Consultancies boost supply chain solutions with acquisitions

By Kate Birch
Consultancy firms Deloitte, PwC, Kearney, Accenture have acquired supply chain solutions at pace in 2021, as clients wake up to the need for transformation

2021 has seen a glut of acquisition deals by large consultancies, as they look to fill their own capability shortages and ensure they are prepared to tackle the business issues of the moment.

Among the issues du jour, supply chain, sustainability and cybersecurity are top of the business agenda, and the number of consultancy acquisitions throughout 2021 backs this up.

It is the issue of supply chain that has been most prevalent with demand for expertise and implementation of digital solutions increasing rapidly during the pandemic and set to be a key client demand in the future. 

Supply chain digital transformation demand high

The pressure of the last 20 months, with increased consumer demand and limited workforce capabilities in Covid-stricken nations, has resulted in supply chains being badly affected. This has served as a wake-up call for those with fragile supply chains and accelerated the need for businesses to transform theirs to become more customer-focused, agile and sustainable.

Supply chain organisations are wising up to the fact that with a digital transformation of their current operations, they can avert crises and find workarounds to ensure the usual flow of goods and services. 

To address this, consultancy firms are upping spend on capabilities with acquisitions of supply chain digital solutions proving increasingly popular in 2021.

According to Alistair Kett, consulting supply chain and operations leader at PwC, the challenges facing the UK and global economies in the field of supply, scarcity and disruption will “all need innovative and technology-enabled solutions”.

From PwC and Deloitte, to Accenture and Kearney, we highlight some of the biggest supply chain acquisitions in Europe in the last year.

Accenture acquires REPL

Global advisory Accenture has been the most prolific in supply chain solution acquisitions in 2021 with its purchase of more than a handful, as it looks to strengthen its Supply Chain & Operations capabilities in different parts of the world, including Australia and the US.

Among these, in Europe, Accenture’s acquisition of UK-based digital supply chain consultancy REPL, as it looks to strengthen its regional capabilities across retail and linked industries.

Founded in 2007, and specialising in solutions for supply chain, workforce management, store operations and retail customer experiences, REPL has grown to be a 440-strong team with four UK offices as well as in the US, South Africa and Germany. REPL has deep relationships with key ecosystem partners, including Blue Yonder, and is recognized as a Gold Consulting Partner in Blue Yonder’s Partner network.

According to Kris Timmermans, who leads Accenture’s Supply Chain & Operations practice globally, “the addition of REPL will extend our skilled workforce and ability to support clients in their digital supply chain transformation journeys, enabling Accenture to further deliver on the promise of technology and human ingenuity.” 

Deloitte acquires Syncronic

In May 2021, professional services company Deloitte acquired Syncronic, a Danish consulting firm dedicated to tech-driven supply chain transformations and solutions, in a move to become Denmark’s leading supply chain consulting firm. Syncronic was integrated into Deloitte’s Supply Chain service line and SAP service line in July.

Founded in 2006, Syncronic has grown to become a 30-strong consulting firm, split across two offices, Denmark and Sweden. It specialises in helping companies optimise their supply chain through digitalisation, advanced planning and the implementation of the latest SAP solutions. The result? Companies are more agile and have a faster and more secure way of moving goods.

PwC acquires supply chain consultancy Olivehorse

The latest consultancy to up its supply chain offering via acquisition is Big Four firm PwC, announcing at the start of December 2021 the purchase of Olivehorse, a consultancy specialising in supply chain management technology.

Founded in 2012, Olivehorse provides end-to-end supply chain planning and management solutions to clients across SAP, Anaplan and Kinaxis, and is one of the very few independents with SAP gold partner and supply chain management recognised expertise accreditations.

This deal, which is expected to complete in Q1 2022, will strengthen PwC’s existing supply chain practice, bringing in a further 60 members of staff. 

Kearney acquires Prokura

While acquisitions are normal for most consultancies, and every day in Accenture’s case, they are a rare move for Kearney, which typically prefers organic growth and has only made two acquisitions in the past decade.

Now, Kearney is adding its third with the acquisition of Nordic-based consulting firm and procurement and supply chain specialists Prokura, in a bid to consolidate its position as a market leader in procurement and supply chain consultants.

Founded in 2008, Prokura has evolved into a renowned strategy and implementation partner employing some 60 specialists and with offices in Denmark, Norway and Germany. The firm works across public and private sectors to transform client procurement and supply chain functions, from strategy and design through to execution, with major clients including Danfoss, Maersk and Novo Nordisk.

The result? To offer clients Europe-wide leading strategic advice and hands-on implementation of advanced procurement and supply chain solutions from start to finish.


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