The real need for Operations Consultants
Monday 20th June 2011 - By Leo Alarcon Share
The need to engage consultants in a business can come from several different sources, although sometimes consultants perform analysis work and tasks which could have easily been performed with available resources within the business, managers at times seek a different view and advice from consultants with a deeper knowledgebase than their own staff. Managers may only temporarily need a skill set or resources for a short period of time or a project with a finite life, consultants can provide this flexibility.
In the consulting business relationships are important from the consultant side more so than the management side, although keeping a business relationship with a well proven consulting firm and/or consultants is also valuable. At times managers can engage consultants without a real need for their work, but they do so in an effort to maintain both business and personal relationships with the consulting firm or specific consultants. This at times can be questioned as a waste of company funds on resources that are not really needed and management should always seek the best use of company and shareholder funds to deliver the best returns.
Consulting engagements within the operations of a business usually fall within three broad areas:
Business and Operations strategic decisions, such as capacity upgrades to production facilities, significant investment in plant and equipment, production contracting or toll production arrangements, product and service offerings including industry and market analysis.
Operations and process improvement, these projects and consulting work is around process analysis improving operational efficiencies, plant performance, setting work and quality standards with the use of specific consulting tools and frameworks.
Supply chain management , including the implementation and improvement of MRP systems, warehousing, inventory and distribution networks
Business and management will usually be faced with decisions or issues in these areas and will not always have the right knowledge, skill set or resources to solve the issues or problems presented to them. When management truly perceive these circumstances present in their businesses and operations then consultants have the potential to provide value to the business by enhancing management's ability to more efficiently tackle important issues.