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Roland Berger develops the "Operations Efficiency Radar" together with the International Controller Association: It's clear that many manufacturers are gearing up for growth in 2010

Munich, January 12, 2010

  • Survey among more than 50 CFOs and managers at OEMs about optimization levers in 2010
  • Concentration on costs remains, but at the same time companies are starting to focus on growth
  • Focus of Agenda 2010 is on product portfolios, production, working capital management and innovation and development
  • In contrast, administration and overhead rank at the bottom of the CFO's agenda

For 2010, many German companies are planning to switch from pure restructuring to focusing on boosting efficiency. This is the finding of a joint study carried out by Roland Berger Strategy Consultants and the International Controller Association, which surveyed more than 50 CFOs and managers at manufacturing companies. The focus of the survey was on the optimization levers companies plan to use in 2010. These levers cover the entire value chain. Thus, the "Operations Efficiency Radar" serves as a CFO decision-making tool for financial planning in 2010 and a discussion basis for coordinating with other departments. Next year, companies will be focusing on product portfolios, production, working capital management and innovation and development. The days of pure cutting costs are over.

"It's impressive to see how quickly companies are switching this year from short-term cost-cutting actions to medium- and long-term realignment," says Oliver Knapp, Principal at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants. The results of the Operations Efficiency Radar by Roland Berger Strategy Consultants and the International Controller Association corroborate this observation. The study covers nine areas of the value chain. Participants were asked to rate how important individual levers are for them, and how they are currently using these and if they plan to use them in 2010. The findings are clear: The participants are shifting from pure restructuring to boosting efficiency. Especially topics dealing with growth are coming to the fore. "Our survey of CFOs provides clear insight into what approaches will be taken in the German economy," says Conrad G√ľnther, Member of the International Controller Association's Executive Committee. "CFOs not only have a major influence on their companies' strategy, they also have excellent insight into what operating actions are most promising."

Four areas of the value chain are especially important

The focus of Agenda 2010 among the companies surveyed is clearly on their product portfolio (62%), production (56%), working capital management (54%) and innovation and development (52%). In contrast, they feel accounting and finance (44%) and administration and overhead (33%) are not as important. "This is a clear indication that companies are setting up their planning for 2010 to focus on growth, "says Thomas Rinn, Partner at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants. More than half of the companies surveyed intend to devote more attention to their product portfolios. For instance, they are planning to investment more in their product/service portfolios to streamline them and make them fit for the future. They are also planning to make production more efficient, optimize planning and management and improve vertical integration. In terms of working capital management, the surveyed participants intend on further optimizing their supply chain and receivables. In the areas of innovation and development, improving product development, development costs and product architecture, such as by using platform and modular concepts, are top priority.

"Companies are once again looking optimistically at the future," says Knapp. "In 2010, they will try to not only cut costs and maintain their current levels, but also invest in promising new products."

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