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Value chain strategy
– Industrial products

Creating differentiated value chains for industrial products – to improve competitiveness in contrasting market segments.


The company is a leading global manufacturer of industrial products, with a significant presence in all regions. However, the company was facing unsatisfactory margins and a lack of competitiveness in important and growing market segments.

An initial root cause assessment revealed a mismatch between the company’s industry and value chain strategy – and the actual market realities the company was operating in.

The industry and value chain strategy was geared towards standardisation and synergies (a “one size fits all” philosophy), while the customer demands and products offered in the various market segments were actually quite different.

The mismatch between industry and market strategies led to an unmanageable complexity and multiple “work arounds” throughout the entire value chain, and ultimately product costs that were too high to be competitive.

Misalignment between market & industry strategies lead to unmanageable complexity – products with too high cost – and a lack of competitiveness in key market segments.

Redefinition of industry strategy to create two distinctively different value chains - to radically improve competitiveness in key market segments.

To turn the situation around and improve competitiveness, management decided to revise its product strategy – and also redefine the supporting industry and value chain strategy.

A cornerstone of the new industry and value chain strategy was a holistic approach, where the “recipes for success” in each market segment reflected backwards throughout the entire value chain.

Design of global supply chain setup and flows. Defining overall material flows with optimised modes of transport (train, truck, ocean, air) for different legs, cross-dock design and localisation, freight in terms and financing of material for long distance flows.

Design and setup of a new sales and operations planning (S&OP) process with corresponding governance model to balance supply and demand, but also to introduce more flexibility into the industrial system. In addition to the new S&OP setup, it included demand planning, ordering, scheduling, and capacity management.

This led to the design and structuring of two distinct and different value chains:

One value chain was designed to deliver highly customised products to bigger customers who typically placed large but infrequent/irregular orders.

The second value chain was designed to deliver more standardised products and options to smaller customers who typically placed smaller orders on an annual cycle.

Functional strategies and goals were all aligned with the overall value chain strategy, affecting essentially all involved functions; sales, R&D/innovation, purchasing, manufacturing, logistics, sales & operations planning, and aftermarket.


A complete organisational overhaul was made to support the realignment, in which functions were separated across the two distinct value chains. Select subsets of functions were kept common across value chains in order to support synergy capture – where this did not conflict with the “recipes for success” per value chain.

To make the new strategy and organisation operational, a new operating and governance model was also defined, where each value chain was given new process designs, roles and responsibilities, as well as performance goals and KPIs.

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