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Ken Somers


Brings a wealth of operational expertise to help clients from manufacturing industries increase their yields and energy efficiency

Ken is a partner based in McKinsey’s Antwerp office. He brings clients a wealth of expertise in achieving operational improvements in manufacturing industries, especially in steel, metals, pulp and paper, pharmaceuticals, food, and chemicals.

With a deep interest in improving energy efficiency and yields, Ken leads the work of our Manufacturing Practice in resource-productive operations, helping clients optimize the profit per hour of their manufacturing facilities. He has trained energy experts and helped set up energy-efficiency programs at some of the largest chemical, steel, and pulp and paper companies in the world. He also helps clients with diagnostics and transformations to improve their energy consumption and yield and develop sustainable strategies.

Ken’s recent work has included new thinking on the circular economy and innovative manufacturing technologies such as 3D printing. In addition, he works with data specialists within McKinsey to develop advanced-analytics solutions for industrial processes.

Among his client projects, Ken has helped a European government set up its own model factory for energy efficiency, advised a pharmaceutical company on expanding its production capacity through yield optimization, and applied advanced analytics in chemical operations to decrease yield losses by up to 20 percent.

Ken has undergraduate and master’s degrees in chemistry and a doctorate in theoretical chemistry, all from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.

Published work

Decarbonizing the chemical industry,” McKinsey & Company, April 2023

Net-zero heat: Long-duration energy storage to accelerate energy system decarbonization, McKinsey & Company, November 2022

Outsprinting the energy crisis,” McKinsey & Company, April 2022

Africa’s green manufacturing crossroads: Choices for a low-carbon industrial future,” McKinsey & Company, September 2021

Adopting a smart data mindset in a world of big data,” McKinsey & Company, May 2021

Net zero or bust: Beating the abatement cost curve for growth,” McKinsey & Company, April 2021

Plugging in: What electrification can do for industry,” McKinsey & Company, May 2020

Laying the foundation for zero-carbon cement,” McKinsey & Company, May 2020

The case for committing to greener telecom networks,” McKinsey & Company, February 2020

How industry can move toward a low-carbon future,” McKinsey & Company, July 2018

Optimizing production in the age of the machine,” McKinsey & Company, October 2017

Extended lean toolkit for total productivity,” McKinsey & Company, October 2017

Pushing manufacturing productivity to the max,” McKinsey Quarterly, May 2017

Buried treasure: Advanced analytics in process industries,” McKinsey & Company, December 2016

The dirty little secret about digitally transforming operations,” Harvard Business Review, May 2016

Unlocking Industrial Resource Productivity: 5 core beliefs to increase profits through energy, material, and water efficiency, McKinsey & Company, February 2016

Technologies that could transform how industries use energy,” McKinsey & Company, November 2015

More from less: Making resources more productive,” McKinsey Quarterly, August 2015

Manufacturing growth through resource productivity,” McKinsey & Company, March 2015

Taming manufacturing complexity with advanced analytics,” McKinsey Quarterly, February 2015

3-D printing takes shape,” McKinsey Quarterly, January 2014

Measuring the real cost of water,” McKinsey Quarterly, March 2013

Manufacturing resource productivity,” McKinsey on Sustainability & Resource Productivity, Number 1, Summer 2012

“Lean for green manufacturing,” McKinsey & Company, January 2010 (PDF–420 KB)


Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
PhD, theoretical chemistry

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
MS, chemistry

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
BS, chemistry