Supply Chain Consultancy

Returning a national hardware distributor to profit


For a national hardware distributor, acquisition of construction and industrial sector businesses simply added cost with no integration or synergy benefits. Operating at a loss, the business needed to turnaround financial performance within 12 months.


Reset the business on a sound operational footing to:

  • Deliver sustainable profits in a highly competitive market.
  • Reduce working capital and inventory holding. 
  • Rationalise the distribution network and potentially release freehold sites for sale.


We developed and implemented a major change programme for the business, drawing on some critical elements of our methodology. Particular highlights included:

  • Complexity – creating a data-driven understanding of product and customer profitability, supported not only a product range rationalisation, but also the crafting of a customer service offer that enabled greater standardisation whilst still delivering customer requirements.
  • Supply -  applying a total supply chain cost approach allowed the inherent trade-offs between service, cost, and capital to be identified, supporting a tightened supply base with category management established.
  • Logistics Management– current operations were reviewed to determine service and cost performance. Re-structuring of the distribution network from 3 regional warehouses to one re-configured central fulfilment centre, transformed operating costs.

Having confirmed the business case with our diagnostic analysis; due to the scale of the programme of change for the business, we supported implementation by leading the cross-functional client project team through all critical stages.


Successful turnaround returning the business to profit by:

  • Rationalising the product range.
  • Consolidating the distribution network.
  • Reducing average inventory by 32% 
  • Cutting distribution cost by 15%
  • Returning £7.5m to shareholders from property sales.


  • Re-gearing the supply chain sometimes means tough decisions are needed.
  • The ‘art of the possible’, once demonstrated, creates belief and momentum.

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