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Ulf Schrader

Senior PartnerHamburg

Leads McKinsey’s manufacturing and supply chain work, serving companies on operations performance transformations, operations strategy, and Industry 4.0

Ulf is a leading expert in the biopharmaceuticals, medtech, and healthcare industries. He helps companies improve quality, service, and costs in their production networks, supply chains, and purchasing, and leads McKinsey's work on manufacturing and supply chain.

Ulf helped lead the first detailed benchmarking in the pharmaceutical industry for operations costs and productivity—POBOS—which supports over 100 companies and 1000 plants globally in providing benchmarking solutions and services.

Ulf also advanced pharmaceutical manufacturing solutions aimed at helping companies adapt to Industry 4.0 technologies, including overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), yield optimization, the use of digital twins to optimize plant and lab scheduling, smart digitization, and shop floor operations. Ulf is a recognized leader in Industry 4.0 technologies for pharma manufacturing. To date, this role has included establishing three digital lighthouses on pharma manufacturing included in the World Economic Forum’s Global Lighthouse Network.

Ulf joined McKinsey in 1999 and has led the firm’s Hamburg office since 2016. He earned a degree in industrial engineering with a focus on applied chemistry from the Technical University of Berlin as well as a Master’s degree in modern history from the same institution. In addition, he has a Master’s degree in business administration from emlyon business school.

Published Work

From bench to bedside: Transforming R&D labs through automation,” McKinsey & Company, March 2023

Leveraging digital and analytics in biopharma operations: Six principles,” McKinsey & Company, May 2021

Operations can launch the next blockbuster in pharmaceuticals,” McKinsey & Company, February 2021

Pharma operations: The path to recovery and the next normal,” McKinsey & Company, May 2020

Pharma operations: Creating the workforce of the future,” McKinsey & Company, April 2020

Rapid growth in biopharma: Challenges and opportunities,” McKinsey & Company, December 2014

Outlook on pharma operations” McKinsey & Company, 2010


From Science to Operations, March 2014

Operations for the Executive Suite, August 2012


Emlyon Business School

Technical University of Berlin
BE, chemical engineering
MA, history