Every project is of course unique, but some issue areas are quite common

Several of the services presented below are typically also linked together. 

For example you might have a situation with too high working capital. This might be caused by poor balance between demand and supply and we would look for optimizations in the Sales & Operations Planning process. Or it might be caused by an inefficient network setup, which would lead us into an assessment of your network / footprint. 

Working Capital

The working capital tied up in inventory and receivables may be the best overall measurement we have of our Operational Excellence. 

When we push for working capital efficiency improvements we should make sure to do so in a way that also harvests all the positive side effects.

When we address the inefficiencies in our working capital it will trigger a number of process efficiency improvements in our operations. When we have spent enough time looking at inefficiencies inside our own organization we will continue looking at how we can work smarter and more efficient across the larger value chain, with our suppliers and customers. This will start building a stronger and more competitive supply chain. A competitive advantage that is not easy to copy and that will contribute to higher long term profitability.

At Heron Consulting we have the relevant expertise and tools to help you improve your working capital efficiency without missing out on the positive spin-offs on cost and profitability, which might often be even more attractive than the actual working capital efficiencies.


Network / Footprint

Network design is what creates the prerequisites for the operational part of the business. The infrastructure in which Operations takes place if you like. This means also that the design of your network will frame the performance of Operations, in a similar way that a fast car will still not be able to go very fast on a poor road.

The infrastructure together with the daily operations (the two middle layers in the illustration) will deliver on the service level requirements with a certain accuracy and to a certain cost. Sometimes you will find the bottleneck for your overall business performance in the how the network is designed, sometimes in how Operations is arranged.

The foundation of a Network Design project is always the same. We setup your network in a computer model where we can evaluate different scenarios. The network is then optimized based on the parameters defined in the project such as cost, speed, agility, carbon impact.

Don’t forget the operating model!

Many Network Strategy projects are focused only on the analytical aspect of defining the optimal network. To make sure we get the full benefit from the new network design we also need to verify that the operating model is adapted to work well together with the new network. 

Sales & Operations Planning

Sales & Operations is (among other things) about making sure that capacity is in balance with the demand. Needless to say, this is absolute key to maintain good profitability. 

Sales & Operations planning is also the coordinating capability where all planning aspects come together. This makes is a great platform not only to make sure that the whole organization is gathered around the same plan, but also to drive continuous improvements across the whole planning cycle. 

Having a S&OP process up and running will help to shed light on each imperfections in the system. It will also bring cross functional teams of coworkers together in discussions that will unveil new opportunities for business improvement.

The continuous improvement approach for S&OP that we argue at Heron Consulting starts with putting a minimum viable S&OP process in place and to continuously improve each component as part of running the process. 

Complexity Reduction

It is easier to be operational excellent in a ”simple” environment. Any complexity that does not add value to the business should be eliminated. 

For different reasons complexity management is not always a clear responsibility area, or even something we measure and follow up. Considering how much extra inefficiencies and cost excessive complexity will add to the business and how much that can hurt the competitive edge of the company, this is quite surprising. 

Heron Consulting can help with identifying and eliminating excessive complexity in your organization, whether this comes from a widespread product portfolio, lack of component commonality or a widespread footprint / network. But maybe more important, we can also help in establishing complexity management with clear responsibilities, targets and processes to make it part of every day business.

One Week Site Assessment

The One Week Assessment is a workshop based assessment where 15-20 capabilities across 6 functional areas are evaluated based on a capability maturity model that spans from common maturity level to Leading level. 

The outcome is an activity plan with prioritized improvement activities in each functional area. 

Typically this type of assessment is done in a larger context where there is an Operational Excellence type of issue leading up to the need of defining a roadmap for improvement. This issue is often manifested as a combination of high working capital and low delivery performance. A symptom that is common for businesses in the need for an “operational excellence boost”.

The defined roadmap should spark the continuous improvement process and support the adoption of the continuous improvement culture in the organization.

The continuous improvement process can be hard enough to get started and even harder to keep going. The capability assessment can help with both.

Lean Assessment / Transformation

Businesses in all industries benefit greatly from adopting a Lean thinking and culture. The backbone of Lean is the continuous improvement that targets all types of waste in the organization. 

But to be able to start with the continuous improvement work we need to have a few fundamentals in place. For example we need to have our “standards” or processes / procedures defined. These are the subject of continuous improvement and constitute the memory of the organization.

Heron Consulting can help you get the foundation in place and coach you on your Lean Transformation Journey.