Picking The Right Consultant

Picking The Right Consultant

By: Jim Gitney   |     August 25, 2010

Over the last few years, cutbacks have significantly reduced the level of expertise in many areas. Most companies are using more and more temporary resources for their business needs in all areas of their business. This is more cost effective and provides a company the ability to strategically acquire special resources when needed. But, how do you effectively manage that process? You need to find a consulting company that has the ability to become your service provider across multiple disciplines and be with you through the entire project. All companies have outside CPA/audit firms, legal firms, insurance firms, etc. who have broad expertise in their functional disciplines.

In manufacturing, operations and distribution, your company should also have a “go to resource” that you can rely on to get help in marketing, manufacturing, sales, product development, etc. There are companies out there who have that capability.

There are several business issues a company comes across where outside resource makes a lot of sense. They include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Updating your business strategy
  • Planning and implementing new processes and procedures for growth
  • A new project that needs a top notch project manager
  • Launching a new product in a new market or channel of distribution
  • You have come across a problem you have never encountered before
  • Implementing a Continuous Improvement Program
  • Re-engineering business processes
  • Your existing team just isn’t getting it done and you need more horsepower on a temporary basis
  • People in your organization aren’t focused on or accountable to your strategic priorities

How often have you been faced with the difficult choice of finding a consultant to work on a project? It is usually a result of a reference from a colleague, or from the advice of your boss or someone else in your network such as your CPA firm or your attorney. Maybe you just received a brochure from a local company and the timing is impeccable. You should strive to find a consulting company who you can develop a relationship with, and who can be your “go to” firm.

Our experience is that a specific project usually involves finding solutions in various areas of your business. Seldom does the project being worked on have only one business process that is being affected. When trying to find the right strategic planning consulting company to work with, it is critical that you look for some key indicators of that company’s capabilities.
Here are some helpful hints that you should look for:

  • Breadth of experience in the project scope. Has this company done projects in your industry and do they have people with experience in your problem?
  • The quality of the consultants available for the project
  • Ability to bring multiple disciplines to bear on a project
  • Results of previous projects through examples and references
  • Quality of responses and proposal: both verbal and written
  • Cultural fit

Cultural fit is an important issue to deal with. You are asking a consultant to come in and work with your team to identify and implement a solution. The consultant(s) who work on a project need to be able to work closely with your team and, when finished with their work, ensure that your team is capable of carrying on the work.

When considering who to engage, the proposal is the most important document you have to work with. The proposal needs to clearly identify the expected outcomes of the project. It is important that the scope of project details the activities and milestones that the consultant(s) and the company will be measured by. The Scope of project will outline what resources are required from the client and the consulting company. It will also summarize the areas of investigation and the expected outcomes of that effort and the time-frame outlined for the project, along with its cost. Agreement to the scope of project is critical, because it will be the basis for how good everyone feels at the end of the project.

Once you have made a decision to bring external resources in, make sure the project timeline includes routine reviews of project progress. Make each review a payable. This ensures both parties that the deliverables are being met and that there are no major changes in scope or direction.

Once you have found a corporate strategy execution consulting company that meets these requirements, you can pretty much be assured that you will get what you need on an ongoing basis making your outsourcing decisions less hassle and your success rate much higher.

About Group50 Consulting:
Group50 Consulting has more than 20 consultants who have spent over 20 years of their careers in corporate America. Our consulting practices are focused on speed, quality, cost, productivity and growth. Our expertise is manufacturing and distribution. Group50 Consulting provides high level project resources that have experience in the issues that are keeping you up at night. We have the resources and areas of expertise to complete an entire project. We provide consultants for individual projects, interim/part time executives and board members/advisors. Find out about us and our focus on strategic execution here. You can request more information here, or call (909) 949-9083.

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This entry was posted in Manufacturing and Distribution, Organizational Development, Strategy 5.0, on August 25, 2010

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