Does your strategy guide how you allocate resources? Can every employee articulate your strategy, and do they have what they need to execute it?
At ACS Consulting, strategy is more than a plan, and we have been helping companies in all industries with their strategies since 2006.
Performance Improvement Relevance
Performance Improvement can help your organization achieve its strategic goals and then sustain that improvement in the long term.
Today’s markets are unforgiving. Investors punish even small earnings misses. Competitors undercut your prices. ACS’s Performance Improvement practice equips you to grow earnings and outperform the competition.
Performance improvement (PI) can help you solve the ever more complex challenges and issues that are prevalent as businesses seek to transform themselves in the digital age. We work with you to reimagine or transform your business purpose and model; create growth; manage cost and efficiency; respond to market pressures and regulation; and resolve operational challenges.
The scope of our PI capabilities encompasses innovation, strategy and purpose, through deep functional experience in technology, customer, finance, supply chain and operations, to providing support for your complex and large-scale program and portfolio management.
What ACS Can Do For You
From targeted solutions that yield an immediate impact to broad transformation programs that redefine how work gets done, ACS can help you take every function within your company to new levels of performance.
Our network of global performance improvement consultants brings a wealth of experience and deep, analytical rigor to every client. From developing first insights to implementing PI programs with concrete actions, we stand ready to work with you at every level. Our performance improvement expertise span:
Eliminate ineffective, nonessential spending, and redirect the savings to the investments that will power your growth. Whether you need a sustained cost transformation effort, want to explore the substantial advantages of zero-based budgeting (perhaps in tandem with zero-based redesign), or need to accelerate a transformation to quickly achieve cash, cost, capital or revenue benefits, we can help. We can also work with you to drive down costs (and boost revenue) by tackling complexity so that you can devote more focus to customer needs.
Raise the bar for your support functions, from a focus on efficiency to adding value and embracing digitalization. Transform finance, IT, HR, legal, facilities management and other functions into valued business partners that work together to provide a competitive advantage. If some of these functions are, or should be, centralized as shared services, we can help you maximize the speed, efficiency and quality of the work. And, in cases in which it makes more sense to partner with third parties, ACS can guide you on choosing and working with the best partners so that your sourcing strategy complements your internal capabilities and serves your growth strategy.
From procurement and supply-chain efficiency to a range of core and cutting-edge manufacturing capabilities, we offer a broad range of experts with deep experience in operations. From the C-suite to the research lab to the shop floor to the customer service center, we can help you improve every component of your operations to boost the top and bottom lines.
To hit earnings targets, rapidly fund growth, out-invest competitors or just survive, companies often make eviscerating cost cuts. But that can put your company at risk and hobble future performance.
ACS Accelerated Transformation delivers the urgent cost, cash, capital and revenue benefits you need while simultaneously building the muscles and owner mindset that will power your long-term, sustainable growth.
The ACS Advantage
We have deep experience in cost management and transformation, with more than 1,000 projects across industries and geographies in the past decade.
We help you instill the owner-activist mindset in your company, based on a decade of experience working with private equity and activist owners.
We work with you to cut fat and build organizational muscles to power rapid, sustainable performance led and owned by your team.
Our proprietary benchmarks, diagnostics, and digital and Agile-based tools save you significant time and effort.
We partner with you to share the risks and rewards of your transformation.
ACS’s proven approach to change management ensures that changes stick.
With ACS as your transformation consultant, you can expect the following results:
ACS Accelerated Transformation typically generates benefits twice as fast as execution without ACS involvement.
You'll infuse an owner-activist mindset into your organization to fuel sustainable results on all fronts: costs, productivity, customer advocacy and core revenue growth.
Internal accountability for change
You'll build a leaner, stronger business using tools and methods that maintain or boost accountability for change throughout your organization and track the results daily with ease.
Higher energy, quicker pace
By uniting employees behind a common goal, you'll raise your company's energy level and increase the pace with which things get done.
Business Process Redesign
Business process redesign (BPR) examines the efficiency and effectiveness of a company's most critical processes. It is a key enabler to deliver the highest-quality of service, in the most productive way, at the most competitive cost and time to output.
ACS has helped hundreds of clients to improve execution and meet the needs of customers better by applying business process redesign. Typically, our work generates cost savings of 20 percent to 30 percent of the addressable cost base, but its real advantages are reduced cycle times and increased quality and customer satisfaction.
ACS works with each client to prioritize key processes based on the value at stake. For each priority process we develop a view of the current state based on operational data, using detailed process maps and analysis to help identify major gaps. We then work together with a cross-functional client team to define a series of principles that will guide the solution generation phase, and create a vision of the future state of each process from the ground up, along with the roadmap to achieve the near and long-term results.
We work very closely with our clients in this type of project, enlisting a team from all the functional areas impacted at the leadership and the solution generation level. This allows us to eliminate waste, unnecessary wait times, reports, handovers and sign-offs, while ensuring the integrity of the process.
Capability sourcing improves a company's competitive position by ensuring that processes and functions are obtained from the right source at the right cost.
Capability sourcing began as a cost-cutting measure, but companies that create real sustained value routinely use it for far more strategic ends i.e. to gain capabilities that they don't have in-house, or to strengthen capabilities they do have, for everything from developing world-class talent to bringing new products to market faster and enabling business model innovation.
ACS’s work in capability sourcing, outsourcing and offshoring improves clients' internal and external customer satisfaction, enhances their competitive position, and typically lowers costs by 20 percent to 40 percent.
We help companies achieve sourcing excellence through a range of services including blueprint/design, outsourcing partner selection and transition, strategic offshoring implementation and support, and value delivery.
Outsourcing and offshoring have evolved into much broader opportunities to drive transformational change. We help experienced users design disruptive sourcing strategies, implement low cost country footprints, monetize captive operations, renegotiate contracts and maximize ROI on existing programs. We also support less experienced users with issues such as blueprint/design their operation and expand the current scope.
Cash & Capital Management
Traditionally, most senior executives regarded managing cash flow and liquidity as tactical functions left to administrative managers. Yet when the global financial crisis choked off credit, it became clear that executives needed to think more strategically about cash management and capital allocation.
At ACS, our perspective is that companies that aggressively manage cash and liquidity create opportunities to prosper regardless of what is happening across the broader economic landscape.
ACS helps clients around the globe in liberating cash, increasing the velocity of capital through the system, improving
ROIC and instilling a disciplined approach to driving cultural change. In most cases, the effort is self-funded with very short payback periods.
We work with clients across the liquidity spectrum. This includes helping firms with strong balance sheets improve resource deployment across lines of business to generate higher and better returns for investors. At the other extreme, it encompasses recognizing if and when an imminent cash pinch will threaten a company, and devising ways to address the issues, no matter how severe.
Our approach combines strategic, tactical and organizational elements to ensure quick wins and creates a dynamic process and new, ongoing organizational capabilities to ensure sustained results:
We begin with an assessment of whether case and capital are aligned with strategic principles, followed by a deep examination and prioritization at the product level. This process typically begins with charting a clear cash picture of the receipts and disbursements over a 13-week period to gain visibility into the real-time differences between expected and actual results. Detailed analysis of any variances highlights the differences between one-time, timing-related and persistent variances. Persistent variances are a warning sign that could indicate emerging problems in product lines, customer channels or vendor relations.
Visibility leads to addressing problems actively before it is too late. This can have strategic implications. Once we have this visibility, we model various scenarios informed by daily, weekly or monthly cash-flow and liquidity measures. These create a foundation for contingency planning. For instance, they can provide powerful insights into which rivals are vulnerable, which customers are strongest and which vendors might not survive. Unlike analyzing accrual statements, which are like reading yesterday's news, cash focused analysis is forward-looking.
Hundreds of companies have relied on ACS’s cash and capital management expertise to help transform capital and liquidity management into a strategic platform of differential investment. Indeed, the downturns only underscore the need for ongoing liquidity discipline and deep understanding of cash cycles. These inform the discovery of new and better ways to deploy scarce resources that strengthen business units, create desirable products, serve new geographies and meet customer needs better.
Complexity is a natural consequence of a company’s success. As companies grow, they enter new markets, expand their product lines and set out to conquer new customer segments.
And on the way they build up their organizational, process and IT infrastructure to support that growth. Taken individually, each decision makes rational sense, but in aggregate, they create exponential growth of the "nodes" i.e. points where business units, functions, geographies and layers of management have to interact to make and execute critical decisions. This often becomes the root cause of sluggish growth, high costs and poor returns.
ACS has worked on many projects across industries to help companies manage complexity, which results in revenue growth from 5 percent to 40 percent as well as cost reduction from 10 percent to 35 percent. While the savings are significant, the largest benefits nearly always come from achieving a better understanding of customer needs. This leads to improved customer satisfaction, faster inventory turnover and ultimately, higher revenues and margins.
We believe that some complexity is necessary, and even advantageous. For example, customers like to have some choices and different segments have different needs; country or regional business units can be closer to the ground than headquarters and are more likely to know what customers want in their areas. However, if not carefully managed, the new interfaces and nodes of interaction can lead to bureaucracy, conflict and wasted energy. The key is not to eliminate choices and autonomy, but to consciously manage the benefits and costs of optimizing customer offerings, decision and operational processes, business and organizational structure, and the IT systems that support it all.
ACS’s approach to complexity management
In our work we encounter five forms of complexity that are highly interrelated:
process, including IT
Most clients engage us to address the single most visible symptom of complexity; for example, fixing rampant SKU proliferation that is wrecking havoc in the supply chain and the sales channel, or streamlining an excessively complex process that is hampering their time to market. We have developed a methodology to addresses each type of complexity, but we found that addressing the root cause of the problem many times requires tackling issues outside of the scope initially anticipated.
The complexity in a big organization emanates mainly from the "nodes" or the points where business units, functions, geographies and management layers cross. Nodal complexity of this sort hamstrings many companies. Every one of these interactions adds cost and confusion, draining the focus and energy of senior executives and good managers.
Traditional approaches to reducing structural costs and increasing efficiency usually fail to address nodal complexity. But there’s a bright side to this picture as well: An attack on nodal complexity–because it simultaneously affects all the elements that intersect at that node–has a large multiplier effect on business performance. In fact, in our experience, reducing complexity at the nodes creates between three and four times as much value as the traditional approaches to right-sizing and functional excellence.
A useful way of analyzing the level of complexity in your company - and separating complexity that’s beneficial from complexity that hurts the business - is to begin from a base of zero. Imagine, for example, that your company produced just one product or service with no options or varieties, sort of like Henry Ford’s classic Model IT. A manufacturer with only one product would still need a supply chain, a factory, a distribution network and a sales-and-marketing function. But it could greatly simplify its IT systems, its distribution and sales efforts, and its forecasting.
The point of the exercise, of course, isn’t to go back to the days of the Model T, which, after all, succumbed to the greater variety offered by General Motors. The point is to determine your zero-complexity costs, and then assess the costs of adding variety back in.
In a tractor plant, for example, you wouldn’t need a scheduling system for one or two models, but you probably would for four. Often the cost curve has just this kind of "knee"- a step change triggered by adding one more model or level of variety - and you can determine whether moving beyond the knee is worth the additional expense. You can also assess the benefits of innovation, and determine the focal point where a given innovation overshoots what most customers want and are willing to pay for.
Model T also puts in place the processes and practices that keep complexity out. Similar kinds of analyses can diagnose business strategy, customer, organizational and process complexity.
Your finance, HR, IT, legal, real estate, facilities management and other functions can do far more than simply support the business. i.e. they can propel it.
Industry disruption, globalization, demographics, regulation, digital and other forces are increasingly demanding the transformation of support functions. We have the expertise, benchmarks and best practices, tools, and resources to help you get more from your support functions than ever before.
ACS helps you quickly identify the sources of value, develop a plan of achievable initiatives to capture the value, turn that plan into action, and sustain the results.
Don’t settle for modest gains in efficiency and effectiveness when you can elevate your support functions to serve as true business partners. Our experts will help you:
Redesign and digitally enable the processes of your support functions to improve speed, quality and cost. Whether working with HR to transform the employee experience through digital, improving business outcomes through analytics, or deploying new forms of automation enabled by artificial intelligence (such as robotic process automation, machine learning or natural language processing), ACS can help your support functions get more value from their digital investments while streamlining key processes.
We complement your digital strategy by working with your IT leaders to address the systems architecture, operating model and cost issues that are essential to effective digitalization.
Determine what work gets done, how and by whom, with a service delivery model that’s right for your company. We can help you set up, or get more value from, your shared services and centers of excellence, wherever they may be in the world. And we can show you how to cut costs by 20% to 40% while improving the satisfaction of your support functions’ customers.
Team up with the best external sourcing partners, blending their capabilities with your own, to gain access to best-in-class capabilities to improve your competitive position. Traditional approaches to sourcing are changing: More activities than ever can now be sourced, innovative partnership arrangements have emerged, new offshore locations are maturing, and digital is rapidly transforming service delivery. ACS can help you make sense of all these changes and strike the right partnerships that will stand the test of time.
Build a world-class finance function by focusing more intently on enhancing business value and better aligning finance with your company’s strategic priorities. We help you flip the paradigm so that you can concentrate on higher-value, forward-looking activities, such as decision support, and spend less time on accounting and transactional finance activities. We’ll guide you through a transformation effort that enables your finance function to have it all: speed, simplicity, innovation, accuracy and lower cost.
Design the right organization and operating model to ensure your support functions can optimally serve the needs of your company’s business. We help you define your long-term talent needs for support functions and develop a strategy for meeting them. Among the many benefits: make and execute better decisions faster than your competitors.
Achieve and sustain the changes you’ve made through our proprietary capabilities. Our unique approach to change management helps you win the hearts and minds of everyone in the organization, creating a shared sense of purpose and ownership. We also work with you to build the internal capabilities you need to ensure the gains you’ve made don’t erode over time.
Cost-cutting is challenging, but it shouldn't be debilitating. ACS helps companies bend their cost curve by aligning cost ambition with strategy, applying battle-tested solutions and supporting line-led implementation to ensure changes stick.
Instead of a one-time fix that produces only short-term results, your company experiences a sustained transformation that permeates the entire organization and allows you to focus on growth.
ACS believes that you shouldn’t have to choose between streamlining costs and maintaining an energized workforce. True cost transformation is about simplifying, refocusing and strengthening your organization, so you can pursue growth and provide a better customer experience.
Often, a radical cost-cutting program produces only short-term benefits; costs creep back over time. ACS’s holistic approach helps you cultivate, reward and improve a sustainable cost management capability so you can win in the marketplace. Whether your company is in a “burning platform” situation where you need to quickly take out costs to regain your footing, or a “burning ambition” scenario in which you want to enhance your already strong competitive position, ACS Cost Transformation can tailor a solution for you.
Our offerings include:
Zero-based budgeting and redesign: Use zero-based budgeting in conjunction with zero-based redesign to revamp your operating model and drive out costs while investing in the capabilities that will help you grow. Instill an ownership culture that treats overhead costs as investments to sustain your competitive advantage.
Accelerated transformation: Scale dollars fast across a range of cost, cash, capital and revenue priorities while simultaneously setting the stage for long-term success.
Complexity management: Take complexity out of your product lines to accelerate growth, while also gaining a better understanding of customer needs. The results: improved customer satisfaction, faster inventory turnover and higher revenues and margins.
Customer experience transformation: Transform customer experiences and deliver them at radically lower costs by simplifying your business and digitizing where it counts.
Company leaders worldwide are feeling increasing pressure to improve the performance of their businesses. The challenge is to identify the key initiatives that will make the competitive difference.
ACS’s performance improvement diagnostic allows any company to perform a comprehensive review to identify the right issues that frame the opportunity for improvement, define a company's market position and set compelling and achievable goals.
There is a constant stream of business fads and approaches, but a good general manager will conduct a hard-nosed, comprehensive review of the business to identify the most critical areas for improvement.
ACS has developed a full-potential, performance improvement diagnostic framework that points the way. It starts from our understanding of the four critical variables in any performance improvement undertaking:
changing customer behaviors
We help firms attack complexity in order to serve customers better. Our research shows that companies with the lowest complexity grew 30 percent to 50 percent faster than their average competitor. High complexity is often a symptom of a larger problem, such as poor understanding of customers' needs in the case of product proliferation or poor accountability and decision making in the case of organizational complexity.
Tackling the root cause pays off handsomely. For example, by providing the right level of product variety, companies can grow revenue by 5 percent to 40 percent while reducing costs by 10 percent to 35 percent.
Our diagnostic work leads to tangible goals and ready-to-launch initiatives to achieve them. As an example,
How ACS performance improvement diagnostics work?
Through a structured process, ACS helps companies reliably achieve breakthrough results. ACS methodology entails a deep understanding of the four fundamental laws of business and the gathering of essential related facts needed to create an effective diagnosis of the business. The laws and related questions are these:
Costs and prices always decline.
How does your cost experience slope compare with competitors'?
What is the slope of price changes in your industry?
Which of your products or services are making money (or not), and why?
Competitive position determines your options.
What is your relative market share? How big is your market and how fast is it growing?
Is your profitability in line with your relative market share? Which capabilities create/reinforce your competitive advantages? What capabilities are you lagging on?
Customers and profit pools don't stand still.
Which are the biggest, fastest-growing and most profitable customer segments?
What is your customer retention by key segment?
What is your share of the competitive profit pools? How is that changing?
Simplicity gets results.
How complex are your business lines, products, organization and business processes, and what is all that costing?
Based on these insights, we have developed and tested effective performance Improvement diagnostic techniques. These techniques allow executives to gather a comprehensive set of data enabling them to understand their current performance level and the gap between that and an accurate measure of their full potential and then set specific goals and define initiatives to achieve them.
Research & Development
Before you can have innovation and disruption you need research and development.
Unfortunately, the inverse is not true: just because you invest in R&D doesn’t mean your company will produce game-changing products or services. ACS shows you how to devote the right level of resources to R&D and avoid the many pitfalls that hamstring sustained, successful innovation. The result: a repeatable formula for R&D that maintains a sharp focus on customer needs and produces superior returns.
Four steps to best in class R&D
Innovation roadmap and strategy
High performance processes
High performance organization
How ACS can help with implementing these four steps?
We have extensive experience helping companies reach their R&D and product development goals: more than 100 projects across industries and geographies in the past decade alone.
Our multidimensional approach helps you overcome R&D gridlock. We adopt a cross-industry perspective, identifying the most relevant R&D best practices from companies in many different sectors.
We strike the right balance between what to do and how to do it. Our expertise in customer analysis, Innovation, and sourcing helps you focus on the best opportunities, and our deep understanding of organization, process and infrastructure optimization shows you how to move forward with maximum efficiency.
Our comprehensive toolkit provides structure at every stage, from determining the best metrics to measuring costs to monitoring continuous improvement of your R&D capabilities.
With ACS as your R&D optimization advisor, you can expect the following results:
Significant savings and stronger ROI
Achieve R&D cost savings of 5% in the first year and 15–20% over a product lifecycle, while prioritizing R&D investments based on a clear view of the ROI.
Achieve faster cycle times, accelerate delivery dates and improve time-to-market, so you get better products to market more quickly than your competitors.
Align your product development efforts with customers' needs and spending constraints.
Imbue your team with the capabilities they need to manage R&D efficiently and productively over the long term