EY: delivering expert advice to supply chain firms in China

EY: delivering expert advice to supply chain firms in China

Considered one of the “Big Four” consultancy companies worldwide, EY is certainly well renowned in the supply chain and manufacturing space.

Offering guidance on best-practice supply chain strategies, EY has grown significantly over the past decade. Rodrigo Cambiaghi, Asia-Pacific & Greater China Supply Chain and Operations Leader of EY, has been with the company since 2012 in several different roles and has experienced the firm’s growth first-hand. “11 years ago, we weren’t operating a consulting arm so we decided to rebuild it,” he explains. “Since then, it’s been an incredible journey — we grew $11bn in 11 years.”

Born in Brazil before moving to Germany after college, Cambiaghi’s career path has taken him worldwide. “Germany was where my supply chain career started and I worked for large automotive OEMs to define their global manufacturing strategy. After a few years, I moved into consulting,” he says. From there, Cambiaghi’s career took him further into Europe and then onto Canada. “Together with some friends, I started a boutique consulting firm that had a client portfolio of fast-growing global corporations. The reach and complexity of our clients forced us to scale quickly and to branch into different markets, one of those being the United States,” explains Cambiaghi. “My role was to establish and grow the business in the North American market and we became successful quite quickly. In 2012, we got an offer to sell the business to EY so I initially joined the organisation through acquisition and I’ve been here ever since.” 

With such a diverse background, Cambiaghi now operates in China as well as across all regions in Asia-Pacific and possesses a deep understanding of what it means to be successful in different markets. He points to the several differences across main global markets and the uniqueness of running supply chains in China. “China offers a vibrant and diverse consumer market that requires strong customer-centricity and innovative business models that now can be enabled by advanced technologies,” he says. “Supply chains have always been important in China but the complexity of the environment has changed. China has become a vast market with high growth and a lot of emerging technology at its disposal. It’s clear that speed is the greatest differentiator in China; starting with the speed to serve consumers and clients all the way on how transform its partners landscape and internal operations with technology.” Due to the acceleration of new technologies and the existing global economic and political landscape, an increasing number of companies are turning to consultancies like EY for advice on how to set up a successful transformation agenda for the years to come. Cambiaghi affirms technology has become paramount to success industry-wide and beyond. “Technology is reshaping every business in all industries,” he says. “From how you establish your sourcing and manufacturing platforms, to driving efficiency from manufacturing sites through automation or harnessing data, all the way to distribution connectivity and real-time visibility. Everything has been impacted by technology and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. The end-to-end supply chain is where most of the companies generate their competitive advantage through new technologies available today that we didn’t have a few years ago.”

With customer requirements subject to frequent change, consultancies such as EY must remain prepared to respond. “What consultancies like us bring is the ability to work with companies to reshape their strategy and then successfully transform their operations for today’s business needs,” says Cambiaghi. “We have been investing heavily on the development of digital assets that speed up the transformation process for our clients. Those assets can leverage advanced technology to quickly analyse the client’s data and therefore provide more granular and specific feedback in early stage of the transformation journey. Companies turn to us to provide that market perspective and see what’s going on in the industry and beyond, but they also want things that can be fixed today without waiting for a broader transformation to happen. For this challenge, we have highly experienced people with industry knowledge working for us. Having the right balance is the secret.”

With the importance of retaining the right staff just as crucial as recruiting, EY has around 270,000 employees globally and Cambiaghi believes that talent management is at the heart of EY. “We have a large talent pool and people are at the core of our business. You’re only as successful as the people who work for you and we’re extremely proud that we’re recognised as a top employer in all the markets,” he says. “Our values are aligned to the market and our brand not only showcases a trusted organisation but also innovation. We’re able to attract the best talent because of the opportunities we have for our people to grow.” The size of EY’s supply chain talent workforce doubles every eight to nine months in countries like China, a statistic that Cambiaghi is delighted with. “Today’s market conditions are perfect because there’s a lot of room for growth in our business,” affirms Cambiaghi. “Talent is what we’re looking for and it’s everyone’s job. In China, I’m pleased how quickly we’ve built such a strong reputation and brand in the market because it allows us to attract and retain top talent. It’s part of our DNA.”

Having formed key strategic business relationships with Microsoft, Stratasys, JDA and SAP, partnerships are a key focus area for Cambiaghi. “A company such as EY, which has the ambition to not only serve leading companies but also transform them too, we understand that we can only do this by having an ecosystem of good partners. Our strategy is to find partners that can complement our services and way of doing business,” he explains. “We’re a trusted advisor for large organisations’ transformations and are taking them on a journey to transform and upscale their strategy and business model with technology at the forefront. Our relationship with Microsoft provides that level of trust from a technology perspective because they’re well aligned to meet our culture, values and how we drive relationships in the market to deliver better value to our clients.”

“Stratasys is a leading company in 3D printing and their solutions and ability to transform companies through additive manufacturing is outstanding. We don’t just advise companies on what exists in the market today, but we also consider what comes next. Stratasys has been an important part of driving differentiation in areas like product development and manufacturing,” affirms Cambiaghi. “JDA and SAP are also both key components of our ecosystem because they allow our clients to leverage leading solutions in the most effective way possible. Partnerships are crucial to us but it needs to be right. There needs to be that alignment of value and how we see the market in order to establish a recipe for mutual long-term success.” 

Looking to the future, EY has consolidated its global knowledge and experience into a supply chain reinvention framework which Cambiaghi affirms is becoming a global standard for companies looking to transform their supply chain. “We’re extremely connected worldwide and that allowed us to come up with such an impactful value proposition. It not only brings leading practices by sectors, but also real solutions that can be a differentiator on how transformations are strategised and executed. As we bring these solutions to our global cloud platform it enables every local market to use it consistently unleashing a vast opportunity for benchmarks and insights for our clients” he explains. “Our Supply Chain Reinvention framework is also very comprehensive. It covers aspects of value chain intelligence and how to obtain and leverage data from the extended value chain; through the strategic architecture of the entire supply chain in areas like supply chain segmentation and strategy, integrated operating model and supply chain network and trade flow optimisation. It also goes all the way to the core of supply chain operations excellence and aspects related to the supply chain resilience like circular economy, supply chain risks and sustainability. It’s extremely comprehensive.”

With a drive to maintaining its position at the fore of the consulting space, Cambiaghi understands the necessity of continuing to thrive in the supply chain space long-term through collaboration with clients. “It’s clear there’s lots happening in all industries and having a trusted and experienced partner to rely on when needed is paramount for all senior executives today,” adds Cambiaghi. “That’s why our strategy is to continue to be the most trusted and distinctive professional service organisation in order to support our clients to achieve their strategic objectives for their supply chains in Asia and across the globe.”