald Dutzler

Partner, Strategy& Austria

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Catarina Bjelkengren

Director, Strategy& Switzerland

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Reinhard Vocke

Senior Executive Advisor, Strategy& Germany

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Energy, utilities, and resources

Christian von Tschirschky

Partner, Strategy& Germany

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Dr. Johannes Schneider

Partner, Strategy& Austria

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Financial services

Dr. Philipp Wackerbeck

Partner, Strategy& Germany

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Industrials

Simon Treis

Partner, Strategy& Switzerland

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Dr. Hans-Jörg Kutschera

Partner, Strategy& Germany

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Dr. Christian Foltz

Partner, Strategy& Germany

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Pharma life science

Dr. Jens Neumann

Partner, Strategy& Germany

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Procurement

Bernd Jung

Partner, Strategy& Germany

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Dominik Steffani

Senior Executive Advisor, Strategy& Germany

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Public sector

Dr. Nils Förster

Partner, Strategy& Germany

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