Background and Challenges

A leading blood plasma donation network in Europe, part of a major pharmaceutical conglomerate, encountered significant challenges with declining performance at its donation centers. Faced with rising operational costs and dwindling donations, the company enlisted L.E.K. Consulting to identify and address the underlying issues, strategically overhaul their operations and secure their position as industry leaders. A critical part of this transformation involved shifting the organization from an intuition-led to a data-driven approach.


We adopted a comprehensive three-pronged analytical approach to address the client’s challenges and identify the true drivers of performance:

  1. Catchment analysis. We thoroughly examined the demographic and competitive environment surrounding more than 40 donation centers to pinpoint external factors influencing center performance.
  2. On-site analysis. Next, we conducted visits to various centers to uncover distinct operational challenges and categorize centers into four unique archetypes. This tailored analysis enabled customized improvement strategies for each center type.
  3. Machine learning (ML) analysis. Leveraging data from the catchment and on-site analyses, we employed ML techniques to determine key performance drivers and their optimal values. This phase not only quantified the impact of various factors on performance but also guided the development of a digital twin to simulate and optimize operational scenarios.

Finally, we synthesized insights from all analyses into a four-phase process to optimize each center’s performance: initial assessment and stabilization phases set the foundation, followed by iterative phases of targeted improvements and ongoing monitoring. The entire process was supported by a user-friendly dashboard, which the client is actively using for day-to-day optimization and new location evaluation.


“For the first time, it’s we who are on top of the internal performance leader boards, and thanks to our ML-based optimization approach we can underpin our turnaround story with great facts, root causes and arguments.” 

– CEO and parent company board member



  • Operational efficiency: Implementation of the new strategies led to a 40% reduction in unit costs at underperforming centers.
  • Strategic decision-making: The digital twin and enhanced data analytics enabled the client to effectively assess the donation potential and profitability of new locations, with nine new sites already evaluated for potential expansion.
  • Continuous improvement: Establishing a clear, actionable and performance-focused improvement process has equipped the company’s managers to make informed decisions based on robust data rather than intuition.


“We really needed your solution. With it, we are now able to make fact-based decisions on center optimization measures as well as new center locations within cities that are either new to us or where we had been unsuccessful over the years.” 



These strategic enhancements have not only addressed the immediate inefficiencies but have also positioned the client for long-term success, transforming them into a flagship within their conglomerate for operational excellence and strategic foresight.

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