What challenge(s) do our clients face?
Many internal or external shifts can prompt companies to press the ‘reset’ button on their Portfolio Strategy and management practices.
The need to develop, optimize, and manage the product or service portfolio may arise at many different stages in a company’s lifecycle, presenting varied challenges:
- Boosting Performance: Companies often realize the need to increase the end-user focus – counterbalancing inside out priorities driven by operations, logistics, finance, etc. Here a reconnection with the customer is often needed to drive strategic plans or growth – understanding consumer habits, shopping baskets, preferences, trends, opportunities for differentiation, etc.
- Entering new markets: For start-ups or mature businesses entering new markets, finding target audiences, and connecting with them is key. Executives must find the right portfolio launch strategy and define the right positioning of portfolio attributes, which will support steady and efficient growth.
- Expansion / Investments: For maturing companies, it’s time for expansion. But product managers must assess whether the portfolio is ready or whether investments are necessary: is it focusing on the right products for the right markets? Are new product lines needed?
- Protecting market share: For mature companies, managers may reflect on how Portfolio Management processes can maintain control and embed innovation, ensuring sustained competitive advantages and market positioning.
- Overseeing a large assortment: For companies offering an extensive number of categories, sub-brands, and SKUs, executives must cut through the complexity to customize and optimize the assortment while maximizing profitability.
- Transition moments or turnarounds: For companies changing strategic direction due to internal or external pressures, it’s time to evaluate synergies in your portfolio with new market opportunities, optimizing investments that can lead to fast growth in new categories.
- Cost reduction or portfolio streamlining: From time to time companies find themselves with a large assortment of categories or extensive SKU lists which is generating complexity and dispersing focus in the Sales frontline teams. Executives must truly understand the customer and client needs in order to cut down the assortment and SKU size to streamline cost, reduce operational complexity, and support a better commercial focus and converged effort.
Across these varied challenges, we connect deep and insightful market analysis to tactical discussions on portfolio execution, guaranteeing alignment between external opportunities and internal efforts.
How do we help?
We provide 7 core deliverables to empower your organization and teams to better manage and differentiate the Product and Service Portfolio, aligning external opportunities with internal efforts:
Product Portfolio Strategy and segmentation are certainly one of the most multifunctional, intricate, and interdependent decision processes a company can envision. Every decision impacts practically the entire organization and polarizes incentives and areas objectives (Marketing vs Sales vs Operations vs Finance).
It requires a sound methodology and human quality to embrace the strategic, analytical, and stakeholder management complexity and turn it into a simple, intuitive, and fair decision-making process. We help companies achieve this through:
- Field and Consumer Insights: generating deep consumer and client-centric insights through in-situ field visits, interviews, questionnaires, and data analysis which support understanding and decision making.
- Advanced Analytics: we employ a large set of analytic tools to be able to consolidate and process internal and external data in a consolidated way (market sizing, distribution, competition, pricing, trends, profitability – all integrated per SKU).
- Intelligent Clustering: the art (and sweat) of creating a portfolio segmentation in determining clusters to separate different patterns and profiles of need states, consumer archetypes, price points, niches, volume generators, and opportunities for differentiation/optimization.
- Multifunctional Alignment: a thorough and attentive involvement of all areas involved in product and service decision-making – addressing all-important (and often difficult) discussions such as prioritization, SKU cutting, leaving a category, investments in new niches
- Pragmatic and Hands-on Recommendation: field insights allied to solid analytics and stakeholder management support the creation of solid and pragmatic portfolio planning. Here our consultants are empowered with practical experience and the commitment to involve and bring the right challenges while respecting your culture, context, and objectives.
- Financial Simulations: the portfolio recommendations must be backed up by financial simulations that project the financial impacts and needs deriving from the decisions.
- Portfolio and Activation Roadmap: all decisions and actions need to be properly planned and connected to internal interdependencies, taking care to undertake risk mitigations for each portfolio, and service offering adjustment.
What are the benefits?
A successful segmentation results in a clear polarization between SKUs, price tiers, categories, and consumer journeys into intuitive and insightful clusters, that enable companies to define actions, priorities, and ambitions regarding their portfolio. The benefits include:
- Increased sales or profits are driven by the ability to adapt the portfolio to the needs of customers, regions, and channels
- Aligned incentives and reduced conflict across business units as a result of more data-driven, fast and multifunctional decision-making
- Increase in execution efficiency and standardization through the creation of clear plans for field teams (sales, trade marketing, merchandising)
- Reduced complexity for the Supply Chain, Production and Product Management teams
- Increased efficiency in inventory management
- Improved business intelligence to identify gaps and opportunities in launching or repositioning products
How does it work?
An ‘outside-in’ approach that ensures true technical depth, simplicity in execution, and multifunctional alignment.
A tile producer and its private equity partner looked to Integration for support in redesigning its Portfolio to boost market opportunities, but also to overcome internal resistance to simplify and de-list items from a highly sophisticated portfolio.
This success of this project relied on three major contributors: (1) outside in strategic segmentation showed clusters of very low differentiation in the portfolio which could be simplified, whilst also pinpointing “white spaces” where innovation could plug market gaps; (2) careful work in the “transition” – to ensure the products being cut from the portfolio would be correctly managed in terms of operations, volume and client satisfaction; and (3) robust governance to ensure all multifunctional area would be involved to carefully validate, manage and sustain the portfolio strategy.
We achieved a 35% reduction in the size of the portfolio, resulting in a more than 15% increase in the average gross margin contribution, and a great reduction in operational complexity.
A leading beverage company with operations across Central America sought to improve its performance in the modern trade. Their goal was to increase its market share in the channel, by improving the relationship with its clients and offering a more customized and profitable product portfolio.
Integration supported the client by doing an in-depth review of its portfolio, identifying the differences among clients and categories to prioritize the products with the fittest, sales, and profitability in the modern channel. In order to do so, it was essential to engage multiple areas in the process, as well as involving the brand owners in the discussions and validations. In this manner, we were able to reconcile different perspectives into a cohesive portfolio strategy for the channel.
It was estimated that a successful implementation would increase sales by 12% in the channel within one year. This increase represented a gain of around 3 percentage points in market share.
OUR INDUSTRY EXPERIENCE
We have helped organizations across diverse sectors and regions. These include physical product makers in the Consumer Good sector (Food, Beverages, Beauty and Personal Care) and Industrial Products sector (Construction Materials and Agribusiness), distributors in Retail, Health and Pharmaceuticals and also service providers across Technology, Facilities and Education.