The McKinsey Capability Center in Atlanta, which opened in late 2011, is the first facility in our network to provide integrated, end-to-end training on the full scope of operations—product development, purchasing, supply chain management, manufacturing, and service operations.
Fictional company, real problems
The 12,000 square-foot Atlanta facility contains a variety of work stations simulating both traditional operating and office environments for a fictional business called “Peachtree Company.” For instance, participants can work on a continuous-flow production line for bottling water or brewed tea, or they can receive discrete-process training on a pneumatic cylinder assembly line.
In both cases, training programs may incorporate hands-on lessons related to other aspects of the business, such as product development or supply chain optimization. In late 2012, our training programs will expand to include green operations, focusing on the most energy efficient procedures for brewing tea and cooling it in preparation for bottling.
Recreating the complexity of cross-functional challenges
By focusing on a single fictional company in our training, we allow participants to see how companies manage full-scale operations, including cross-functional interactions and dependencies. For instance, we might stage a scenario in which the participant playing the Chief Purchasing Officer is charged with optimizing the supply chain across inventory, logistics, and production while real time changes occur. Meanwhile, the participant in the role of supply chain manager would solve problems related to the procurement of tea ingredients for the manufacturing line.
We can tailor programs to specific learning objectives, such as cost reduction, process efficiency, or improved customer service. Alternatively, we could help solve a real-world problem. For instance, our design-to-value experts helped a consumer packaged goods food player develop a holistic product-teardown process that it could use for its own products and those of competitors.
To identify potential cost savings, they explored sourcing issues, measured individual packaging components, and analyzed ingredients for over 500 SKUs in 15 product categories.
In just five weeks, the team:
- generated over 250 ideas that could reduce the products’ $820 million cost base by $75 million in the next fiscal year
- produced long-term savings that were estimated at $110 million annually