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Lean Banking Can Transform Your Institution. Don’t ignore it.

Let’s start with the great news – financial institutions that are leveraging Lean banking operations achieve up to 30% cost reduction within 2 years, and are maintaining cost-efficient operations better than the average in the industry.
Lean processes are being adopted globally by organizations prone to inefficiency that are negatively affecting their earnings.

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The Savvy Structure and Approach to the Top 3 Dimensions in Managing a Consulting Project

The Savvy Structure and Approach to the Top 3 Dimensions in Managing a Consulting Project

“A good plan can help with risk analyses, but it will never guarantee the smooth running of the project.” – Bentley and Borman

Managing a Consulting project is like being a conductor. You direct the performance of all the orchestra players into producing their best. But what does that mean, really? Let’s have a more analytical look at the various parts and the roles of each player.
The first step is always to define how you will organize to manage the project.

Staff your Consultancy

A project usually starts with defining your Project Needs. The definition of the needs also called Requirements, is the first, and one of the most valuable steps in the process of procuring goods and services.
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1. Project Management Structure and Approach –
When you are ready to launch a major project internally, these are the main steps you will take.
You define the scope, appoint a project leader, secure the resources, and prepare the work plan. You also define the governance of the project, including the Steering Committee and the main milestones. In other words, you organize to do the work and to steer the project.

Consulting services are intangible – It’s important to keep that in mind, and managing a project is a crucial part of the process to obtain the results you expect. The intangibility of the service coupled with the volatility of the business environment, makes it highly improbable that a project will unfold just as expected. Plus, the longer it is, the more likely it is to change.
The importance of governance – The governance defined for the project should be part of the proposal and the contract signed by the winning consultant. Outsourcing a significant share of the work to external resources doesn’t change the fact the project is important if you decided to allocate funds to it.

Most Consulting projects consist of 3 main dimensions that must be well managed to secure its success:

Managing Stakeholders
Managing the Project
Managing Change

 

2. Managing Key Players & Effective Communication –
Once you project governance is organized, your next move is to make sure that you align the Key Stakeholders. You need to get the key players on board with the project. This initiative can take various forms. However, it always starts with why you launched the project and what benefits you expect for the business. Change practitioners would refer to it as the rationale for change. As there isn’t always an imminent change associated with a consulting project, we could refer to it as a rationale for the project.
Have they understood what you are trying to accomplish, and do they agree on the principles? Even if they may have doubts, are you sure that they will support the approach and provide what is needed from them? It may sound obvious, but a lot of projects are failing at this stage. A new executive decides to launch a project but does not embark the other members of the management team and ends up quite alone when execution time comes.
Communication with the Key players is quite important throughout the project.
Whether they are senior executives that should be aware and supportive of the approach or contributors that will have a role to play in the course of the project, this communication needs to articulate why the project is launched, what are the objectives and what is expected from the various stakeholders.
Your communication has to be aspirational and motivate people to act and contribute.
3. Project Management – Aim for the Best Practices –
Once the stakeholders are aligned and supportive, you need to put in place classic project management best practices, and address at least the work to be done, the role of the project members, and the governance for the project.
A work plan is usually a good place to start.
The foundation for any good project management is to break down the work to be able to deliver what the project is supposed to. The work plan also provides a backbone for structuring the activities and monitoring if everything is unfolding according to plan. Complex projects can require detailed project planning and interdependency management. For most projects a critical path analysis showing the various workstreams and associated milestones should suffice.
4. Planning the Different Phases –
You will very often start with a phase of information gathering, then phase of analysis, a series of meetings with the client, and the development of the report to be presented in the Steering Committee. When working on a consulting project, ask to review the detailed work plan in the early stages of the project and come back to it regularly.
The work plan should be associated with a breakdown of the resources required during each phase to complete the work successfully.
5. Roles and Responsibilities within the Teams –
Let’s see who is supposed to do what. You can usually identify two teams within the project. The client’s team and the consultant’s. Even though both teams have to work together efficiently, the roles of the various team members can differ significantly.

Roles within the consulting team –

Within a consulting team, you usually have a pyramidal set-up. At the top you will find the relationship partner. Then you will find a production partner, a project manager, and junior consultants. Depending on the size of the project the activities can be combined through fewer individuals, but the roles remain.
For small projects, this role and the principal’s role are often merged. Consultants are handling the heavy lifting during a consulting project. Performing interviews, handling quantitative analysis, formalizing the deliverables, etc.
Teams can be made of consultants or analysts, depending on the firm’s set-up. Experts are brought into projects to provide specific expertise on a given topic. They are usually spotted resources on the project and intervene only during interviews and workshops.
Note that Experts often serve as differentiators during the proposal stage and do not necessarily contribute afterward.
Now let’s make sure that your set-up as a client enables efficient management of the project.

Roles within the client team –

In the client’s team, you often have a budget owner that funds the project and a sponsor, a senior Executive that endorses the work. These two roles can be merged, especially on small or scope-limited projects.
The daily team is made of a project manager, responsible for the daily progress of the project in close connection with the consulting team and Project Stakeholders, individuals interested directly or indirectly in the results of the project. They can be contributors or those that just need to be informed.
6. The Effective Governance Model –
Most consulting projects have two governance bodies: one to drive the day-to-day activities of the project and one to steer the project and make major decisions.
The Steering Committee is the project’s ultimate decision-making body. It provides direction, support, and oversight as the project progresses. You should gather those main stakeholders that are real decision-makers. Don’t include too many people. It might be tempting to involve all the people impacted by the project to keep them informed, but the project would quickly become ungovernable.
The president of the Steering Committee is, most of the time the sponsor of the project, and the organizer is the internal project manager. In other words, don’t let the Consultants manage the Steering Committee. They have to support the internal project manager, not the other way around.
Five members for your average project seem to be reasonable. But the optimal number will depend on the size and the nature of the project.
Indeed the same applies to Steering Committees! They work better when there is a more cohesive environment.
The Project Management Committee is usually a recurring meeting between the client team and the consulting team. Frequency is often weekly but can vary depending on the nature of the projects.
7. Successful Change Management –
The third important dimension for effective project management is change management. This dimension is often overlooked or underestimated. Even today, a lot of people tend to believe that effective communication will do the trick. If we develop it, they will use it. If we teach them, they will buy-in. Well, things are a little more complicated.
The first step when looking at change management is to anticipate why change can be difficult. Depending on your project, people can refuse to accept the conclusion or passively resist the implementation of the new Customer Relationship Management system.
So place yourself in the shoes of the impacted stakeholders and try to anticipate why they would be resisting. They might be anxious about the security of their job, could have a feeling that their power within the organization will reduce or that the project will challenge their legacy.
For long projects with a significant change dimension, include change reinforcing elements in your communication. For instance, you can communicate on early successes and progress. It will help to keep the momentum.
Most consulting projects are going beyond pure transactional activities and will include a human dimension. Even though you want to keep your distance with your providers, you also need to maintain a close collaboration with the consulting team, to be able to discuss any topics and issues and take prompt action.

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Why Focus on the Roles Within Your Team Can Ensure the Project’s Success?

Why Focus on the Roles Within Your Team Can Ensure the Project’s Success?

“No matter what accomplishments you make, somebody helped you.” – Althea Gibson

A project usually starts with defining your Project Needs. The definition of the needs also called Requirements, is the first, and one of the most valuable steps in the process of procuring goods and services. However, the procurement requirements for goods are mainly focused on the specifications of the products. For Consulting, the background of the company, the context of the project, the scope, and the deliverables are equally important.

Measure your Performance

ompanies that have implemented a Category Management System were able to make breakthrough savings (10-30%) …
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1. Defining the Project Needs –

The whole point is to make sure the consultants have all the elements to submit a relevant proposal. Writing well-defined requirements is the cornerstone of a successful consulting project.
Unfortunately, too many companies are leaving the definition of the work in the hands of their consultants. If you have troubles sleeping, will you go directly to the store to shop for a new bed? Of course not. You would end up with the largest bed in the store with all the gadgets, but your sleeping problem might still be there, unresolved. You need first to review all the other options.
It’s somehow the same when you start defining your needs with a consultant. They will tend to paint your problem with their capabilities and experiences or to make it fit the resources they have available.
2. Clearly identify your problem –

Working internally to define your problem, and identify what could be the best option is key to invite the right consultants to the discussion. It doesn’t mean that your requirements are final. You are just optimizing the chances that the project you are launching will fix the issues you are facing.
When procuring Consulting Services, the requirements are always dependent on the internal and external context of the company. Besides, the definition of what you expect and why is a key success factor for the project. It is always a good idea to formalize your requirements into an RFP, even though you don’t necessarily want or need to organize a tender.

3. Delegating the roles within the team –

Even before you start brainstorming ideas, and envision your ideal outcome, you need to make sure that the right people are in the room. And to build the right team.
Depending on the magnitude of the project, you can adapt the size of your team to it. However, here are a few roles that need to be included:

Number 1 – The Project Sponsor

The Project Sponsor is the person (often a manager or an executive) that will be accountable for the project. S/he will make sure that the project delivers the expected outcomes, and will champion the project to “sell” it within the project team and the organization. S/He will also be the chair of the Steering Committee.
The Project Sponsor has the right authority and decision-making power to lead the project effectively. S/he is also directly impacted by the project outcomes.
Usually, the project sponsor owns the budget. However, in some companies, consulting budgets are centralized under the CEO, Finance, or Strategy. In this case, you might want to invite the budget owner to the party as well

Number 2 – The Project Manager

The Project Manager is the person that has the daily accountability of the project. S/he will guide the consultants and make sure they work under the right conditions with the teams and deliver the expected results in time.
S/he is very often part of the Project Sponsor Team and is impacted directly by the project

Number 3 – The Procurement Leader

Unless you are working on a very small project and you have already a list of potential provides handy, you want to have someone from Procurement in the room. Sourcing the right candidates can take some time, and it is sometimes useful to start early in the process.
Besides, procurement managers are experts in defining needs and preparing bids, while it is rarely the case for the rest of the organization. They can facilitate your work and guide you through the process.
Many companies, however, don’t have the critical mass to have someone dedicated to consulting procurement. In that case, you can include in your team the person in charge of indirect procurement or the Head of Purchasing.

Number 4 – The Main Stakeholders

We mentioned that the project sponsor and the project manager are often part of the same team. However, their department might not be the only one impacted by the project. Ask yourself if you should expect a strong impact on or a profound change in interfaces with another part of the organization. If that’s the case, it can be a good idea to involve them at the requirements stage.
If your project is very large, like a Company-wide Transformation project, you might also want to involve Finance and Strategy, to make sure that it is aligned with the overall strategy.
When you have the right team at work, you can start brainstorming.
 
 
 

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4 Key Areas of Category Management

4 Key Areas of Category Management

“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” – Benjamin Franklin

Category Management should always have two main objectives.

Generating savings, but more importantly,
Maximizing value creation

Let’s discuss how Category Management is the perfect lever for bringing your consulting procurement to the next level.

Measure your Performance

If you worry about team performance, the risks, and the issues associated with a Consulting project, you are totally right…
Read More

Companies that have implemented a Category Management System were able to make breakthrough savings (10-30%) and noted improvements in supplier performance, internal client satisfaction, supplier relationships, and visibility on spending.
The problem however is, that Consulting is rarely managed as a category, but rather as part of the indirect procurement together with Travel and Insurance. In some case, Consulting is folded in the professional services category.
But there is a much better way to do it –
The first step to optimizing the Consulting Spend is to recognize Consulting as a strategic category.
Indeed the size of the spend (0.5% to 3% of revenues) added to the potentially significant impact on the business makes it a key enabler of the strategy.
But does Category Management fully apply to the Consulting Category?
Monitoring the Consulting Category – 4 Key Areas  
One of the principles of category management is to implement a continuous analysis of the spend, the market, and the performance of the suppliers to identify opportunities for improvement.

1. Spend Analysis –
Performing a Spend Analysis is often the first step in aligning the Consulting Procurement Strategy with the Company Strategy. To analyze all the projects outsourced and to forecast for the future, you need to aggregate the Consulting Expenses across all organizational divisions.
The objective of the spend analysis is to produce a fully documented understanding of the company’s prior and future spend for Consulting Services, broken down by users and suppliers.
2. Market Analysis –
Knowing the Consulting Market is crucial to procure Consulting Services. Leveraging your existing consulting spend, you can analyze the consulting market for the main capabilities of interest for your company. The second step, often more complex, given the lack of familiarity with the subject, will be to look at the market for the services you could use to accelerate your objectives and create more value.
The outcome from the Consulting Market Analysis should be a better working knowledge of the supplier market and your place in it. You have identified potential suppliers and know your value as a customer.
But unlike other categories, you cannot limit your supplier analysis to only the major players. The complexity of the market, the diversity of the offerings and the granularity of your potential needs make it necessary to take a deeper dive into the Consulting Industry.
3. Supplier Performance Analysis –
The Supplier Performance Analysis should give you a holistic view on the Performance of your Consulting Providers, broken down per capability, organizational division, and project. It is often based on metrics on tangible performance, such as on-time delivery, respect of the initial budget and quality of the deliverables.
4. Managing the Human Factor –
Consulting Services have an intrinsic human component, that has a direct impact on the performance. Attitude and relationships have a powerful effect on the project’s outcome.
The behavior of the Consultant with the different stakeholders, his ability to build trust or to transfer knowledge are parts of the delivery as well.
Especially for Large Companies, it is recommended to look at the performance of the consulting firms at the Partner or project manager level. Indeed, it is not unusual to see significant variability of performance when looking at a company level. However, the performance can be very well correlated with individuals. In other words, people trump brands, and not all Companies are good at everything. Learn to identify the sweet spot of each of your Potential Providers and the partner that you want to work with, depending on your needs.
Last but not least – a Consulting firm can deliver perfect action plans, but fail to support you in the implementation or in transmitting enough knowledge to take over when they leave. Make sure this is taken care of.
 
 

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How to Crush Low Performance and Other Project Issues With Our 5 Best Tips

How to Crush Low Performance and Other Project Issues With Our 5 Best Tips

“Collaboration is like carbonation for fresh ideas. Working together bubbles up ideas you would not have come up with solo, which gets you further faster.” – Caroline Ghosn

If you worry about team performance, the risks, and the issues associated with a Consulting project, you are totally right. But instead of contemplating, when you face low performance or other issues working on a Consulting project, it’s best to deal with them using the smartest methods and technics. Also, we should probably emphasize smooth and productive collaboration between all team members, as it is one of the key success factors.
So how to drive the performance of the project and avoid potential issues?
Check out our best, proven tips.

Manage the Consulting Category

Over the past 20 years, the growth of in-house consulting groups has been one of the most notable elements of change in the fast-moving Consulting Industry.
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1. The Key Success Factor is Collaboration
Collaboration internally between the business lines and procurement to chose the best consulting firm to work with. And collaboration between your teams and the consulting team to get the best outcome for the project.
Defining your project team with the best talents might be as important as working with the right consultants. Your project sponsor has to put her weight to support the project and get the buy-in of the other decision-makers. Your project manager must have the energy and credibility to make the project achieve your goals.
If you chose right, they would embark the rest of your collaborators on the journey, and the consulting firm will be in the best position to deliver high-quality work.
The time you allocate to the project is also crucial. It should have been part of the discussion at the proposal stage: what contribution are the consultants expecting of your teams? However, it is always a little difficult to anticipate how the project will unfold. If your team is understaffed, or not available for the consultants, it can very quickly become a bottleneck for the project.
Be clear with the different business lines involved in the project of the priority you give to the project. If your project is highly strategic, maybe you should reallocate some part of your project manager’s duties to someone else. Or maybe you should reevaluate the timeline of your project if your teams have higher priorities.

2. Managing the Performance – What to Focus On?
The role of the Steering Committee is to make decisions indeed, but also to make sure that the project is delivering on time and quality. At every major step, the consulting firm should report to the Steering Committee on the work done, the challenges met, and the next steps.
For short projects, the monitoring becomes more merged with the reception. But for larger projects, you can use the regular meetings to check the delivery and involve the stakeholders in measuring the performance.
A low performance might involve several factors, sometimes simultaneously.
There can be many reasons for a Consulting Team to be unable to deliver the quality or timeline expected. According to our research, the main reason for dissatisfaction with consultants is the mismatch between the expertise of the consultants and the client’s expectations. Clients often reproach their consulting providers with not understanding their business or not customizing enough their delivery to the context of their company.
However, the reasons are rarely one-sided. Maybe the context has changed since the project started, or the project has unveiled some issues that are making the delivery more complicated than expected. We recommend asking the consultants to make their case and justify a change in the contract, if any.
3. Team Composition – When something is wrong with the team –
Consulting is also about people and fit. The consultants might have a hard time interacting with your teams. Alternatively, you might find the consultant too aggressive or too wishy-washy. It can also be that the consulting team is understaffed. Sizing a team for a project is always a tricky exercise, even for experienced consulting partners.
Don’t hesitate to discuss with the Consulting firm and ask for a replacement, even for the partner.
4. Focus on the Results, not the Means – What Truly Matters
Never forget that the Consulting firm has committed to the results and not the means. That is why we recommend adding the deliverables in the contract. Even if the pricing and the proposal were made with a certain team composition, you can definitely ask for changes on the team if the delivery is significantly impacted in time or quality. As a rule of thumb, unless the context of the project or the deliverables are changed, the movements in the consulting team should not impact the price you pay for the project.
5. Navigating Change in Long Projects –
For long projects with a significant change dimension, include change reinforcing elements in your communication. For instance, you can communicate on early successes and progress. It will help to keep the momentum.
Also, most consulting projects are going beyond pure transactional activities and will include a human dimension. Even though you want to keep your distance with your providers so that they don’t become too comfy with your company, you need to maintain a close collaboration with the consulting team. Having this close connection will allow you to address elements that you don’t necessarily want to address in a larger audience, to have an early warning system and to correct course in real-time. It is particularly true for stakeholders management.
 

Ready to get started on your next project?
Need a fresh point of view? We will be happy to help.
Please give us a call today at no obligation. Let’s get the conversation started.
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This Week in Consulting: Can Consulting survive the take over of AI and analytics?

This Week in Consulting

Wednesday, November 27th 2019

Can Consulting survive the take over of AI and analytics?

THIS WEEK’S MUST READ
“As artificial intelligence takes over the capital markets, will consulting be far behind? The similarity between the two lies in their core: data. Just like traders, consultants offer a data-driven service. And, historically, data challenges have ensured the necessity of a human interface to the data. Data is messy. It is hard to process.​”
Management consulting which tends to view itself as an elite in the business world is vulnerable to AI, a disruptive force of the market.
This Week’s Must Read  is an insight piece from MITSloan where the authors explore the impact of AI and analytics on the “giving advice” industry. They encourage consultants to shift their mental model and identify the “true value” they are bringing to the clients.
Read on to Find out More: “Management Consulting’s AI-powered Existential Crisis “ |Megan Beck and Barry Libert, AIMatters.

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THIS WEEK’S VIDEO:

Meet Sheldon, the Future of Consulting by Emmanuel Jusserand, Partner at Accenture Digital Strategy​.

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

How data analytics are changing the consulting industry?: “As the digital revolution takes root in the consulting industry itself, tremendous opportunities to enhance the client experience are opening up and advising clients on leveraging analytics is now an entrenched part of modern consulting.  However, consultants must learn new skill sets to stay ahead of the disruption, according to experts at management consultancy OC&C Strategy.” Data analytics, smartly deployed, can provide premium insights into an organization’s performance metrics, and the complex changes happening around them. How are consulting practitioners embracing analytics to serve their clients better? | Virtuosi
AI May Soon Replace Even the Most Elite Consultants : “The shift to AI solutions will be a tough pill to swallow for the corporate consulting industry. According to recent research, the U.S. market for corporate advice alone is nearly $60 billion.  Almost all that advice is high cost and human-based.” “In 2017, the same authors, as the cover article, were anticipating how the Consulting Industry would face the disruptive impact of emerging technologies. How have things evolved in two years?. | Megan Beck and Barry Libert
How technology is disrupting the consulting industry: “While technology will see some aspects of work become less important, it will ultimately support and augment consulting work, freeing up labour to add value elsewhere in the firm. According to industry advocates, while tedious tasks could disappear or be outsourced to robots, the need for humans will always be there.” Technology is disrupting the consulting industry alright, changing when and why clients work with consultants, but also how consultants themselves work. But ultimately, isn’t technology just getting rid of the low-value activities and freeing consultants for the high-level consulting work?. | Consultancy.eu
Artificial Intelligence in the Consulting Industry: “The business world is becoming gradually more complex, technical and faster paced hence having a good understanding as to what type of information to collect and how to collect it, in order to create long term growth by launching new and innovative products, enter new markets or seek new sources of growth is vital and a must for businesses to succeed.” As Ai is developing, managers are less relying on consultants, but rather analytical tools, to make decisions. But likewise, the consultants can leverage AI to better their services for their clients. | Dauda Barry, Daudex
Top 12 Overlooked Challenges in Digital Transformation That Can Prove Costly to Clients and Consultants: “In the new digital economy era, the demand for change to the traditional consulting business model is more pressing than ever. Digital transformation is providing consultants with nearly 40% of their revenue, but still, there are plenty of challenges for Clients and Consultants as well.” This article provides several levers that can be implemented to guide Consultants and Clients willing to embrace digital. | Hélène Laffitte, Consulting Quest

TRENDS
On the same theme,here is a selection of conferences that you might find useful
 
AI Summit 2020 : here are a number of reasons to account for Ireland’s growing reputation as an Artificial Intelligence Island.
 
WORLD SUMMIT AI : The world’s leading and largest AI summit gathers the global AI ecosystem of Enterprise, BigTech, Startups, Investors and Science, the brightest brains in AI as speakers.

CONSULTING INDUSTRY NEWS

BNY Mellon saving hundreds of hours a year processing emails with AI: “Hans Brown, BNY Mellon’s global head of innovation, tells Finextra that the bank’s operations team has applied AI to the relatively mundane task of reading e-mails and auto-forwarding them to the relative department.” | Finextra
Deloitte Digital Wins Three Partner Innovation Awards at Dreamforce 2019: “Deloitte announced that it has received three Salesforce Partner Innovation awards in the B2C Commerce, Higher Education and Health Care and Life Sciences categories. Deloitte Digital was recognized for its work with True Alliance, Southern New Hampshire University and Amgen respectively. The awards were presented at Dreamforce 2019.” | PRNewswire
Twitter acquires London AI startup as it looks to target small businesses: “Twitter has snapped up artificial intelligence (AI) marketing platform Aiden as it looks to expand its advertising offering for small businesses.” |James Warrington, CityA.M
Bain & Company expands unpaid parental leave scheme in UK: “Global strategy consultancy Bain & Company has sought to improve the gender equality in its upper echelons by providing a parental leave package that does not “imply or even financially force the birth mother to become the primary care giver.” The new scheme will give new parents – regardless of gender – up to 52 weeks of leave with the first 26 weeks fully paid.” | Consultancy.uk

DIRECTORY
The Consulting Quest Global Directory is the largest professionally-managed directory in the consulting industry. Searchable by consultancy , name or by region, capability or industry it lists and describes more than 6000 consultancies worldwide with links to their websites and social media channels.
 
 

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CONSULTING SOURCING TIPS

The New Way to Optimize Consulting for Maximum Impact – Key Points to Apply to Your Next Project ( Five Wrong Approach Scenarios and How to Avoid Them?)
"There is a way to do it better - find it." - Thomas Edison Consulting can create great value for ...Read More

Wanting to Read People’s Minds? Discover Instead the Best Sources and Publications on the Consulting Industry
What clients want? If there was a way to read people's minds, like in the movie "What Women Want" with ...Read More

Everything You Like to Know About In-House Consulting and How to Optimize Your Internal Consultants’ Potential
Your internal consulting, transformation team, or excellence group, is a great asset that can make every project a success. The ...Read More

About Consulting Quest

Consulting Quest is a global, performance-driven consulting platform founded in 2014 by former members of top 10 consulting firms with the objective of reinventing consultancy performance. With a worldwide presence and a range of proprietary performance measurement tools, we help companies navigate the consulting maze. We work with Consulting Clients to increase their performance through consulting and Consulting Providers to help them acquire new clients and to improve their performance.

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This Week in Consulting: Futur of Finance in the Digital Word

This Week in Consulting

Wednesday, November 20th 2019

Future of Finance in The Digital World

THIS WEEK’S MUST READ
“The digital world ‘feels’ different. Extraordinary economic changes are happening at such a fast pace. At a World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Accenture Chairman and CEO Pierre Naterme said: ‘Digital is the main reason just over half of the companies on the Fortune 500 have disappeared since the year 2000.​”
Historically, the finance function’s focus has been around promoting organizational efficiencies and reducing operational costs. Technology is allowing the finance function to refocus its energy on revenue and value creation.
This Week’s Must Read  is an insight piece from Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) where the authors help us to understand how finance functions meet the challenges their organizations face in a digital world
Read on to Find out More: “Re-inventing finance for a digital world “ | Dr. Martin Farrar, CGMA.

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THIS WEEK’S VIDEO:

Big Tech and the Future of Finance.

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

Future of Finance: Finance disrupted– “As we edge toward the third decade of the century, business-as-usual methodologies no longer keep pace with the tides of innovation and unprecedented change. According to KPMG LLP’s  CEO Outlook survey, 76 percent of chief executive officers (CEOs) admit that their growth relies on their ability to challenge and disrupt any business norm.” An interesting approach to how the CFO should respond to a business environment in turmoil. | Ron Walker, Sanjay Sehgal, KPMG
Do you define your CFO role? Or does it define you? “The chief financial officer (CFO) role is being disrupted by digital innovation, the proliferation of data, a volatile risk environment, increasing regulation and a growing circle of demanding stakeholders. CFOs who don’t proactively define their role in response to these major forces could compromise their ability to shape strategy with the CEO and drive the innovation necessary for sustainable growth.” This survey tries to decode the DNA of the finance leader, with profiles and job descriptions becoming more and more diverse. | Hanne Jesca Bax, Robert Brand, Rick Fezell, Annette Kimmitt and Tony Klimas, EY
Digital Transformation Of The Finance Function: “Driven by the accelerating digitalization, the finance function faces the risk of being reduced to an efficiency-first support role. By redefining its value contribution and self-perception, finance can seize the opportunities that digitalization offers to develop into a digital driver that shapes the digital landscape of the entire organization.” The authors offer insights and actionable steps on how finance can become the digital driver of an organization, harness the opportunities of big data and AI, and grow fast. | Dr. Philipp Andres, Dr. Thomas Fritz, Christian Lattwein and Jörg Stäglich, Oliver Wyman
A Finance Chief’s Practical View of Robotics and AI: “Discussion around the impact of intelligent automation often centers on what it means for consumers, or its implications for the workplace and the changing nature of jobs. But what does it mean in practice for finance professionals?” Michael Burwell, CFO, Willis Towers Watson shows us the practical implementation of AI and its impact on day-to-day operations. | Michael Burwell, Willis Towers Watson

TRENDS
On the same theme,here is a selection of conferences that you might find useful
 
The Future of Finance and CFO Summit 2020 : Redefining finance, embracing new opportunities for value-creation in an age of digital business.
 
Gartner CFO & Finance Executive Conference : In the midst of all the uncertainty, one thing is certain: Finance functions will need to significantly evolve to meet the business needs of the future.

CONSULTING INDUSTRY NEWS

Marsh & McLennan : Holiday Shopping Looks Merry This Year Despite Recession Fears According to Oliver Wyman– “US consumers are not letting a possible recession dampen their holiday spirit and plan to spend an average of $375 during Black Friday and Cyber Monday according to Oliver Wyman. This is a slight drop from $390 in 2018” | Market screener
Verizon 5G service goes live in Boston, Houston and Sioux Falls: “Verizon 5G networking makes its way to three more cities Tuesday: Boston, Houston and Sioux Falls. This brings the total number of cities with the carrier’s faster network to 18, with plans to reach 30 by the end of 2019.” | Oscar Gonzalez, CNET
Deloitte Working with Amazon Web Services to Create New Health Ecosystems Through Data: “AWS Data Exchange, a New AWS Service, Helps Organizations Securely Find, Subscribe to and Use Third-Party Data in the Cloud; Deloitte’s Suite of Solutions and Services Can Help Life Sciences and Health Care Organizations Curate in a Private, Secure and Responsible Way to Enable Medical Innovation and New Data Driven Business Models” |PRNewswire
Brexit and beyond: The challenges for banks and consultancies– “As the political drama of Brexit continues to unfold, and the future of the UK’s position in Europe remains unclear, businesses across Europe are still in the dark over what will happen next. Francesco Scarnera, UK CEO at Be Shaping the Future, a financial services advisory, reflects on Brexit’s impact on banks and consultancies.” | Consultancy.uk

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The Consulting Quest Global Directory is the largest professionally-managed directory in the consulting industry. Searchable by consultancy , name or by region, capability or industry it lists and describes more than 6000 consultancies worldwide with links to their websites and social media channels.
 
 

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CONSULTING SOURCING TIPS

Wanting to Read People’s Minds? Discover Instead the Best Sources and Publications on the Consulting Industry
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Everything You Like to Know About In-House Consulting and How to Optimize Your Internal Consultants’ Potential
Your internal consulting, transformation team, or excellence group, is a great asset that can make every project a success. The ...Read More

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Let's start with the question - How important is measuring the performance of Consulting Services' providers? For Consultants - as ...Read More

About Consulting Quest

Consulting Quest is a global, performance-driven consulting platform founded in 2014 by former members of top 10 consulting firms with the objective of reinventing consultancy performance. With a worldwide presence and a range of proprietary performance measurement tools, we help companies navigate the consulting maze. We work with Consulting Clients to increase their performance through consulting and Consulting Providers to help them acquire new clients and to improve their performance.

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How to choose between Generalist or Specialist Consultants?

How to choose between Generalist or Specialist Consultants?

Executives often wonder how to approach the decision to hire a consultant who specializes in one aspect of their industry, or a consultant who has proven results in most areas, but who doesn’t have any specific niche experience. After all, the population of consultants has exponentially increased in response to corporate belt-tightening in the area of permanent staffing.
If you’re looking for the right consultant, there are several factors that will help you decide whether a specialist or a generalist is right for your needs. First of those considerations are the pros of both types. But there are also some important decisions you’ll need to make before you start searching.

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So, if you’re wondering how to find a consultant who can provide the outcome you’re looking for, here are a few tips
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Strategic Considerations
Before you begin your search for the consultant who best fits your needs and your company’s needs, there are two important things you must do:

Be clear about the problem you are trying to solve by hiring a consultant.

The more clearly you understand the problem you’re facing, and the better you can articulate it, the better equipped you’ll be to make the decision between a generalist and a specialist.

Balance your resource allocation.

You want to procure the right consultant to create new solutions—not to create new financial problems. And obviously, correctly identifying the problem helps balance your resource allocation. Misidentifying your problem can be costly: remember that old saying, “We cut it three times and it’s still too short?”
Consultants—whether generalists or specialists—essentially have one strategic function: optimizing your ROI or expanding your customer base. The consultant you select must understand that she is fulfilling that function, and bring to the table the skillset and experience that will address one of those strategic functions.
Which projects are generalists best for? Which projects are specialists right for? Here’s a rundown of the pros and cons of each:

The Generalist
Generalists, broadly speaking, tend to work in smaller, boutique consulting firms, but also play strong roles in large, global consulting firms. They may be new to consulting or new to the business world, but not necessarily. Typically they have broad-based knowledge and a willingness to adapt flexibly to an enterprise’s needs. Here are the main characteristics of generalist consultants:

They work well in teams, especially with other generalists, as they tend to have strengths in seeing both the forest and the trees, and the interrelationships between the two. In other words, they can connect the dots between the problem you are trying to solve and how potential solutions may affect the rest of your enterprise.

They tend to be a good fit for broader, larger-scale consulting projects for that reason: their types of experiences lead directly to their ability to connect all the dots and offer the most fitting solution.

Generalists excel at analysis, whether the presented problem is the “real” one to be solved or whether it is masking an underlying issue that needs to be solved first.

On the solutions side, generalists may have experience with a range of types of solutions. They tend not to offer cookie-cutter fixes. Instead, they custom tailor a solution for your enterprise. As a bonus, they may be able to draw upon former experience and apply it to current your problem in a way that is innovative.

Generalists may want to solve by themselves issues that could be better addressed by specialist consultants, and thus lack the right knowledge and/or expertise.
They might prove to be a costly solution if their contribution is limited to managing other consultants on your behalf

To sum up, generalists are effective in teams and ideal at tailoring solutions, especially for management-level issues or larger-scale, complex projects. Note, too, that if you think a longer-term partnership with a consultant is on the horizon, go with a generalist who can always find a specialist when needed.
The Specialist
Specialists typically have chosen to concentrate their efforts and abilities in a more narrow arena such as energy, IT, or finance, or in a particular industry, such as healthcare or pharmaceuticals. Many specialists have jumped from years of employment in their field of expertise to the world of consulting.
Major consulting firms usually have a range of specialists who are highly trained and deeply experienced in their chosen fields, but boutique firms also may specialize in a given industry or knowledge field. Here are some of the key benefits that specialists can bring to the table:

Specialists are passionate about their field or industry. They keep current on new findings and industry news. They understand the competitive pressures within their specialized industry.

They also provide solutions for enterprises. With their high levels of training and experience, specialists may be able to zoom in on and implement solutions quickly, which may conserve resources for the company.
Specialists love to transfer their knowledge, and will immediately be recognized by your teams on a dimension they comprehend.
They can see all problems through their area of expertise. As popularized by Abraham Maslow, “if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”.
Specialists will bring to you the state of the industry but might reuse at least for statistic purposes some of your data. That is the unsaid rule of the game.

The key to successfully using a specialist is the executive’s ability to correctly identify and articulate the problem that needs a resolution. If the scope of the problem is limited to the rapid advancement of IT changes, for instance, a specialist is the natural place to turn. If the problem at hand is limited to circuit board assembly supply chains, turning to an industry specialist makes great sense in terms of both outcomes and resources.
Ultimately, there is a role for both generalists and specialists in the world of consulting. Each type of consultant successfully helps executives find solutions, given the right situation.
Take heart if you find yourself at a crossroads and need to turn to a consultant. There is great news: a consulting brokerage firm has already done all the heavy lifting of assessing a wide range of high-quality consulting firms globally to fit every type of enterprise, budget, and project. They can be a savior in assisting you to select the right type of consulting firm.
Executives who initially turn to a global consulting brokerage company may find they assistance they need to identify which type of consultant will be most likely to optimize ROI or expand their customer base.
Consulting Quest specializes in identifying consulting solutions that boost your competitive edge. Let us know how we can assist you.

Consulting Playbook:  State-of-the-Art Techniques to fix Supply Chain in Pharmaceuticals

Consulting Playbook:  State-of-the-Art Techniques to fix Supply Chain in Pharmaceuticals

The Consulting Playbook, Edition #23 
The company’s “On Time In Full” OTIF was extremely low.  40% of orders failed to meet  the targets for both supply chain and development issues. Development Priorities were changing frequently, plus there was a lack of development activities planning for the past 5 years. All that caused high level of stress among team members, and a Consultant was hired to provide expertise in dealing with these problems.
The Approach applied was designed to address the situation on two levels

Supply-chain Activities Level

A mapping of the current supply-chain process was carried out, with Key indicators, and major issues VSM outlined. Besides, a workshop with the whole supply team was organized to review the issues that had to be resolved.
At the outset, a more effective mapping of the future supply-chain process was performed, a new structure design of the S&OP and MPS was created and implemented.
A reduction in the changeover time for the major production lines SMED was targeted as well.

Development Activities Level

For those, a new mapping of the development process was done together with improved Key Indicators and the major issues to be resolved. Workshops with the development team were organized to craft a shared action plan.
Consequently, the evaluation of customers’ demands was performed to filter developments and set new priorities.
A smoother future development process was designed ready for implementation, a new standard flow for the project’s activities was charged and a weekly meetings protocol for all the team members was established to continue the improvement of all activities and follow up.
The Successful Outcome Achieved
The organization managed to raise OTIF from 50% to 85% in one year. The project’s duration was shortened by 25%, while the stress level among team members had been greatly reduced.

Additional Information

Which Key Areas to Focus On in Drug Development Planning? 
Drug development work is a time-consuming process and it requires a solid research, planning and cooperation. It also suggests developing a strategy from start to finish, a  presentation to potential investors and arranging a toxicity study. The long-term benefits that a new product can bring in, however will neutralize the costs in most instances. And a carefully crafted strategy will make such endeavor a success.
Below we outlined 3 Main Strategic Areas to look at when Developing a New Drug

Manufacturing

This area is extremely important for the success and launch of a new drug. It is crucial to include all the segments in the drug development process in order to reach the manufacturing stage successfully. Bad decisions or unprepared actions can prove to be very costly, and likely  cause delays or result in other problems. Manufacturing includes all activities in connection to production of final dosage form, the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API), decision on a viable formulation, making sure the quality is sufficient and consistent, packaging, shipping, and more.

Clinical and Non-Clinical Development

These are the standard procedures. The purpose behind the two types of research is to provide adequate support to the clinical trial teams and lead to the final approval of the drug. The Strategic plan accompanying the development should preferably include all the necessary studies as well as the additional studies that will be helpful. The studies can beneficially affect the time and the cost of the product development at the later stage, but might require a more serious investment upfront. In the Clinical Development stage, all detailed plans should be developed including – study designs, identification of investigators, statistical analyses, timelines for development, etc. Contingency planning is also essential to have.
Risk management is another big part to consider, and creating  a solid RMP (risk management plan) with risk evaluation and mitigation strategy must include all the pharmacovigilance actions, as well as measures related to identifying and preventing risks of the drug, and an in-depth valuation of its effectiveness. Sufficient awareness to prospective patients or physicians of the side effects must be provided too. The documentation in this stage should prove the benefits outweigh the costs of the drug.

Regulatory

The documentation in this area will keep the project on track and will make the process run smoothly. Risks of delays will be identified, probability of delays, extra costs, tracking mechanism of the progress should be included too in the main regulatory Strategy document.
This strategy can be revised as necessary for the duration of the project.
And lastly, topics like Intellectual property and trademark registration; compensation schedules, and marketing and selling the drug, must be addressed and developed as well.
For Further Reading:

Concepts in Pharmaceutical Development Project Management
Planning for Successful, Efficient, Pharmaceutical Product Development
CMC Development Strategies for Small Pharma
Effective new product planning
Preclinical D

t

About The Consulting Playbook
The Consulting Playbook is a collection of posts designed to offer insights into how businesses and their executives can utilize consulting as a strategic lever to boost performance. Each Consulting Playbook post is broken down into a few elements: Case Study, Additional Information regarding the technical application, and Additional Links related to the topic.

How to Streamline Your Sourcing Process So You Can Have More Time for Things You Love – Golf, Tennis, Travelling Perhaps?

How to Streamline Your Sourcing Process So You Can Have More Time for Things You Love – Golf, Tennis, Travelling Perhaps?

We do not imply that you don’t love the sourcing process when selecting Consultants, but we like to talk about a few methods that can make it way more effective.
Ready? Here is how you build a perfect sourcing process with little margin for error.
Our top 8 tips you can easily apply are listed below:
 
1. Get the NDA Assurance –
This simple agreement with your Consulting providers can go a long way in protecting you and your business, by keeping the information you share, confidential. Request and offer NDA to be signed at the start of your conversations. It’s really surprising that only 66% of Companies use NDAs systematically when buying Consulting Services. Even the preliminary discussion with a Consulting Firm can contain confidential information that you don’t want to end up in your direct competitor’s lap. We can argue that the people you choose to work with, have business ethics but don’t forget that they sell their knowledge of the industry and the benchmark.
2. Leverage Your Bargaining Power –
Procurement is about bargaining power, and with that said you want it to be on the buyer’s side. You own the budget, the consultants want to work for you, now it is up to you to clearly define the rules and show that you are in control of the process. Use your conditions and your legal materials.

Grow your Consultancy

Since the dawn of the Industrial revolution, Consultants have helped in creating some of the most ambitious and innovative projects around the world.
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3. Use Competition When Relevant – when not – Save Your Time-
There are many advantages to work with familiar consultants. But sometimes the savings are not worth the time and energy spent in organizing the competition among your prospective consultants
There is no need for competition in the following scenarios:

With small projects –

A very small project, when both the cost and the risks are low, does not necessarily require to launch a competition unless you want to shake your existing consulting supplier and reduce the fees. In that case, also work on the reference checking to make sure that they perform well. For small projects, an effective approach can also be to ask your consultants to design their proposal to your target budget.

With unique skills –

On certain projects, where the skills required are very niche and unique, you might not be able to find more than one or two potential suppliers. There is no point in opening a large competition with multiple consultants without proper expertise. Like for a small project, make sure your provider has worked on the matter and has been successful on similar projects.
 

When it’s a sequel project –

Some projects are sequels of previous projects. If you are satisfied with the performance of your Consulting Provider, and you are sure that they have the right skills for the sequel, then it might save you time and energy to work with them. This does not prevent from being very attentive to the fees and to ask for the same competitive rates as during phase 1. In case of continued resistance, just set-up a reduced competition, it should be enough to bring back fees in the realm of reason.

With urgent jobs –

This is a tricky situation. When you are in a rush, you might not have the time to organize a competition. Be mindful of the risks you are taking. If they are too high, maybe you should compare them to the risks you would take in postponing the project to prepare a decent competition. If that is not the case, and you already have in the radar a decent Consulting Provider with the right skills, then you should go for it with a max budget in mind.
4. Improve Proposals’ Evaluation –
Evaluating Consulting Proposals is not easy. It’s really important to decide who will be the main person involved, and the criteria you will be using. There are three key elements to review proposals:

Apply the right criteria

First of all, if your teams have followed the best practices to write an RFP for Consulting Services, they should have defined the first list of criteria. Besides, there are some other criteria that could be integrated into decisions such as ethics, transparency, etc.
Build a list of mandatory criteria. And suggest the list of additional criteria, that can also be used when writing RFPs.

Gather the right team

One of the key success factors for a Consulting Project is to get the buy-in of the main stakeholders. Involving them since the inception of the project is a smart move to get both the best Consulting Firm and your teams on-board.
Define guidelines for building the right team, depending on the type of project. Large projects might need to be examined by Finance, Procurement, Strategy and Business Lines. When working on smaller projects you might need the business lines and a local procurement team.

Score/weight/rank with a common process

You have tried to make the decision-making process as objective as possible. You have defined criteria to evaluate the proposals, and now you need to rank your proposals on these criteria.
If you have mandatory criteria, you might want to associate with mandatory weights (to avoid the workarounds). Then define how the total score will be calculated and the ranking made.
Don’t forget that the exercise is about compromising, and finding the best option for the Company and the different stakeholders.
5. Review References –
Finally, check references. We said it was important when you don’t organize a competition. But to be honest, it is important in any case.

The project has to be relevant to your project

If you have launched a Supply Chain project, you don’t really care if the Consulting Firm has done a Marketing project, even within your industry or a large well-known Company. The reference from your-brother-in law will not be sufficient. You want them to show they have done similar projects successfully.

The references need to be fresh

If you look at some proposals, the Consultants have worked with the most renown Companies. But when you dig a little bit, that was ten to fifteen years ago. What does that say of their current performance? Not much. You want references from projects that took place in the last five years at most.

They need to be about the team in your proposal

The Consulting Firm might have worked on a similar project last year, but with another partner, not one in the proposal. Is it important? Yes. What you want is the best team possible for your project. The partner, or project manager, in charge, needs to have led or at least participated in the projects given as references.
Don’t forget that the success of Consulting Projects is very dependent on the personality and knowledge of the consultant in charge.

You need some help to streamline your sourcing process?Or you just want to discuss about how you source consultants?Don't hesitate to reach out.
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Consulting Playbook: Lean Manufacturing is Critical to Your Success

Consulting Playbook: Lean Manufacturing is Critical to Your Success

The Consulting Playbook, Edition #1
Real Life Practices Situation –
A large industrial manufacturer was facing serious production issues at one of their plants. The CEO was forced to declare the plant’s current layout and working methods unsustainable. Defects would flow through the whole process spread on multiple manufacturing lines, resulting in an 18-month waiting list, decreasing profitability and unhappy customers.
In addition to the manufacturing lines, the company was dealing with an inflexible union and antiquated labor agreements making the changes needed to take place, difficult to implement and to maneuver.  The CEO asked the VP of Operations to analyze two possible scenarios:
A) Keep the plant or B) Create a new one in a lower cost region.
They brought in a third party to analyze the two options before them and after a careful review, decided to launch a transformation on the existing facilities.
With increased pressure on profitability and the displacement of thousands of jobs at stake, there were difficult choices that had to be made in the best interest of the company and its employees.
The Better Plan of Action –
After a quick diagnostic showed opportunities to reduce waste, standardize activities and significantly increase the quality level, the consultant and the management team came to the conclusion that the plant, as well as several other plants in the region, could be saved through a Lean Manufacturing Transformation.
However, the journey was only starting as they now had to carry out the change without disrupting the operations. The key principle was to shift from the top-down operating model to a new scheme where the operators generating the value were supported by the rest of the organization.
The consultant worked with the top management on that vision, shared the diagnostic, made sure that everyone was on-board with the rationale for change and general direction, and then worked with them to lay out the plan to reach their goals.
A large-scale, collaborative plan identifying improvement opportunities was put in place. Along with that, a specific training for operators to simulate the new work environment preparing them for the change ahead, was put in place. The consultant also developed specific methods for the leadership to support, and champion the change.  The change process and continuous improvement initiatives incorporated different team members at every level of the organization, ensuring the project’s success and fluidity.
The Results and the Benefits –
The new and more efficient plant was designed to boast the same production volume with only two thirds of the previous workforce.  The adjustments made spurred huge cost savings contributing to an increase in the overall profit margins, and sending the stock price soaring over the next 3 years. They were also able to reduce the manufacturing surfaces by more than half, as well as revise the existing labor agreements to more beneficial ones.

Additional Information

What is Lean Manufacturing?
The simplest definition of it is – system of methods designed to eliminate waste within a manufacturing process. Lean Manufacturing or lean production centers around three main components:

Elimination of waste (“Muda”) within a manufacturing system
Control over waste created through overburden (“Muri”)
Waste created through inconsistency in workloads (“Mura”)

Essentially, lean manufacturing is all about adding value and reducing everything else – expense, time, efforts, and so on. In today’s fast paced world of business, communication and commerce, Lean manufacturing is an extremely powerful approach to secure an organization’s success.
Main Lean Production Principles
They originated in the Japanese manufacturing industry. The term was first coined by John Krafcik in his 1988 article, “Triumph of the Lean Production System,” based on his master’s thesis at the MIT Sloan School of Management.
Toyota’s view is that the main method of lean is not the tools, but the reduction of three types of waste: muda (“non-value-adding work”), muri (“overburden”), and mura (“unevenness”) exposing this way any problems or inefficiencies in the process.
Lean implementation focuses on getting the right things to the right place at the right time in the right quantity to achieve the perfect work flow, while reducing waste and being flexible and willing to change. These concepts however need to be understood, and embraced by the whole organization’s team.
The single point behind “Lean” is to make the work simple enough to understand, to do and manage.
Lean Manufacturing strongly depends on implementing all the core principles through Lean Thinking and the role Lean Leadership plays in overseeing that.
For further reading:

What is Lean?
Lean Manufacturing Transformation
Manufacturing Transformation
Lean Manufacturing Transformation: A Holistic Approach

t

About The Consulting Playbook
The Consulting Playbook is a collection of posts designed to offer insights into how businesses and their executives can utilize consulting as a strategic lever to boost performance. Each Consulting Playbook post is broken down into a few elements: Case Study, Additional Information regarding the technical application, and Additional Links related to the topic.

An African Consulting Industry still dominated by Foreign Companies

An African Consulting Industry still dominated by Foreign Companies

Welcome to the second issue of our New Blog Series – “Exploring the African Consulting Industry”. In this series, you will learn “everything-you-need-to-know” about the African Consulting market through a set of fun infographics.
In the previous issue, we discussed that the size of the African consulting Industry to be $2.2 billion. Although the size of the market is relatively small from a global perspective, it has grown strongly over the past years, with a 6.3% growth rate. In this issue, we will dive into the sizes of the consulting firms in the region and how they compare to those on a global scale.

The Company Landscape
According to data collected from the CQ Global Directory, Large Consulting Firms (with 1000+ employees) make up 29% of the consulting firms in Africa. This figure is significantly higher than the global average, which is estimated to be around 10%, meaning Large Global Consulting Firms are over-represented in Africa compared to the rest of the world.
Despite the strong presence of foreign companies in the region, 57% of the consulting firms are in fact only based in Africa, and almost half of the companies have less than 50 employees. This shows that smaller niche local companies are on the rise.
More insights on why large companies make up one-third of the consulting firms in Africa will be presented in the next two issues, in which we will look into the Industries and Capabilities of the consulting offering in the region.

t

Consulting Quest Global Directory
Consulting Quest Global Directory is the World’s Largest Professionally-Managed Directory in the Consulting Industry. Searchable by consultancy name or by region, capability or industry, it lists and describes more than 6000 consultancies worldwide, with links to their websites and social media channels. With such a powerful database, we decided to dig deeper into the directory and analyzed the consulting offering in each of the following regions of the world: North America, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Asia-Pacifics and LATAM.

This Week in Consulting: All you need to know about Design Thinking

This Week in Consulting

Wednesday, November 13th 2019

All you need to know about Design Thinking

THIS WEEK’S MUST READ
“Design Thinking is not an exclusive property of designers—all great innovators in literature, art, music, science, engineering, and business have practiced it. So, why call it Design Thinking? What’s special about Design Thinking is that designers’ work processes can help us systematically extract, teach, learn and apply these human-centered techniques to solve problems in a creative and innovative way – in our designs, in our businesses, in our countries, in our lives.​”
The ‘Design Thinking’ is a description of the application of the well-tried design process to new challenges and opportunities, used by people from both design and non-design backgrounds. How to use design and design thinking for innovation and better results?
This Week’s Must Read  is an insight piece from Interaction Design Foundation (IDF) where the authors help us to understand Design Thinking by breaking down the process into five phases
Read on to Find out More: “What is Design Thinking and Why Is It So Popular? “ | Rikke Dam and Teo Siang, Interaction Design Foundation.

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THIS WEEK’S VIDEO:

Design Thinking is a 5-step process to come up with meaningful ideas that solve real problems for a particular group of people​​.

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

Why Design Thinking Works? “In a recent seven-year study in which I looked in depth at 50 projects from a range of sectors, including business, health care, and social services, I have seen that another social technology, design thinking, has the potential to do for innovation exactly what TQM did for manufacturing: unleash people’s full creative energies, win their commitment, and radically improve processes.” Here the author explains how human behaviors can get in the way of innovation and how design thinking tools and clear process steps can help teams break free of them. | Jeanne Liedtka, HBR
Maximizing Digital Transformation Innovation -Design Thinking: “With the evolution of technological advances, organizations need to transform to address rapidly changing business landscapes, which is the main reason why digital transformation is so crucial for companies that enables to redefine the complex business process into simple and innovative solutions that helps business executives focus more on business results, innovation and continuous development.” This article shows how the design thinking approach could help launch a wave of innovation in technology and digital disruption. | SatishKumar Boguda and Shailaja Arsid, IJERT
Design Thinking as a Strategy for Innovation: “Designing is more than creating products and services; it can be applied to systems, procedures, protocols, and customer experiences. Design is transforming the way leading companies create value.” The author presents an interesting point of view on how the success rate for innovation dramatically improves when design principles are applied to strategy and innovation. | Linda Naiman, Creativity at Work
Why Design Thinking is Relevant? “In many ways, design thinking is about having a methodology that helps you feel comfortable wading into the messy complexity of creating something new to the world. The better you get at it, the more you’ll build creative confidence to take on bigger challenges.” Why is design thinking relevant to the challenges we’re facing today? An interesting interview with David Kelly, the founder of IDEO. | David Kelley, IDEO

TRENDS
On the same theme,here is a selection of conferences that you might find useful
 
NEXT: the conference on innovation through design thinking : NEXT is the annual event dedicated to innovation through design thinking for all those who want to transform their company and who are looking for concrete and applicable solutions to successfully implement.
 
Design Thinking Conference 2020 : For Design Thinking professionals who practice what they preach in their own organizations or with other organizations.

CONSULTING INDUSTRY NEWS

FinTech Company OKLink Wins Deloitte “Hong Kong Rising Star”: “LEAP Holdings Group Limited (“the Group”; Stock code: 1499) is pleased to announce that OKLink Fintech Limited (“OKLink”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Group, was awarded the “Hong Kong Rising Star” by Deloitte in 2019 HK Tech Fast 20 and Rising Star Program on 8 November 2019.” | Marie Jones, Business News Asia
KPMG launches innovation scale-up with Axillium partnership: “As clients look to tap greater levels of government support for their research and development efforts, KPMG has forged a new partnership with research and innovation agency Axillium. The Midlands-based firm has supported nearly 200 organisations to move their innovation programmes forward and helped raise more than £210 million in government grant funding.” | Consultancy.uk
HSBC and RBS set to launch new digital banking platforms: “HSBC rolled out a new app-based business banking service – previously known internally as ‘Project Iceberg’ and now named ‘HSBC Kinetic’ – in beta testing mode on Monday, while RBS is putting the finishing touches to its new digital bank Bo ahead of a public roll-out later this month.” |Iain Withers, Sinead Cruise, Reuters
P&G Aims For Lasting Social Impact With NatGeo Series: “While brands have been an integral part of television since the dawn of the medium, typically as sponsors, P&G is aiming to take that relationship to the next level by helping to produce a new cable TV series.” | Diana Marszalek, The Holmes Report

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The Consulting Quest Global Directory is the largest professionally-managed directory in the consulting industry. Searchable by consultancy , name or by region, capability or industry it lists and describes more than 6000 consultancies worldwide with links to their websites and social media channels.
 
 

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CONSULTING SOURCING TIPS

Everything You Like to Know About In-House Consulting and How to Optimize Your Internal Consultants’ Potential
Your internal consulting, transformation team, or excellence group, is a great asset that can make every project a success. The ...Read More

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Let's start with the question - How important is measuring the performance of Consulting Services' providers? For Consultants - as ...Read More

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Demand management is a critical tool for procurement professionals and companies in general. Its implementation for the consulting category is ...Read More

About Consulting Quest

Consulting Quest is a global, performance-driven consulting platform founded in 2014 by former members of top 10 consulting firms with the objective of reinventing consultancy performance. With a worldwide presence and a range of proprietary performance measurement tools, we help companies navigate the consulting maze. We work with Consulting Clients to increase their performance through consulting and Consulting Providers to help them acquire new clients and to improve their performance.

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Bring In The Right People To Help Your Business Grow

Bring In The Right People To Help Your Business Grow

Last year, Inc. cited several example scenarios of what happens when a consultant’s own brand of ideas conflicts with the company’s values. We’ll spare you the horror and summarize that many of the scenarios led to arguments and stunned reactions from gawking office staff.
No one wants to see that. 
Before hiring a consultant, ask yourself one question: Have your usual consultants the right answer to this specific challenge?
Can Business Consultants Be The Remedy To Stagnation?
Hiring a consultant who has successfully worked for many other companies helps you and your team gain a different perspective. Assuming your own team already has many years working with you, they’ve perhaps fallen into a creative rut on how to approach new challenges.
When you hire a consultant, you’re setting up the promise of bringing more extensive knowledge to areas where you lack knowledge.

Outside knowledge helps you fill in when your own team hasn’t kept up on the latest changes in various aspects of business. Consultants work with every company imaginable and know the realities of what’s going on in the outer world. 
Finding fast solutions is another reason to hire a consultant when your own team feels exhausted in finding creative solutions. Burnout is so easy with in-house employees, especially with few windows of vacation time in marketing departments. Consultants have continual knowledge of new methodologies and are always brainstorming. Creativity is at a higher level, which means faster implementation. 
Consultants diagnose problems as a form of business audit. They scope out issues you may’ve preferred sweeping under the rug, and then they find proper solutions. 
You gain access to a team focused exclusively on your problem, rather than relying on your own team members who are preoccupied by their daily work. By having a team that doesn’t have to worry about their other duties in your company, you can utilize the flexibility and availability of a group of consultants whose entire job is to help solve your business problems.

There is no question about it, using consultants can help you go faster and higher. But the main question remains: How to find the right one ?

Use Consultant Strategically

So, how do you find the right consultant? How do you know if they can actually do what they say they can? What are the real benefits of using a consultant?

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Vetting Your Business Consultant: Finding The One
Finding the right consultant in today’s overcrowded market of consultancies can be a major challenge and a time-intensive project. What you’re looking for is a consultant who is capable, who listens and who is ready to dig in, understand how your business is structured, and strategize for how to solve your most challenging business problems. 
Consulting Quest was started because we saw too many businesses hiring the wrong consultant for the job. We saw hasty consultant hires made at a price that was not appropriate to the value given. Frankly put: the consultants were too expensive for the value they offered. 
We advise you through the hiring process based on what industry you’re in and what capabilities you need help with. Whether it be in the field of energy and utilities or public services, we match you with the most appropriate consultant.
The scoping process of matching the consultant’s capabilities to your needs is an exacting one. Many businesses only need help in a particular area in order to help them flourish.  Consultants are already pre-qualified to take on any category. We’ll help you select the right consultant from the very best candidates. It’s a vetting and selection process like no other.

Our system brings competence and savings for the company, ensuring that you receive the right value for what you have paid. We vet the consultants and make them compete to get the project, guaranteeing through that process that they will provide you their best price. 
We professionalize the searching and hiring of a business consultant for you. We also improve her performance through feedback and analysis. The consultant is evaluated (essentially, our own form of Yelp), so that you can use that consultant again and help other businesses in their future searches, too. 
It’s never too late to start doing things differently
Since far too many hires occurred out of desperation when things were falling apart, or without scoping out whether the consultant’s skills fit correctly with the company’s goals, we developed our system to ensure that not only do you get the best value for your money, but that you find the right consultant the right way in a time efficient manner. Our teams have an extensive experience and the most efficient toolbox when it comes to purchasing consulting.
It’s never too late to start doing things differently, Wherever you are already engaged in the process or only thinking about hiring consultants, do not hesitate to contact Consulting Quest – The smartest way to buy consulting.

Consulting Playbook: Optimizing Efficiency with New Progressive Attitudes

Consulting Playbook: Optimizing Efficiency with New Progressive Attitudes

The Consulting Playbook, Edition #13
A High Technology Company with a large global engineering workforce of several thousand employees and half a dozen centers of excellence was facing growing pressure to deliver the expected performance. They were facing issues on flexibility across, had growing costs and had to face a major technology shift rendering part of the existing workforce obsolete. The company decided to launch a specific program, with the support of an external consultant to improve the situation.
Namely, they wanted to speed up and strengthen the implementation of the defined Centers of Excellence and to achieve a better flexibility of resource allocation to various programs while maintaining the service level.
Assessing for the Transformation
Evaluate the implementation status of the target organization, obtain a clear perspective of the ongoing activities, assess workload drivers and performance ratios and define the change program to achieve the target state.
The first step consisted in the assessment of the present business principles of the various parts of the organization.
Organizational blueprints were defined to align progressively the various elementary units on the same set of principles. During that phase the span of control and number of layers were adjusted to state-of-the-art levels. The second step consisted in the analysis of the activity drivers and the inventory of the current project portfolio. Projects were classified in various categories. Most interesting projects expanded to the entire organization and lesser impact projects pruned to reduce complexity. During that phase the make or buy and talent management policies were redefined.
After the careful assessment of the current state of the organization’s model, the best new practices were identified and the areas of potential improvement. An alignment of all departments was performed in order to achieve the transformation needed to reach the desired goals.
A Clear Vision and Plan Results in Efficiency Gains
The Executive Team of the organization was very pleased with the results.

A Reference Book describing the common Engineering organization and interfaces was created
Unified Vision and Action Plan were developed consistent across all Centers of Excellence Resources Allocation Program was developed and the Eternalization Strategy created
Performance Management KPIs were outlined

Thanks to all those actions, beyond achieving the organizational and collaboration benefits 15% in efficiency gains were made.

Additional Information

New Evolved Perspective Bringing People and Enterprises To Higher Achievements
We are living in a time of an evolutionary change in how we do business – a big transformation is taking place today.
The old paradigm of linear, mechanistic, control-based approach is shifting toward a lot more life-sustainable and organic growth approach. We are witnessing a higher human consciousness in enterprising, at least more evident in a number of industries. Eco-friendly products and services, and human-centric strategies are becoming more relevant than ever in today’s delicate global business environment. The world is more connected and open, with businesses at the fore front at this major shift.
If your organization wishes to be a part of this new positive shift, here are a few characteristics to look at:
 

Open Minded Leadership

Executives of the past had a more controlling role, and authoritative style of work, in today’s infinitely connected global world, shaped by personal freedom and mobile technology, as well as social media, leaders need to interact with a much wider audience on an equal basis. They need to have an open dialogue and be receptive of opinions and ideas in a more democratic way. This type of interaction simply affirms and promotes a nurturing culture to the benefit of not just the organization but society in general.
 

New Value Definition

If pleasing shareholders was the main agenda of the past, the new shift of consciousness today, goes beyond that and centers on creating bigger value. Stakeholders are the new players working towards creating that value driven by new principles. Value that supports the environment, the health and well-being of employees, and nurtures communities and worthy causes.
 

New Responsibilities

We can no longer ignore environmental issues, sustainability, and regeneration of resources and workforce. Responsible strategic and business operational models are the new norm, and companies who neglect that are jeopardizing their future.
 

People First

Some of the biggest companies in the world now, like Facebook and Google, offer the best working environment promoting creativity and independence. Enjoyable work places, collaboration, and empowering small teams are leading indicators  of progressive business culture. People are not just employees, they are participants and contributors. When the personal interest overlaps with the company’s purpose, greater growth is achieved. Recent data analyzing companies’ performance, proved that those type of progressive organizations now consistently outperform the older types of mechanical, authoritative style ones. The central idea here is that businesses are more successful because of the people who build them and operate them. Providing the space for personal growth is the best strategy to nurture your enterprise’s growth too.
There are plenty examples of more socially conscious enterprises, non-profit organizations and businesses who are very committed to the new attitudes.
Let’s hope that many more follow in their footsteps, and choose life-affirming and purpose driven practices.
 
For Further Reading –

How New Technology Is Forcing Organizational Evolution

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About The Consulting Playbook
The Consulting Playbook is a collection of posts designed to offer insights into how businesses and their executives can utilize consulting as a strategic lever to boost performance. Each Consulting Playbook post is broken down into a few elements: Case Study, Additional Information regarding the technical application, and Additional Links related to the topic.

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