Award for Kerkhoff Consulting

Ranking first in the category "Supply Chain Management". Major auditing companies are now pushing into consulting niches as well. Yet, quite a few small players can still counter it.

Sometimes small consultancies outwit the big names. In the "Best of Consulting" competition organized and hosted by the German business weekly Wirtschaftswoche, the Düsseldorf-based consultancy Kerkhoff Consulting was made number one in the category "Supply Chain Management". Awarded was a consulting project for Conditorei Coppenrath & Wiese GmbH & Co. KG, the leading manufacturer of frozen baked goods in Europe.
At Coppenrath & Wiese, the consultants encountered a typical phenomenon in upscale medium-sized enterprises: "Interfaces between distribution and production had to be improved, but also between marketing, finances and procurement", says Bardo Hassemer, Principal at Kerkhoff Consulting. Since these interfaces present areas where not only cost pitfalls are lurking but also risks for the supply chain, more and more CFOs are interested in their company's supply chains. And since long-lived structures often must be dealt with and changed, and since the correct approach in this respect is often difficult to see for internal personnel due to interdisciplinary aspects, companies tend to call in consultants for such work.

One against the Big Four

And the big ones in the industry have also come to realize that. Kerkhoff Consulting, headed by 55-year-old Gerd Kerkhoff as the founder and managing partner, is among the last few noteworthy owner-managed consultancies in the purchasing sector. The consulting market for supply chain management has recently become very restless and fluid because major auditing companies have come to occupy this niche.
Instead of setting up their own consultancy units, three of the big four incorporated existing players: In the middle of last year, KPMG acquired the Bonn-based consultancy BrainNet; early this year, EY took over the Mannheim-based company J&M Management Consulting AG. And also in the spring of 2013, the German consultancy Management Engineers was purchased by Booz & Company which, in turn, is just being taken over by PwC.

By Marc-Christian Ollrog