Manage Complexity

Streamlined supply chain management

Understand, simplify and manage complexity in your supply chains

Properly tackling complexity very often makes the difference between good and bad decisions in projects. Diving into complex, interlinked analyses is a must for preparing top management decisions. However, the art of focusing on the relevant pieces and reducing complexity is essential for project success. In addition, simplicity rules over complexity in effectively communicating of the purpose and result of a project. This way you get the buy-in of larger audiences with less knowledge of the project details.

The simple truth

Why supply chain planning is complex

Supply chain complexity has grown exponentially. Contributing factors include greater product choice, more customer segments, shorter order cycles, extended production chains and wider geographical spreads.

Staying ahead of your competition is crucial, and removing complexity from your supply chain can help get rid of inefficiencies and layers of hidden costs. We support the simplification of your supply chain by providing best practices, ‘LEAN’-oriented methods and on-the-ground knowledge to the supply chain planning process.

Understanding and simplifying your supply chain


In order to identify undesired elements of your supply chain for rationalization, different drivers of complexity need to be examined. The number of product SKUs, customer segments and suppliers in your supply chain can often be simplified.

We help eliminate what is not critical and standardize activities that are repetitive by reviewing your processes. Techniques such as consolidation and postponement can yield significant savings.

For example, a pharmaceutical customer saved 25% by consolidating products into refrigerated Unit Load Devices (ULDs) instead of using insulated packaging. To facilitate collaboration and global target-setting, supply chain governance can be realigned, a clear supply chain strategy defined and new technologies adopted for continuous performance monitoring.

Reducing both complexity and cost

Network structures can be simplified in parallel to realizing cost savings in accordance with financial targets. Defining the leanest and most effective network can make your supply chain less complex and more cost-effective. For example, an engineering and manufacturing company reduced complexity in both their inbound and outbound transportation networks by reducing warehouse locations and increasing cross-docking. The result was 21% in savings.

In conjunction with strategic analysis, we recommend leveraging leading network modeling tools, such as CAPS, in order to optimize demand networks – from suppliers and manufacturing through to the end customer.

Applying techniques such as consolidation and postponement can yield significant savings.
Alexander Schmitz-Hübsch, Partner DHL Consulting

Cutting back complexity

Improving project results

Our customers expect us to help them handle this complexity and thus substantially improve the project outcome.
Here are some examples of complexity management:

  • Strong interdependencies: changes in one project often lead to multiple effects in other areas. The identification of the critical path and a clear illustration of interrelations underlie sound decision making.

  • High cross-functional input requirements: gathering information from diverse sources requires understanding source availability and validity. Consolidating the vast amount of collected data correctly into an easy-to-handle business case analysis provides essential support for top management.

  • Dynamic project environment: fast-changing decisions impact the direction of the project and result in project participant insecurity. Mental flexibility and the ability to rethink chosen approaches help redefine the project scope and content.

  • Diverging goals of relevant stakeholders: intensive alignment processes need to be set up and executed in order to generate buy-in.

  • Tight timeline: time is usually a scarce resource in projects. Focus on the most relevant topics by understanding interdependencies of activities and the impact of potential risks.

More Challenges

Support Growth

Growth-oriented supply chains

Improve Performance

Boosting all key parameters

Enhance Sustainability

Green is in