December 30, 2013
Sourcing Innovation, "8 Key Design Considerations for Optimizing Your Demand Planning Process: Part II"

Guest Blog post by The Hackett Group's Josh Peacher. "In the first installment, we focused on defining the 4 basic design considerations for optimizing your organization's demand planning process. These considerations included: utilization of time series forecasting and exception management to drive a base forecast; selecting the right software tool for your business; identifying a set of core metrics and KPIs that help to identify opportunities and drive accountability; and effectively leveraging external information to elicit a more accurate forecast. These design considerations are foundational in nature and effectively addressing each will ensure that your organization's demand planning process has a solid base. However, to truly move the needle towards world class performance, a set of more advanced considerations must be applied..."

December 30, 2013
CFO, "Ten Steps to End the Dash for Cash,"

Bylined article by Dan Ginsberg, Associate Principal at REL, a division of The Hackett Group. "Companies often make a dash for cash at the end of the fiscal year to produce a cash-flow statement suitable for framing. It generally works ... at first. Delaying payments to suppliers, reducing stock levels and increasing collections all make working capital look better for a little while. Unfortunately, most of those gains don't usually last into the first quarter."

December 27, 2013
SIG Newsletter, "Moving to the Next Level in the Organization: Taking Responsibility for Developing Your Skill-Sets,"

Bylined article by The Hackett Group's Goeff Peters, "Each of us has had that "aha" moment when the light comes on and you realize that you are capable of performing at a higher level in your organization (or another organization) and taking on additional responsibilities and accountability. Perhaps we were recognized by a peer or superior for a job well-executed, or we've just received a positive performance review and a discussion about next year's goals that was company-focused on what we were to accomplish in terms of value-add over the next twelve months."

December 10, 2013
CFO, "Webinar: Superior Performance in Working Capital Management,"

Dan Ginsberg, Associate Principal with REL Consultancy Group, a division of The Hackett Group, leads this Webinar which looks at how companies have loosened their grip on managing working capital.

December 3, 2013
IndustryWeek, "Supply Chain & Logistics: Globalization Blues: Too Many Companies are Victimized by Their Own Supply Chains,"

Manufacturers need to get better at monitoring their global supply chain partners as they expand overseas.

December 3, 2013
Sourcing Innovation, "8 Key Design Considerations for Optimizing Your Demand Planning Process: Part I,"

Guest Blog post by The Hackett Group's Josh Peacher. "Demand Planning was once an overlooked element of supply chain management. However, more and more companies are beginning to understand how essential this component is to overall operational well-being. After all, a demand forecast is the genesis of the supply chain process. If poor demand signals are being sent through the system, it becomes extremely difficult to manage raw material and finished goods inventories, execute an efficient manufacturing process, effectively service customers, and ultimately drive an accurate financial forecast. So if your organization hasn't already taken a long, hard look at improving its demand planning process, it's time to begin. As a starting point for your journey, let's take a look at the 8 key design considerations for optimizing your demand planning process. In this first installment, we'll focus on the 4 most basic design considerations and then move to more advanced principals in the second installment..."

December 2, 2013
SSON, " What's the State of Technology in the Public Sector?,"

Recently President Obama complained of the deplorable state of technology within public sector institutions. But are the obvious problems of the Obamacare website representative of what's going on across higher education, healthcare, and government? And is the gap between the public and the private sector really as big as the President seemed to indicate?

November 25, 2013 (UK), Tackling late payment: An overdue consideration

Bylined article by The Hackett Group's Jennifer Pinney. "To effectively tackle late payments companies should first understand the real root cause of the issue."

November 22, 2013 (UK), Fix the roof while the sun is shining

Improvements to working capital became a strong focus for companies back in the credit squeezed aftermath of the financial crisis. But now research seems to indicate that some corporates have taken their eyes off the ball. With the sun soon to set on the era of cheap credit, is now the time for corporates to once again make working capital optimisation a business priority? European companies now have €762 billion tied up in excess working capital, according to recent research by REL Consultancy.

November 19, 2013
Tech Page One, " Global data disconnection holds back U.S. business,"

When the financial crisis reared in 2007, the resulting recession compelled many U.S. companies to reach beyond domestic borders to sell their products and services. With business flat at home, the high market growth rates of China, India and elsewhere presented a tantalizing opportunity to buffer the top line. Now, it appears this opportunity came with a hidden cost. According to a recent study by The Hackett Group, many newly-global companies are "flying blind," unable to quickly assess and analyze their performance in overseas markets to make needed changes in budgets, resource allocations or forecasts.

November 18, 2013
Wall Street Journal, "Firms reduced capital spending in the third quarter and kept adding to cash piles, signaling a lack of confidence,"

Investors sifting through third-quarter financial results should be a bit nervous about the future growth of the U.S. economy. Though corporate profits were higher overall, companies slashed their spending on factories, equipment and other performance-enhancing investments by 16% from year-earlier levels, according to an analysis by REL Consultancy for The Wall Street Journal. (Subscription Required)

October 29, 2013
In German. An interview with REL's Paul Moody on the working capital performance of private equity companies.

In German. An interview with REL's Paul Moody on the working capital performance of private equity companies.

October 26, 2013 (UK), £42bn tied up in inefficient working capital by 40 grocery retailers and suppliers

A staggering £42bn is tied up in "inefficient working capital" at the world's top 40 food and drink companies, according to consultants REL Consultancy, a division of The Hackett Group.

October 16, 2013
Sourcing Innovation, "Thought Innovation - Considerations for Supply Chain and Procurement in the Share Economy,"

A bylined article by The Hackett Group's Cuoie Ean Liv. "Disruptive trends continue to shift the business landscape and challenge longstanding operations. Disruptions come in many forms: natural disasters, raw material availability, factory and line down situations, but innovative and disruptive trends are often overlooked, in particular the share economy.The impact of these trends on supply chain and procurement is not the first to come to mind, however it is an integral part of evolving models to thrive in the future for the share economy."

October 8, 2013
Sourcing Innovation, "Building and Ground Maintenance Outsourcing: A Maturing Cost Reduction Trend That Requires a Disciplined Approach,"

A guest Blog post by The Hackett Group's Howard Gutman. "Many companies currently have their building and ground maintenance function (e.g. security, janitorial, and HVAC) managed by their own employees and/or a set of local suppliers for individual offices/ manufacturing sites. However, the success of companies such as AT&T and BMW, who have outsourced their building and ground maintenance function to integrated facilities management firms such as Jones Lang LaSalle and ABM, has caused many companies to question whether they should change their approach to the building and ground maintenance (BGM) function. Based on our recent client work, the outsourcing of BGM is an increasingly maturing trend across several industries but it requires a disciplined approach to develop an understanding of a company's current demand and specifications in order to maximize the overall savings opportunity."

October 2, 2013
Moneywatch, "DC's Broke: Companies Have Money -- and Lots of it"

As Washington dissolves into a writhing mess of fingers all pointing at someone else, the government has shut down. And things might only get worse over the federal debt ceiling negotiations, when the country literally could run out of cash to operate. What the public sector lacks, the private has in abundance. Many large corporations are allegedly awash in a sea of cash, and a recent tally claims that the Fortune 50 collectively has $800 billion in offshore profits that are not subject to federal income tax.

October 1, 2013
CFO, "Beware these Corporate Deadbeats,"

Some large U.S. companies had unusually high days payable outstanding (DPO) in their last reported financial quarter.

October 1, 2013
CFO, "Calm, Cool, Collected,"

How HVAC giant Lennox International transformed its credit and collections function.

September 13, 2013, "Millions More Back Office Jobs Head Overseas,"

Anyone who has spoken with a customer service rep in India or an IT help-desk person in the Philippines knows that huge numbers of American back office jobs have been shipped overseas. New research by The Hackett Group says the trend is far from over.

September 13, 2013
Personalwirtschaft (DACH), "What you do not measure, you cannot manage"

In German. For HR managers this year, standardization of processes, improving analysis techniques, and improving organizational culture are on the agenda.

August 27, 2013 (UK), "REL Working Capital Survey 2013"

Working capital has risen up the agenda of Europe's largest companies, but represents little more than a token effort, finds Richard Crump.

August 21, 2013
Purchasing Insight (UK), "Dramatic changes to the labor landscape for IT and finance people"

The fortunes could be mixed for Europeans working in IT and finance according to new research by The Hackett Group. Large companies in Europe are now losing over 130,000 jobs each year in these disciplines as well as in other key business services areas. This, The Hackett Group claims, is due to the combined impact of offshoring, technology-driven productivity improvements, and the low-growth business environment. While they reckon that the number of jobs being lost will decline over the next few years, they estimates that by 2017 nearly half of all back office jobs that existed at these companies in Europe in 2002 will have disappeared, a total loss of 1.9 million jobs.

August 2, 2013
Supply Chain Digest, "Supply Chain News: Inventory Performance 2013 Part 2,"

Part two of an annual analysis of 2012 inventory performance by sector, based on data from The REL Consultancy.

July 26, 2013
Supply Chain Digest, "Supply Chain News: Inventory Performance 2013"

Part one of an annual analysis of 2012 inventory performance by sector, based on data from The REL Consultancy.

July 22, 2013
Wall Street Journal, "What Are U.S. Companies Doing With Their Cash? Many Hold It Abroad"

Many big global companies keep three-quarters of their money outside of the U.S., one expert says. Some are stepping up search for M&A targets. (subscription required)

July 20, 2013
Daily Telegraph (UK), "Britain is playing catch-up to the US manufacturing boom"

Both nations remain in denial about the magnitude of the task ahead, and will soon have to start weaning themselves from years of extreme monetary methadone. But in one key respect the US has done far better: it is becoming the first Western nation to begin to reverse the slow, secular decline of its manufacturing sector.

July 9, 2013
Treasury & Risk, "How to Find Cash in Operations"

As debt gets more expensive, here's how to access cash locked up in inventory, receivables, and payables.

July 01, 2013
Purchasing Insight (UK), "Europe's working capital opportunity - a conversation with REL"

We have highlighted many times the challenges of working capital management. It's become a cliché to refer to the "perfect storm" - the combination of virtually zero interest rates and constrained liquidity that gives both cash rich, large businesses and cash strapped suppliers a headache. But every cloud has a silver lining. Better working capital management provides an opportunity and now, REL, the specialist working capital arm of The Hackett Group, has revealed the size of the prize, in Europe - a total of €762bn is tied up in excess working capital - equivalent to 6 per cent of EU GDP!

June 24, 2013
Treasury Today (UK), "The drive to improve working capital,"

Working capital management has risen up the agenda of large companies during the last year but they are still struggling to convert sales into cash, according to research by working capital consultancy REL. This insight includes a case study by Atlas Copco presented at the EuroFinance Singapore conference in May.

June 13, 2013
Euro Treasurer (DACH), "Treasurers Struggle to Convert Sales into Cash"

European companies are missing out on opportunities to generate cash. A total of EUR 762 billion is tied up in excess working capital at 800 of Europe's largest listed companies, according to consulting firm REL, a division of The Hackett Group.

June 12, 2013
CNBC Europe (UK), "Europe News European Firms 'Sitting on $1 Trillion' in Excess Capital,"

Europe's largest companies left 762 billion euros ($1 trillion) of working capital unused in 2012, the equivalent of 6 percent of the European Union's GDP, according to a report published on Wednesday by the REL Consultancy, a division of The Hackett Group.

June 8, 2013
New York Post, "US firms leave money on table: study,"

Corporate America is blowing cash, big time. Their opportunities to reap more profit from working capital expanded last year by a record $1 trillion, but many of the largest US public companies stumbled badly, according to a new study by REL Consultancy.

June 6, 2013
Working Capital Performance Deteriorates in 2012 As Opportunity at Largest U.S. Companies Now Tops $1 Trillion

The ability of companies to generate cash from operations deteriorated in 2012, as the opportunity for working capital improvement at 1000 of the largest U.S. public companies rose dramatically, topping $1 trillion for the first time, according to the 15th annual working capital survey from REL Consultancy, a division of The Hackett Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: HCKT), and CFO Magazine.

June 4, 2013
CFO, "Still Not Working,"

Working capital performance among large U.S. public companies has improved only marginally over the last two years, according to REL Consulting's annual survey.

June 1, 2013
Treasury & Risk Management, "Working Capital Management: There Goes the Rigor,"

From a corporate perspective, the dark clouds of the recession did have one silver lining: Companies improved their working capital performance. With revenue opportunities stalled, if not declining, organizations enhanced their working capital due diligence, growing margins by taking an ax to days sales outstanding, payables outstanding, and inventory. No sooner did the dark clouds disperse, however, than some companies went back to their old ways of mismanaging working capital, effectively letting go of the rigor. In their eagerness to land new customers, some companies extended payment terms and let inventory levels rise so that they would have enough product in the pipeline and on the shelves to satisfy percolating demand.

June 1, 2013
Treasury & Risk Management, "Back to the Grindstone on Working Capital Management,"

While the recession inspired big gains in the working capital metrics of U.S. companies in 2009 and 2010, since then progress has stalled, according to consultancy REL.

June 1, 2013
Treasury & Risk Management, "Supply Chain Finance Takes Off"

More and more companies are signing on for supply chain finance. The financial crisis is credited with encouraging companies to find ways to balance their need to take longer to pay their bills with their suppliers' need for cash, but the interest continues to grow even as the economy slowly picks up steam. REL's Dan Ginsberg offers insights.

May 31, 2013
Mining Weekly (SA), "SA mining houses' working capital performance improves,"

The overall working capital performance of the largest South African public mining companies improved in 2011/12 and remained near the best levels achieved in the past decade, according to research released earlier this month by global strategic business advisory and operations improvement consultancy The Hackett Group.

May 28, 2013
Wall Street Journal, "The Big Number: $565 Billion: Free-Cash Flow Falls at Big Companies,"

Companies have less cash available for debt reduction, acquisitions, innovation programs and dividend payments this year, says Dan Ginsberg, associate principal at REL Consultancy.

May 28, 2013
CFO Journal, "Capital Expenditures Jumped in 2012,"

Company capital expenditures reached their highest level in at least five years at the end of 2012, as more public firms used their cash and borrowing to fund growth, according to data from REL Consultancy.

May 14, 2013
Supply & Demand Chain Executive, "It's the Real Deal,"

While it hasn't resulted in the 'herd mentality' rush to offshore, returning manufacturing to the United States is gaining momentum... According to consulting firm The Hackett Group, reshoring is expected to become more viable with each passing year.

May 14, 2013
Supply & Demand Chain Executive, "After the Gold Rush,"

Editorial by Barry Hochfelder - While offshoring began decades ago in the 1960s, excited by the shiny gold lure of reduced labor costs, many U.S. manufacturers began a rush across the Pacific to take advantage of opportunities in China and other emerging markets. In what some observers described as a herd mentality, competitors tried to outdo each other establishing sites in Asia.

May 14, 2013
Treasury & Risk, "Better Benchmarking Equals Better Performance,"

Benchmarking is a popular way for companies to measure their performance, and technology is expediting the practice. For example, The Hackett Group now offers a dashboard that automatically pulls data out of a company's ERP system to track processes that a company is working to improve.

May 9, 2013
Spend Matters, "The Importance of Master Data,"

Guest Blog post by The Hackett Group Senior Consultant Andrew Solomon.

April 19, 2013
ComputerWorld, " U.S. firms say H-1B restrictions may help them,"

Placing restrictions on H-1B visa use by offshore companies might complicate things for them, but it won't change the global offshoring trends, according to The Hackett Group's Michel Janssen.

April 9, 2013
IndustryWeek, "Operations: Cost Reduction Strategies Steer Away from Outsourcing,"

Manufacturers are looking internally and to their supply chain for greater efficiencies. U.S. manufacturers are targeting a 1.5% reduction in the cost of goods sold in 2013, according to The Hackett Group's 2013 manufacturing cost optimization study. It will be driven in part by a planned 1.7% reduction in internal manufacturing costs.

April 4, 2013
CFO South Africa (SA) "Jonas Schöfer (The Hackett Group): Freeing up cash from working capital,"

The Hackett Group is a stalwart name in the international business world and has now come to South Africa "to free up working capital", says Jonas Schöfer. He believes that many large South African companies can free up between 10 and 30 percent of their working capital, just by improving the quality of their processes.

April 2, 2013
Maclean's, "America's economy is back,"

Cover Story: Jobs are returning, factories are humming - the U.S. economy is taking off. There's the growing trend of "reshoring," as manufacturers bring an end to the decades-long migration of jobs to China and other low-cost locales. In fact, according to consulting firm The Hackett Group, the tipping point has already been reached, with the inflow of manufacturing jobs now eclipsing the outflow.

April 1, 2013
Retail Leader, "Information Sharing - Brings Science to the Art of Collaboration,"

Transparency between retailers and manufacturers can produce tangible results at the register. The Hackett Group's Hanna Hamburger offers insights.

March 27, 2013
Financial Director (UK), "Model of instruction: Building a finance team,"

For Sky, the UK's leading home entertainment company and a client of The Hackett Group, creating the best finance team in Britain is a story of the accumulation of marginal gains.

March 25, 2013
Financial Director (UK), "Staying aloft through a product recall"

According to REL's Craig Bailey, the grounding of Boeing's Dreamliner is proving costly to the airplane manufacturer. Working capital management plays a key role in getting through such setbacks.

March 21, 2013 (FR) "Dans le monde du Capital Investissement, l'argent est Roi... mais souvent sur le court terme!"

Byliner by Adil Lahlou, in French, regarding working capital management in private equity held investments.

March 18, 2013
Wall Street Journal, "Shale-Gas Boom Alone Won't Propel U.S. Industry,"

Cheap energy flowing from the U.S. shale-gas boom is often touted as a "game changer" for manufacturing. Despite the benefits of lower energy costs, however, the game hasn't changed dramatically for most American manufacturers. The U.S. gas boom is adding another reason for manufacturers to consider making things in America, at least to supply the North American market, says Dave Sievers, a principal at The Hackett Group, a Miami-based consulting firm that advises manufacturers.

February 15, 2013
FINANCE-TV (DACH), "Finance vs HR,"

TV Interview in German with The Hackett Group's Michael Schnetzer covering the stagnant supply of talent in finance.

January 30, 2013
CFO Innovation Asia, " 'Borderless' Business Environments to Impact Productivity, Revenues,"

For 2013, the new "borderless" business environment will present the greatest opportunities to companies in IT, finance, HR and other business services areas, as companies strive to reduce costs and meet aggressive revenue projections, according to a new Enterprise Key Issues Study from The Hackett Group.

January 23, 2013
Associated Press, "Recession, Tech Kill Middle-Class Jobs,"

Five years after the start of the Great Recession, the toll is terrifyingly clear: Millions of middle-class jobs have been lost in developed countries the world over. And the situation is even worse than it appears. The Hackett Group, a consultant on back-office jobs, estimates 2 million of them in finance, human resources, information technology and procurement have disappeared in the U.S. and Europe since the Great Recession. It pins the blame for more than half of the losses on technology.

January 19, 2013
Economist, "What to do now: Shape Up,"

For offshored jobs to return, rich countries must now prove that they have what it takes.

January 19, 2013
Economist, "Reshoring Manufaturing: Coming Home,"

A growing number of American companies are moving their manufacturing back to the United States.

January 9, 2013
Purchasing Insight (UK), " Working capital management - 10 steps forward, 11 steps back,"

Happy New Year and welcome to Q1. Time to undo all the good work you did last quarter - and a little bit more. Let's hope the shareholders aren't paying attention. REL consultancy published some research last year that showed that on average businesses that play the year end game, on average improve their working capital by 10% in the last quarter of the year only to see it deteriorate by 11% in the following quarter.