Food & Beverage
Implementing and Sustaining Operational Change and Performance Improvement across the Food & Beverage Value Chain
Food and Beverage (F&B) companies face a myriad of complex challenges and opportunities, from slow growth and margin erosion to accelerating product lifecycles and volatile fuel prices. The Highland Group partners with senior F&B executives to achieve and sustain operational excellence amidst these difficult and rapidly changing market conditions.
The most common challenges we see in F&B firms are related to the slow growth and intense competition endemic in developed markets. The resulting fierce market-share battles between peer products pressure both operating income and margins. Sales stagnation is especially apparent among center-of-the-store products, where manufacturers are forced to innovate and bring products to market at an ever-increasing pace. Exacerbating the situation is retail concentration, wherein a few chains represent the bulk of all sales. Moreover, the combination of raw material and energy cost inflation with consumer price-consciousness has eroded margins from both ends.This perfect storm demands increasingly sophisticated operations planning and efficiency for survival. As F&B manufacturers look for continuous improvements in cost control and network optimization, we’re here to help.
The Highland Group’s Food & Beverage sector practice focuses on the raw materials, processing, production and distribution components of the food value chain. We have extensive experience addressing the most pressing challenges and needs of your global sector: rising ingredient and raw material costs, volatile energy costs, consumer price consciousness, accelerating product lifecycles, food safety and fierce competition, as well as regulatory, weather and foreign trade “wild cards.” These volatile factors demand that F&B companies relentlessly pursue operational flexibility, minimize costs, maximize efficiencies, optimize working capital and cultivate pricing power through product excellence and innovation. That’s where we come in.
For more than two decades, The Highland Group has helped industry-leading F&B companies drive sustainable operational improvements and behavioral change. In the last several years, we’ve served more than 20 global and national F&B brands, including two of the largest food companies in the world. There, our senior consultants and industry experts helped our clients realize millions of dollars in operational efficiencies and top-line growth. Our Senior Model helps us achieve these outsize results: all of our consultants bring a minimum of 15 years of successful industry and consulting experience, and several members of our delivery team have previously held senior management roles in F&B companies. Moreover, our firm’s cross-sector expertise empowers us to cross-pollinate the most innovative ideas from related industries to serve our F&B clients.
Food & Beverage executives choose The Highland Group as their partner in delivering sustainable operational change and performance improvements because we:
- Operate a global team ready to deploy anywhere in the world
- Offer complete focus and clarity in targeting our clients’ business Driver Goals
- Employ a robust, hands-on approach that leverages only senior consultants who have front-line, domain expertise and credibility within the Food & Beverage sector
- Deliver significant, measurable results via our proven, proprietary project methodology
- Ensure sustainable change by delivering operational insight to client senior management while engaging employees and contractors at the front-line operations level
Our uncommon level of expertise and results span the entire F&B value chain. We pride ourselves on delivering sustainable operational excellence through our goal-driven, hands-on approach. Some of our selected projects include:
- For a major branded food manufacturer: Improved on-time delivery to 98%, increased inventory turns by 16%, improved first-pass yield by 10%, reduced set-up time by 50% and reduced overtime by 50%
- For a flexible food packaging converter: Reduced fixed and variable operating expenses by 25%, increased equipment utilization by 68% and achieved profitability
- For a baking company: Reduced concept-to-market cycle time by 50%, from 18 months to just 9 months
- For a famous soft drink bottler: Established a multidisciplinary team to calculate site, distribution and resource requirements for closing or moving warehousing facilities; created a detailed roadmap to an optimum distribution solution
- For a major U.S. provider of deli products: Identified US$2.4M in waste, achieved US$550K of profit improvement and reduced consumer complaints by 50%
- For a global bakery business: Increased performance visibility and accountability, achieved a €5.6M improvement in EBIT contribution, increased overall equipment effectiveness from 68% to 80%, decreased labor costs, minimized third-party warehousing and increased alignment and effectiveness of its management team
- For a premier North American ice cream manufacturer: Developed a reliable demand-forecasting model, analyzed its product portfolio and pricing, created a more demand-driven operation, improved customer fill rate, reduced inventories by 10% and reduced landed costs by 3%
Our unique combination of sector experience and implementation focus makes us ideally suited to help our F&B clients thrive amidst intensifying challenges and increasingly competitive markets.