Operations consulting is a field of management consulting which specializes in devising operational and business strategies to solve operational, supply chain, and efficiency problems within different industries. Operations consultants use many of the concepts, techniques and thought processes explained throughout this site on operations management, supply chain management and lean manufacturing to solve the problems they are presented with. For an example of consulting frameworks and tools: Operations consulting tools.
Operations consulting is carried out by specialist consultants employed by major management consulting firms, some accounting firms, and boutique specialist firms.
Some consulting firms specialize in just pure business strategy or strategic forces analysis and strategic planning; others just in operations consulting including lean manufacturing consulting, but lately the big strategic firms have also started consulting in operational projects.
It is important to note that the level of expertise, quality of advice, and depth of knowledge will depend not on the brand name of the consulting firm but on the quality of the consultants, their experiences working for real businesses, having had line role management experience, and exposure to different industries in their careers not only as consultants.
Operations consulting areas and projects
-Plant and machinery efficiencies and OEE improvements
- Production waste and downtime improvements
- Lean initiatives
- Capacity planningand capital expenditure projects
- Capacity utilization and capacity management
- Production planning and line balancing
-Warehousing and inventory management
- Maintenance and engineering support to plants including TPM
-Product quality, quality management, and six sigma initiatives
-Production and inventory costs control
- Supply chain management
Among other different process and operational challenges faced by managers.
Operations consulting process
As a business manger when expert help is needed. Due to a lack of available expertise among the management team or when it is deemed necessary to have third party input into the management process it is recommended to follow a structured approach to the engagement of consulting services such as the following:
-Definition of the current situation, problem statement, and desired situation and goals by the management team. A SWOT analysis can also be performed on the firm or operation in this stage.
-Selection of consulting firm and team that best suits the level of expertise and depth of knowledge required
-Consulting team briefing and introduction to the business or operational area where they will be working including scope setting of the consulting engagement and team formation
-Data collection and analysis, this may include interaction with employees by tools such as employee surveys and different stakeholders including process evaluation with tools such as process flow charts
-Develop draft solutions through analysis and application of operational and lean concepts and techniques
-Presentation of draft solutions to management and employees
-Preparation of final solution, performance management KPI's and execution schedule
-Implement execution schedule and collect data on changes or project execution
-Prepare final report, findings and learnings from the consulting engagement
Operations consulting just like any management consulting engagement can deliver tangible results if the management team follow a general engagement process and dedicate time to working with the consulting team in order to deliver the required results.
More lean concepts and terms