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Consumer Products

Achieving and Sustaining Operational Agility and Performance Improvement across the Consumer Products Value Chain

Consumer Products (CP) companies face countless challenges and opportunities in today’s global marketplace, from slow growth and margin erosion to accelerating product lifecycles, shifting consumer trends and fluctuating buying patterns. The Highland Group partners with senior CP executives to help their organizations achieve and sustain operational agility in this difficult and dynamic industry.


The most common challenges we see in CP firms are related to the slow growth and intense competition endemic in developed markets. These conditions force market leaders to be agile or risk losing share to smaller, more responsive competitors.  Consumer needs and trends are increasingly capricious and influenced by the proliferation of social media. While continuous innovation is essential, it often misses the point of driving profitable revenue. Operations organizations also struggle to capture efficiencies in this constantly changing environment. Fast-followers such as private label manufacturers have seized upon this area of market opportunity with mixed results.

Fundamentally, this perfect storm demands increasingly sophisticated operations planning and efficiency for survival. CP companies must relentlessly pursue operational flexibility, minimize costs, maximize efficiencies, optimize working capital and cultivate pricing power through profitable innovation. As CP manufacturers and distributors look for ways to increase agility through continuous improvements in cost control and network optimization, we’re here to help.


The Highland Group’s Consumer Products practice leverages our contextual experience as seasoned leaders in the CP industry and focuses on sustainably driving the achievement of our clients’ most critical business objectives. We start by examining all the internal and external challenges and opportunities that influence business goals, including, but not limited to:
Consumer Products List 3
For more than two decades, The Highland Group has helped industry-leading CP companies drive sustainable operational improvements and behavioral change. In the last several years, we’ve served more than 20 global and national CP brands, including two of the largest CP companies in the world. There, our senior consultants and industry specialists helped our clients realize millions of dollars in operational efficiencies and top-line growth. Our Senior Model helps us achieve these exceptional results: all of our consultants bring a minimum of 15 years of successful industry and consulting experience. Moreover, our firm’s cross-sector collaborations empower us to bring the most innovative ideas from related industries to serve our CP clients.

CP 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 experience and credibility within the CP 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 experience and results span the entire CP 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 private label manufacturer of health and beauty products: Reduced waste by US$3M and labor costs by US$1.2M; improved formulation quality without negatively impacting inventory or customer service; increased line uptime, throughput, machine reliability and on-time completion
  • For a leading household and personal care products manufacturer: Optimized working capital by capturing US$20M in cash from accounts payable within 11 weeks
  • For a multinational manufacturer of medical devices, pharmaceutical and consumer packaged goods: Achieved 97% line-item fill rate; reduced obsolete inventory to 2%; reduced order lead time by 30-60%; reduced inventory turn time from 40 days to 15 days; implemented a vendor-managed replenishment system
  • For a major manufacturer of vitamins, supplements, nutritional products and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals: Improved demand planning and supply chain performance; increased satisfaction level of top client to 100% and satisfaction for all other retail clients to 96% within in 10 weeks
  • 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%; reduced overtime by 50%
  • For a flexible food packaging converter: Reduced fixed and variable operating expenses by 25%; increased equipment utilization by 68%
  • 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; 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%; reduced landed costs by 3%

Our unique combination of sector experience and implementation focus makes us ideally suited to help our CP clients thrive amidst intensifying challenges and increasingly competitive markets.

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