Clarkston Consulting at a Glance

Uppers

  • "Culture and work-life balance."
  • "Opportunities early on in career—can grow fast if you put in the work."
  • "The opportunities to grow: both professionally and personally."

Downers

  • "Not a ton of international opportunities."
  • "Mistaken perception by some potential customers that a smaller firm can't compete against a 'big few' firm."
  • "Travel/demands that consulting lifestyle brings."

The Buzz

  • "Employee friendly."
  • "Solid."
  • "Capable system integrator."
  • "Great healthcare boutique."

About Clarkston Consulting

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. 

New priorities

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 management. 

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. 

Prescribing solutions

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 growth. 

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 Convention. 

Morale makers

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 reimbursement. 

IN THE NEWS

July 2017

Clarkston Consulting partners with Girls Who Code to close nation's IT gender gap

As a 2017 Summer Immersion Program sponsor, Clarkston Consulting hosted close to 50 girls from GWC this past July to participate in a half-day workshop.  Read more.

Clarkston Consulting Shares Insights on Predictive Analytics with Forbes

Clarkston's Sebastian Valencia was featured in a Forbes article on predictive analytics. Read more.

June 2016

Faith Kosobucki named in the Triangle Business Journal's List of CFOs of the Year

Read more.

April 2017

Traigh Groover named winner of Triangle Business Journal's 2017 Life Sciences Award

Read more.

Clarkston Consulting named on Forbes' list of Best Management Consulting Firms for 2017

Forbes named Clarkston Consulting as one of the top consulting firms in America. Read more.

Sean Burke acknowledged for Excellence in Retail in Consulting Magazine's 2017 Rising Star Awards

As the specialty retail lead, Sean has provided strategic expertise to retail and consumer products companies in the areas of project and program management, process improvement, and quality assurance. Read more.

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Clarkston Consulting

2655 Meridian Parkway
Durham, NC 27713
Phone: (800) 652-4274
Fax: (919) 484-4450

Stats

  • Employer Type: Private
  • CEO: Tom Finegan
  • 2017 Employees: 250

  • Major Departments & Practices
    Consumer Products & Life Sciences
    Strategy & Innovation
    Sales & Marketing
    Supply Chain
    Quality & Regulatory
    Operational Excellence
    Organizational Health
    SAP Advisory and Implementation
    Technology Advisory and Implementation

Major Office Locations

  • Durham, NC (HQ)
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Boston, MA
  • Bridgewater, NJ
  • Detroit, MI
  • Escondido, CA
  • Philadelphia, PA
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