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Operations insights for CEOs

Connecting the boardroom to the frontline, transforming operations, and building resilience

As a leader of your organization, you're facing challenges to your Operations across the value chain. Supply chains are being disrupted more often, inflation and price volatility loom over the global economy, a skills shortage is slowing productivity—all amid a moral and regulatory imperative to improve sustainability.

This collection of articles brings together ideas and insights leaders can use to answer these challenges and use Operations to create a competitive advantage. They encourage tech-enablement where and when it matters and highlight opportunities to build the skills of the workforce for a changing future.


Stepping up: What COOs will need to succeed in 2023 and beyond

– COOs are increasingly important to corporations, but what skills will they need to perform at their best? Business leaders weigh in.

The CEO: Architect of the new operations agenda

– To thrive in a volatile and unpredictable postpandemic economy, companies need smarter, faster, more agile business operations. That requires big changes—and commitment from the very top of the organization.

Featured videos

The leadership agenda for Operations

Transforming Operations can counter volatility and build resilience in an uncertain environment. Hear why leaders in McKinsey's Operations Practice think Operations should be the top of every CEO's agenda.

The new era of operations

Our leaders share more on how organizations across Asia are transforming their business operations to tackle today’s major challenges.

Featured insights

How can I build resilient Operations?

In a fast-changing economic environment, building resilient Operations on a foundation of operational excellence helps companies to maintain and even accelerate growth amid uncertainty.

Indirect manufacturing costs: An overlooked source for clear savings

– Indirect operations functions make up a significant share of total operations—and optimizing them can deliver sizeable bottom-line impact.

Failure is not an option: How to get resilience right

– In these uncertain times, focusing on four areas can help companies ensure their long-term survival while still meeting their carbon-reduction goals.

Supply chains: To build resilience, manage proactively

– Supply chain upheavals show little sign of abating. Companies can address them by reconsidering outdated, short-term strategies and beginning the hard work of building structural resilience.

How can I navigate price volatility?

Macroeconomic conditions have led to frequent—and sometimes dramatic—repricing of essential materials, products, and services. CEOs can look across their organizations to mitigate the effects, including using the procurement function to catalyze cross-functional actions that promote efficiency and resilience in rapidly evolving market conditions.


Outsprinting the energy crisis

– High energy costs are hitting Europe’s industrial players hard. Bold action could protect margins today and make companies cleaner, stronger, and more profitable for the future.

Full-potential procurement: Lessons amid inflation and volatility

– Procurement organizations are uniquely positioned to catalyze cross-functional actions that promote efficiency and resilience in rapidly evolving market conditions.

How business operations can respond to price increases: A CEO guide

– Companies need better tools to tackle rising prices. CEOs can look for them across their business operations.

How can digital and analytics solutions help me accelerate and scale growth?


The next chapter: Lighthouses shape the Fourth Industrial Revolution

– The story of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is moving forward at speed, with members of the Global Lighthouse Network grasping the pen and writing a tale of the need for scale.

Deep learning in product design

– A revolutionary approach is transforming the way companies approach tough engineering optimization challenges.

Value, speed, and scale: A new era for operations in Asia

– CEOs are embracing radical new approaches in business operations to rapidly scale growth. And Asia will be a dynamic proving ground.

Prepare now for the future of industrial services

– A 600-executive survey reveals how services organizations can adapt to a remote-first world by revamping their operating models and carefully tailoring commercial models to match.

How CEOs can win the new service game

– Four irreversible trends are redefining excellence in service operations. For today’s leaders, they could be a transformational opportunity—or an existential threat.

Fueling digital operations with analog data

– Intelligent document processing, with humans in the loop, allows companies to bridge the business operations gap between the analog and digital worlds.

Decarbonizing Operations

Your organization’s operations have a major role to play in improving environmental sustainability. Fast actions to decarbonize and reduce waste can help to keep climate change to the required 1.5 degrees without loss of productivity.

Power spike: How battery makers can respond to surging demand from EVs

– As the auto market embraces electric vehicles, battery demand is soaring. Bold moves in gigafactory construction, supply chain... strategy, and talent acquisition can help industry players get ahead.

2022 and beyond for the packaging industry’s CEOs: The priorities for resilience

– The revolution sparked by two megatrends—sustainability and digital—is unprecedented in the packaging industry. We... highlight six priority moves for industry participants as they seek to build their resilience.

It’s not easy buying green: How to win at sustainable sourcing

– Green steel, recycled plastic, and other materials with low emissions intensity are already scarce—and will get even harder... to find. Here’s how smart companies are preparing for the squeeze.

Am I ready for the surge in capital expenditure?

The world will see a once-in-a-lifetime wave of capital spending on physical assets between now and 2027. This surge of investment—amounting to roughly $130 trillion—will flood into projects to decarbonize and renew critical infrastructure.

Training your own capital-project talent

– With talent scarce, systemic capability building has become an imperative for the capital-project industry. Here’s how to get it right.

Capital investment is about to surge: Are your operations ready?

– By 2027, about $130 trillion will flood into capital projects. But few organizations today could deliver with the speed and operational efficiency the influx demands.
Executive Briefing

Capital Projects 5.0: Reimagining capital-project delivery

– What could your business achieve if your large capital projects were 30 to 50 percent faster and cheaper? The opportunity is more real than you think.

How can I upskill my workforce and win with talent?

Amid labor-market instability, many companies still struggle to find and retain staff—even as others retrench. Long-term trends pose particular challenges in sectors such as heavy industry and transportation, while across sectors, workers seek more flexibility and purpose.
Report - McKinsey Global Institute

Performance through people: Transforming human capital into competitive advantage

– A dual focus on developing people and managing them well gives a select group of companies a long-term performance edge.
Article - McKinsey Quarterly

Gone for now, or gone for good? How to play the new talent game and win back workers

– Nearly half of the employees who voluntarily left the workforce during the pandemic aren’t coming back on their own. Employers must go and get them. Here’s how to start.

Navigating the labor mismatch in US logistics and supply chains

– Structural shifts in the labor market have left companies struggling to recruit and retain workers. But a set of concrete actions can help address this imbalance across value chains.

Managing change: What lies behind G&A spend transformation

– SG&A priorities are changing as long-term value-creation work, such as improving customer experience and creating new business-information products services, takes on greater importance.

The Human Factor in Operations

The Human Factor in Operations blog explores the unique input that people can bring and the capability-building programs that can prepare them for success

Insights on challenges across industries

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Digital transformation to achieve operational excellence

– Using principles of operational excellence, empowering workforces, and adding digital processes to production can help companies... achieve new levels of performance.

A new operations formula for the chemicals sector

– Facing spiraling costs, looming skills shortages, and the decarbonization imperative, manufacturers of chemicals and agricultural... products can’t afford to stand still.

Battery 2030: Resilient, sustainable, and circular

– Battery demand is growing—and so is the need for better solutions along the value chain.

Crafting an omnichannel value proposition for the e-grocery revolution

– Shifting consumer attitudes have accelerated the trial and adoption of e-grocery, with implications for omnichannel strategy.

Batteries included: Building and operating sustainable gigafactories

– As the demand for electric vehicles grows, so does the demand for the batteries to power them. Meeting that demand will require... more gigafactories to be built at speed and scale.

Five big technology transformation ideas for oil and gas CEOs

– Only 30 percent of oil and gas companies have successfully scaled digital manufacturing. But a few digital transformation ideas... can help oil and gas CEOs achieve real impact on production KPIs.

Power spike: How battery makers can respond to surging demand from EVs

– As the auto market embraces electric vehicles, battery demand is soaring. Bold moves in gigafactory construction, supply chain... strategy, and talent acquisition can help industry players get ahead.

Emerging from disruption: The future of pharma operations strategy

– To maintain profitable and resilient operations, CEOs and COOs of pharma companies may need to make bold changes to their operations... strategy as the industry navigates new challenges.

Harnessing volatility: Technology transformation in oil and gas

– Digital technologies can help oil and gas CEOs and leaders cut costs, boost output, and reduce carbon emissions. Here are five... big ideas to make them work at scale.

How mining companies reach the operational excellence gold standard

– Creating a culture of operational excellence is allowing the mining industry to reach new heights in sustained improvement in... productivity, efficiency, safety, and sustainability.
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