Operating Model

Operational excellence, lean management, simplification, ebit recovery… there are many terms used to describe the search for a sustainable competitiveness, taken in hand by the teams and embedded in their reflexes. Gradually, the field of reflection has broadened, and the company’s entire operating model is being reconfigured to deliver value that is anchored in the long term, beyond cost reductions and expense control.

How we support our clients

At Kea, we are convinced that there is no sustainable business model without responsibility. With the acceleration of reflections on industrial relocation, circular economy, development of ecologically and socially responsible models, networking of resources… the movement towards “responsible competitiveness” is already underway in different ways by companies. To support this transformation and maximize its impact, we have developed an approach based on the “Positive Operating Model”, which reconciles responsibility and competitiveness:

  • Responsibility: imagine, create, and sell responsibly, in a more sustainable and local way, according to a new approach to value, performance and collaboration within value chains

  • Competitiveness: develop agile and optimized operating models towards complete costs (R&D, purchasing, production, sales and distribution, recycling, reuse and obsolescence costs) 

Based on these convictions, we help our clients (in all sectors, in France and abroad) to achieve significant and lasting performance gains, whether in a context of a sudden drop in sales or strong growth. To achieve these results in record time and to anchor them in the long term, we rely on the teams of Arkos, a Kea Group company specializing in large-scale deployments.

"The essence of competitiveness is released when we make people understand that what they think and do is important"

Our know-how


Reinventing yourself in the face of new market rhythms

A revolution in traditional marketing and sales activities

Digitalization has imposed a new, much faster pace, while increasing consumer demands (new customer paths, easier comparison, etc.) and bringing out new competitors that challenge traditional business models. Marketing and sales departments must constantly reinvent themselves to face new challenges: innovation, user experience, exploitation of customer data, real-time customer relations, omnichannel customer journeys…

it creates new responsibilities and revolutionizes traditional activities. Whether it’s a shift to more agile marketing or the activation of sales transformation levers, we help our clients exploit all opportunities to ”enhance” their marketing and sales functions.

Our marketing and business projects

The marketing and sales managers we meet tell us about their desire to develop more innovative offers (incremental or disruptive innovation), whether on the ideation, design or marketing: design the right offer, at the right time, for the right target, reduce the time-to-market and build an effective go-to-market.

Our clients are also often faced with the challenge of optimizing their business model and organization: we support them in the search for growth or maximization of profitability at iso-organization level, in the preparation for market and customer needs evolutions, and in the alignment of the business strategy with the global strategy.

Reduction of time-to-market in the Marketing Department of a logistics company

Faced with a constant decline in activity and rapid market renewal, our client called Kea to transform its marketing method for designing offers. After having acculturated the teams to Agile, we co-built an Agile Marketing method adapted to their specificities, allowing to divide the time-to-market by three

Definition of a Commercial Excellence program for a cosmetics company

With the objective of resuming growth, Kea assisted the sales teams in identifying program levers: redesigning customer segmentation, defining go-to-markets, organizational changes, setting up new governance and management rituals, and dealing with the daily irritants of the sales force


A purchasing function affected on all sides by market changes

An economic, ethical, and ecological transformation

Eco-design, smart contracts, IoT, blockchain, consumer pressure, international regulations, ecological and social crisis… the future of Purchasing is taking shape through multiple changes. Its role within companies will largely depend on its ability to transform itself. As a key function of the company, Purchasing is also a major point of application for the evolution towards greater responsibility.

Moreover, due to its position at the heart of the ecosystem (partners, experts, suppliers, customers), Purchasing has the potential to go beyond the simple role of accompanying the transformation, becoming the key player who drives the rest of the company. We accompany our clients throughout this triple evolution (ethical, ecological, and economical), going far beyond strict compliance with new regulations.

Our projects on responsible purchasing topics

With 20 years of experience, the Kea & Partners teams support purchasing functions in the various challenges of their responsible transformation: sustainable control of costs, risks and externalities, search for competitive advantage (eco-design, new markets, etc.), development of synergies with the ecosystem and the local economic fabric.

Repositioning the purchasing function as a player in the FMCG sector

Kea has supported the positioning of purchasing as the concrete stronghold of a large group’s CSR strategy, repositioning its added value, searching for new sources of performance (beyond financial) and overhauling working methods with stakeholders

Development of responsible sourcing for a player in the clothing sector

Kea has defined a new vision for purchasing, integrating the challenges of responsibility: definition of “green” sourcing criteria, working closely with stakeholders to define a green offer, relocation of sourcing to nearby imports


Digital intelligence and the profusion of technologies: sources of opportunity and optimism for operations

Future operations are a future-oriented field of strategic opportunities


Operations are undergoing multiple transformations: the rise of mass customization, the development of “make and buy” and ecosystems, agility, the emergence of a data and services supply chain, the rise of CSR issues… New technologies are contributing to the deep changes underway in the industry, even when the focus must be on usage.

Above all, they offer a range of opportunities that go beyond the issue of competitiveness, by allowing to capture new growth potential while promoting more responsible approaches. For each player in the industry, it is a question of finding the right approach to anticipate and prepare the future of operations rather than suffer them. We are committed to support our clients in this complex, global transformation, which affects vision, production systems, skills, and management methods.

Our projects on the operations of the future

Our clients ask us about a variety of issues: what industrial and supply chain ecosystems should be built for tomorrow? Which technological opportunities should we bet on and invest in now? How can we simultaneously manage the current legacy and an accelerated digital transformation? We leverage our triple expertise (business, technology, and transformation) as well as our multidisciplinary ecosystem, which gives us access to a wide range of innovations, technologies and use cases, to find answers to these questions in a co-construction approach with our clients.

Designing the future factory model in the cosmetic industry

Kea assisted the CODIR in defining a long-term industrial vision, translated into guidelines for the factory of the future and an Industry 4.0 roadmap. This exercise has helped to address the challenges of saturation of infrastructure and equipment, the lack of visibility on long-term developments in cosmetics production, and the challenges of improving performance

Digitalizing the operational strategy (industry 4.0) of a Tier 1 subcontractor of the aeronautical industry

Our intervention consisted in identifying and formalizing the key issues and priority objectives, designing the transformation roadmap, sourcing high value-added start-ups, and supporting the implementation of the transformation plan. We also deployed a cultural transformation approach to facilitate the appropriation of digital culture


A return to the fundamentals of Lean for sustainable objectives

3 out of 4 companies do not really progress in the long term with Lean


Process approach, business process reengineering, lean management… so many methods were praised in recent years to improve performance and operational excellence. But at a time when competitiveness has become the leitmotiv of companies, they are finding that the effects are not always up to expectations.

Although these initiatives have produced results (20- 30% cost reduction), 3 out of 4 companies consider that they have not made real progress over time.

All these approaches have in common a top-down deployment of standards, practices, processes, and procedures, “another one topic” in competition with other company issues (quality improvement, customer satisfaction, etc.).

This is yet another issue that is struggling to mobilize teams to maintain a dynamic of continuous progress over time and throughout the organization. To address this type of issue, Kea & Partners has developed a ”lean for value” approach that looks for 3 complementary values: customer value (customer satisfaction, processing times, service quality, once & done), shareholder value (productivity, costs, quality, deadlines, capacity utilization, time to market) and team value (job mastery, elimination of irritants, accident rate, motivation).

Our Lean & Operational Excellence projects

The projects carried out with our clients on this type of subject aim to increase the ratio of value to energy spent by combining these three types of value (client, shareholder, team). To achieve this, we focus on implementing 3 major cultural shifts:

  • Developing an obsession with value, beyond the pursuit of excellence

  • Convincing people that progress is always possible, beyond the achievement of performance

  • Making the manager a coach, beyond the role of pilot and control

Lean approach & cost rationalization for a cosmetics company

Faced with a slowdown in growth despite an organization that continued to expand, our client called on Kea to drive a Lean approach, optimize costs and regain agility within its organization. For each of the functions, Kea accompanied the diagnosis and the construction of a detailed plan to reach these objectives

Large-scale deployment of Lean Management at a railway company

Kea helped define management practices related to Lean and change management, call managers to action and define a deployment standard to support the deployment in all regions. In the end, 100% of the managers were able to deploy, with 50 local and regional facilitators of the approach trained in the methodology


A 360° approach to EBIT recovery

Short-term results, with cultural shifts for a long-term dynamic
The life of a company is sometimes made up of market reversals that require a significant turnaround in EBIT: declining business, rising costs, increased competition, and pressure on sales prices, increasing need for agility in a changing market….

When we help our clients overcome these situations, we focus on management commitment, employee buy-in and mobilization, through a systemic approach addressing both sales and costs (customers, sales and channels, supply chain, sourcing, product development, industrial footprint, and support functions), with particular attention to preventing of social tensions and the ability to finance EBIT recovery measures with available cash.

Our Ebit Recovery projects

We support our clients in their international Ebit Recovery projects. Our objective? To bring double value: quantified results and cultural change for a dynamic anchored in the long term. For us, the challenge is to develop a sustainable competitiveness by enabling teams to make a difference and create the right reflexes. Discover here all the ingredients of our approach.

EBIT Recovery program in the agri-food industry

Faced with volatile raw material prices, a stagnant market and factories that had trouble being profitable, our client asked Kea to structure its competitiveness plan. With a cost reduction plan, new pricing policies, and an overhaul of purchasing processes, the program generated €30 million savings in 24 months

Recovery plan for an aerospace plant

In a situation of hypergrowth and hefty investments, our client asked Kea to reverse the trend of a deteriorating EBIT and quality. After a diagnosis, the structuring and implementation of the recovery plan with the site’s teams allowed the EBIT to increase from -3% to +4% of the turnover per month over a year


Towards a sustainable business rebound

Reconciling restructuring and responsibility

In a very short period, the company’s situation can change and weaken the entire business, despite its healthy foundations. Kea’s commitment through its “Entreprise à mission” and B Corp labels is to respond to this type of difficult, sometimes brutal challenge and to help its clients develop their resilience with 3 strong convictions:

the definition of a target to be reached that is both sustainable and desirable, a way of operating with responsibility alongside the COMEX and managers, and a start from the very first day to put the activity under control.

Our responsible approach to restructuring (to be discovered here) aims to support the company at the right level, according to its current situation, by reconciling:

  • The need for security and stabilization in the short term, through targeted actions

  • The need to preserve one’s ability to rebuild on one’s strengths for lasting results

  • The balance of value between customers, employees, shareholders, and the ecosystem

Our restructuring projects

With 20 years of experience in business transformation, we offer responsible and innovative solutions to our clients who face restructuring issues, as close as possible to the challenges faced by employees, thus contributing to our mission: “undertake transformations for a desirable economy”.

Restructuring of an equipment firm

Kea supported the recovery and transformation of the company, securing a return to the fundamentals (clarification of positioning, control of costs, etc.) and managing the transformation through the deployment of a step-by-step work method

Restructuring project for a real estate developer

Kea accompanied this promoter through a diagnosis leading to a cost structure optimization plan. Beyond the restructuring, we contributed to the definition of a new project for the future, to face a 40% decrease of activity