Clarkston Consulting is a business and IT consultancy serving
the consumer products & retail and life sciences markets.
Besides its headquarters in Durham, N.C., the firm has offices in
six U.S. cities. It was founded in 1991 as Clarkston-Potomac Group,
Inc. by Tom Finegan, Neil Nelson, Ronald Gridley and James Stefan,
all former Andersen consultants who saw an opportunity to create
one of the first American companies to offer SAP implementation.
The founders developed the firm as an affordable alternative to the
Big Six, and targeted primarily mid-market clients with services
like sales force automation, electronic solutions, process
management and strategic planning.
Over the past several years, Clarkston has narrowed its focus to
the consumer products & retail and life science industries.
Reflecting this targeted approach, the firm has never pursued
aggressive expansion, instead applying energy to the careful
cultivation of its client base. The results have borne this
decision out: Clarkston's 12-year average client satisfaction rate
is 97 percent (as measured by annual surveys conducted by Client
Opinions). As Clarkston looks toward 2020, the firm is planning to
shift towards more strategic and operational consulting services to
complement their implementation expertise.
Serving up success
Some of the firm's biggest consumer products clients are Pernod
Ricard, Seventh Generation, J. Crew, Benjamin Moore, Coca-Cola,
First Quality, Pinnacle Foods, Estée Lauder, and Mars. Services to
such clients range from demand planning and new product development
to human capital management, operational solutions and supply chain
In an engagement with Seventh Generation, Clarkston worked with
the company to implement a Sales and Operations (S&OP) process
that would allow them to effectively forecast growing demand and
supply needs for its products. Seventh Generation now has growing
confidence in their supply and demand forecasting ability, and
expects to improve forecast accuracy by 10 percent at the SKU level
and decrease inventory by 15 percent, while maintaining their
historically high service levels. Clarkston has continued their
relationship with Seventh Generation, working with them to develop
an IT strategy that would establish an enterprise-wide foundation
for scalable growth. The firm has also gained great inspiration
from Seventh Generation's mission-minded approach, applying social
and environmental practices to its firm culture.
Within the life sciences, Clarkston works with pharmaceutical
companies, diagnostics manufacturers, biotech companies and other
makers of health care products. Major clients include Auxilium,
Astellas, Emergent Biosolutions, Genzyme, H. D. Smith, Hospira,
Pfizer and Shire; services for such clients include quality
and enterprise systems strategy and implementation, regulatory
strategy and compliance, M&A integration and advice, and
operational efficiency management.
For H. D. Smith, OPUS was a global business transformation
project that would provide automation and standardization, improve
business processes, and support scalable growth for the company.
Clarkston was engaged to provide a holistic approach to a
multi-phased SAP implementation, bringing industry, solution, and
change management expertise to help transform H. D. Smith's
organization. Upon completion of project OPUS, H. D. Smith had a
scalable solution that improved regulatory compliance, partner
collaboration and distribution practices, as well as a new Center
of Excellence that would support the company's future
Getting the word out
The firm participates in thought leadership in the industry
through research studies, white papers and its Viewpoints and
Insights publications, collections of case studies, strategies and
trend-tracking pieces which it posts on the company web site. Some
recent topics include the unsustainable trajectory of trade
spending, strategies for leading global serialization programs, and
the ROI of human capital management. Clarkston also dispatches firm
partners and consultants as guest speakers for seminars and
conferences around the country, including the 2015 SAPPHIRE NOW and
ASUG Annual Conference, as well as Nielsen's Consumer
360® and the 2015 BIO International
Similar to its commitment to clients, the firm makes efforts to
keep employee relations healthy and strong. It distributes an
annual Triple-A (Ask, Act and Adopt) Employee Satisfaction Survey,
which employees can take anonymously online. Clarkston also offers
ample training opportunities, ranging from external classes,
e-learning and lunch'n learns, to formal and on-the-job training.
Clarkston Academy and Clarkston Bootcamp are extensive training
programs for new hires that are recent college graduates or that
have a few years of work experience. Between 80 and 120 hours per
year are available to employees for use on purely
self-developmental pursuits-in addition to tuition
IN THE NEWS
2014 Client Survey Reveals Satisfaction
Rating of 99%
Clarkston Consulting recently announced the results of its
14th annual client satisfaction survey. The 2014
survey showed a total satisfaction rating of 99% and a Net Promoter
Score (NPS) of 85%.
For the past fourteen years, Clarkston has engaged a third-party
independent research firm to obtain an objective and unbiased
assessment of the year's performance. Client Opinions, Inc. an
independent research firm, conducted the 2014 assessment by
collecting direct feedback from Clarkston's clients. The
input ranged from industry expertise, delivering business results,
project execution, and quality.
Clarkston Consulting Exhibiting and
Presenting at SAPPHIRE® NOW
With more than 20 years of experience with SAP® solutions,
Clarkston Consulting exhibited and presented two educational
sessions at the SAPPHIRE® NOW and ASUG Annual
Conference, which was held May 5-7, 2015 at the Orange County
Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.
Clarkston Consulting Selected as 2014 and
2015 LearningElite Finalist
was named a 2014 and 2015 LearningElite
finalist organization by Chief Learning
Officer (CLO) magazine. The LearningElite Finalists were
selected for creating and implementing exemplary workforce
development practices that deliver measurable business value.
The LearningElite is widely recognized as one of the most
meaningful and comprehensive standards for effective L&D
practices, and it recognizes and ranks excellence using five key
learning and development performance indicators: learning strategy,
learning execution, learning impact, business performance results
and leadership commitment.
Clarkston Partner Jenny McLean Discusses Future of
Clarkston Consulting's Jenny McLean discusses the future of
retail and the forces driving that industry's changes in a recent
issue of Consulting Magazine. The article, "Future Forward," is a companion piece to
the "Retail Revolution" cover story.