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Self-Diagnostic to Improve the Management of Your Consulting Spend

Do you currently employ consultants on a regular basis? Perhaps you consider consultants a negligible part of your budget and overall business strategy—there for small, niche projects when you need them and gone as soon as that business is concluded. However, from our experience, consulting spend can represent millions of dollars for companies, and if not properly managed (or managed at all), you’ll miss out on the strategic opportunities a consultant can provide.

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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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3 Essentials When You Present Your Proposal to the Client

Sweat trickled down Bernie’s neck.
He sat in the lobby with his briefcase balanced on his knees, panicking.
His meeting with the client was scheduled for 3pm. It was now 3.09 and no sign of the client. None of this waiting around was doing his nerves any good. The longer he waited, the more time he had to forget his practiced lines and get his thoughts jumbled.
Bernie was a top-notch consultant. His clients loved him. Whether it was improving processes, cutting costs, or finding efficiencies in already super-streamlined processes; Bernie worked magic on his clients’ businesses.
His firm held him out to their other employees as the bright light; the example that everyone else should follow. They proudly shared feedback they had received from customers about the projects Bernie had worked on. Not a year had passed where Bernie hadn’t been the recipient of a huge bonus.
People who had worked with Bernie knew he was good, but they also knew about his weakness.
Bernie was deathly scared of public speaking. When it came time to do presentations, Bernie went from hero to zero. And this was a big problem… Because, for Bernie to work his consulting magic, he first had to present the client with a proposal and convince them that he had some magic tricks to share.
That’s where Bernie found himself right now. Sweating up a storm in the lead up to a presentation to convince a client he was the confident, self-assured guy for the job. The thought of “being confident” brought the sweat in gushes.
At 3.14 the receptionist called his name. “Apologies for the wait, Mr. Jones. Mr. Grisham will see you now in room 3.”
Bernie’s heart rate shifted from “fast” to “gallop”. He picked up his things, dropped his briefcase, picked it up again, and then made his way to meeting room 3.
*
Unless he’s very lucky, Bernie’s presentation is going to be a tough one. Have you ever found yourself in Bernie’s position? Feeling as though if you could just get past the presentation part, everything else would be a breeze?
Next time you have a proposal presentation coming up, focus less on your anxiety about public speaking and your fear around making mistakes. Focus instead on the people you are speaking to and how you can help them. This will not only improve your presentation, it will also reduce your nerves.
If you want to get your next proposal accepted by the client, here are 3 essentials for your presentation:
1. Empathize with your listeners
When you have a presentation to do it can be tempting to just want to “get it done”. You rush through it as fast as possible because you know you’re going to feel more comfortable when you get to the end.
There’s a big problem with this approach. You’re focused on yourself, not your audience.
When you focus on yourself in a presentation– how you feel, who’s judging you, how embarrassing this is –the message of who you care about is transmitted loud and clear to your audience.
When the audience understands you don’t care about them, and that you’re just trying to “get it done”, they disengage from you and your message.
To keep the audience with you, to influence and persuade them, you need to empathize with them.
That means focus on them. Forget about how you feel and focus on how they feel.
In the lead up to, and during, your presentation, think about the audience. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes. When you do this your presentation will be better received.
2. Clearly outline the benefits of your proposal
If you don’t tell the client what’s in it for them you give them no reason to listen to you.
You start out with their undivided attention, so don’t squander it by not showing them explicitly how their lives will be better.
Talk about the benefits of your proposal rather than the features.
Let’s look at a TV remote as an example.
Imagine you’re selling TV remotes, back when they were first introduced.
Selling on features sounds like, “This button changes the channel. This button switches the TV on and off. The infra-red beam has a range of 10 feet.”
Selling on benefits sounds like, “Now when you want to change channels you can do it while you sit in your comfortable sofa, enjoying your beer.“
Benefits beat features because you’re building an image in your customer’s mind about how their life is going to improve.
3. Contrast before and after
Another way to paint a clear picture for your client is to contrast before and after.
Outline for your client the problems that they are currently experiencing and then show them what they can expect once they have accepted your proposal.
In summary, when you empathize with your client, you show them how they can benefit from your proposal, and you contrast before and after you set the stage for a winning bid.

A new way to look at top consulting firms?

Attention executives: if you are considering outsourcing a project to a consulting firm, whether or not you have hired consultants before, we have great news—there’s a new way to view the value of the right consultant.
Did you know that executives who pay close attention, beginning with the procurement of the consultant through the completion of the project (including debriefing and follow-up), have a bonus waiting for them? It is that partnering with the right top consulting firm on a project offers unexpected key business lessons.
First, let’s look at what we mean by a “top consulting firm.”
You have heard the saying, “you can’t eat prestige.” Prestige has its place, but let’s face it: you can procure high-quality consulting services at a cost that fits into the budget of any enterprise. Creating a company budget crisis by opting for a global-brand consultant simply makes no practical sense. That consulting firm may offer one solution while putting a large enough dent in your budget, so that other projects suffer.
So where does that leave your consulting procurement? Actually in a better place! Here’s why.
A top consulting firm is one that has the skills and experience to meet your current project needs as well as complement your company’s culture and budget. The right firm may be a smaller boutique firm that specializes in just the type of project you have at hand, or a larger firm with the sub-specialty that you seek.
A top firm, then, has a track record of being in the right place for the right project, solid working relationships, flexibility, adaptable solutions, and great follow-up.
Happily, this leads us directly to lesson number one.

Source Consultants

Optimizing indirect costs is an evergreen topic. Many companies have already regrouped their indirect procurement to better manage expenses.

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Balancing resources.
You have made the decision to pivot to a consultant as a way to solve a problem and, at the same time, manage your overhead. Why then jeopardize that balancing act with a consultant out of your price range?
Instead, opt for a consulting services advisor with a depth of experience in matching enterprises with high-quality consulting services at the right price point. As an added bonus, your procurement team will save time, since a highly efficient advisor will have accessed, reviewed, and rated a broad range of consulting services for you in advance.
Implied in balancing resources, of course, is the idea of adequate resources. Before you choose a consultant, prepare thoroughly the scoping and the phasing of the project, and the necessary associated resources. You may realize that you don’t need the same resources for the different phases, and thus, decide to buy the phases separately. When you have chosen a consulting team, observe it during both the planning phase and the implementation phase of the project with a focus on balancing resources.
The planning phase is a strategic mapping session that identifies objectives, stakeholders, participants, and steps to success. Negotiating what constitutes adequate project resources (beyond procuring the consultant) is a key part of this phase.

Balancing resources in this phase often means applying some creativity in optimizing internal company resources at hand. Let’s say the consultant suggests that a person with a specific skill is needed for the project. Is there a person elsewhere in your company who has the right skill, perhaps from a prior workplace or career, and who is able to participate?
Now for implementation. Notice how the consulting team balances the utilization of people available to them on the project—and also within their own consulting team. That’s an example of project team leadership which manages to avoid burnout and staff turnover while getting the job done on time and within (a balanced) budget.
Notice, too, how the consultant encourages your team to share and conserve resources, and to be creative to resolve resource issues.
Marrying current knowledge plus experience
Lesson number two is about the value of taking a range of experiences and marrying them to the latest knowledge in the field.
Experience alone does not always optimize results. Do you want your child to be taught by a teacher who has taught for twenty years and who has “always done it this way”? Better to have a teacher with half the experience who stays current with the latest field-test results on pedagogical approaches.
Top consulting firms tend to have systems in place to ensure that team members share both knowledge and experiences.

They actively access—or contribute to—emerging thought leadership.

They debrief past projects internally (maintaining client confidentiality) to cull lessons.

Then they connect the dots from those experiences and ideas to your project.

Watch how your consultant draws on both her experience and her access to current intelligence in the field to fashion a solution that fits your needs perfectly. It looks something like this:
At a specific crossroad in the project, the consultant might say, Oh yes, I’ve seen this issue before. Company A handled it this way last year, but I just read where Company B solved it in a much more integrated way which would work well here, too.
Other examples will emerge as you debrief your consultant. It’s all about retaining knowledge, sharing it, and then connecting the dots to apply it appropriately.
Now it’s your turn: what is your takeaway lesson on marrying current knowledge and experience, and how will you apply that lesson across your enterprise?
The unforeseen significance of debriefing
Stifle that yawn.
Debriefing a project with a top consultant sometimes yields unforeseen golden nuggets if you know how to uncover them. For example:

Working on the project may have revealed talents among your employees that you had not been aware they possessed. Perhaps an employee’s leadership skills emerged.

Maybe a new way to reach potential customers or interface with current customers bubbled to the surface. How do you get that information to the marketing and sales teams?

Possibly the data provided to the project team also revealed tangential information that may be helpful to your company in another arena.

There is a simple way to ensure your access to these golden nuggets: insert into the consulting contract a paragraph requesting that the consultant document these types of data, even though they may be ancillary to the goals of the consulting project, and highlight them in her debriefing.
Working with a top consultant is an efficient way to meet your company’s current needs but it can offer a much richer value for the observant executive: new ways to think about balancing resources, marrying experience and ideas, and identifying new information during debriefings which, although ancillary to the specific project completed, may be significant to the company as a whole.
We now have reached bonus lesson number four:
Procuring the right consultant matters in more ways than it seemed before.
Competition among consulting teams currently is tighter than ever, but Consulting Quest has braved those choppy waters and stands ready to identify the perfect fit for your project and your company.

How to enjoy the value creation process

Welcome Professionals…
…as a top management consultant, we all want to create perfect results for our clients. But striving for perfectionism can actually constrain our value creation process.
For a long time in consulting business, I concentrated on achieving perfect results. At my former employer, we were especially great at pointing the attention to areas that were not perfect, yet. Each time when my project leader or partner or eventually the client found some flaws in my work, I used to beat myself up for that. I interpreted every necessary additional iteration loop as a defeat. I was striving for perfectionism.
Years later I was able to discover the drivers behind this behaviour and change my point of view. I recognized that it makes me very unhappy over time to strive for the perfect end product. The end product will never be perfect and if it was, I would already be busy with the next big thing. By having this tendency, it would be impossible for me to stop working and feel satisfied about it.
Today my motivation is different. I commit to delivering the best value I can in a given amount of time. I set time slots for me to work on a specific project and then do the best I can. I embrace opportunities for iteration, because it helps me improve my work. As an additional positive effect, it takes my client on a journey through my value creation process. Communicating intermediate steps and results makes my client value the work much more.
Everyday I try hard to concentrate on the value creation process! I am not attempting to create a perfect end product, but to give my best. Hopefully, that comes close in the end.

Safari in Consulting #1: CAUSA Consulting

Company Background
CAUSA is a small management consultancy specialized in strategic consultancy, sales enablement and communication. with offices in Berlin, Brussels and Wiesbaden, the company has extensive experience working with clients in commerce and politics on a European scale as well as on an international basis.

The company’s activities focused on innovative growth strategies and their analytical, structure and communication-oriented aspects. Having an international network with consultants in Brussels, Copenhagen and Washington D.C., as well as other partner organizations guarantees qualified support on the spot and an on-going exchange of experience.
The staffs have many years of experience in the public sector, as well as knowledge and competence acquired in private enterprise. The company’s clients include international and export-oriented SMEs, public institutions and listed companies.

Interview with Dr. Schössler, Managing Partner, Co-Founder

With decades of experiences working in both the public and the private sector, I developed the expertise in commercial, industrial and political consultancy. I founded CAUSA to better assist both sides with their growth and development initiatives.

Dr. Martin Schössler
CEO of Managing Partner, Co-Founder

Why did you found CAUSA and what were you driven by?

While working for The Economist Intelligence Unit (Martin was responsible for the Government and Financial Sector in Germany) I noticed that many clients wanted to go “beyond thought leadership” and not solely rely on whitepapers and studies. I was driven by the interest to establish a novel, hybrid business model in between the private and public sector where strategy consulting and outreach measures can be brought to the full effect for our clients. We also followed the request of our first client, SAP, to help them position one of their products for the public sector.

How does the company keep its niche positioning in the market and continuously generate values?

We need to constantly innovate. Over the years we have continuously progressed in our portfolio which includes now also digital assets and brand / platform development (for example https://www.luftfahrtistinnovation.de/ ) and we have also been of course challenged in a positive way by our clients which have quite complex tasks at hand, operate in a global context and need to keep track with the digital transformation. Very often, for instance when we won our first mandate from a top global Chinese IT company, we had to very quickly deliver results while still getting to know the finer cultural aspects which are quite important when you work so closely together. We spend a lot of time looking for the right people for our organization and we have started to focus more on C-level assignments and larger transformative projects where we support our clients for several years, including sparring and coaching elements.

What is the top piece of insight you have for the Safari in consulting readers -many of them are executives of companies and consultancies?

The business impact of government is often overlooked, yet the second most impactful element when it comes to business success. Executives should spend more time with government representatives and vice versa, the cultural divide is surprisingly large and growing due to the ongoing specialization in both sectors. The public sector is also a much more interesting and rewarding client when it comes to services and products that can be offered from the private sector in contrast to the public image. It is also able to provide an excellent context to large-scale implementation of new services and platforms, especially in IT which at this scale is simply not possible in the private sector. So at first i would suggest raising the level of interaction with public sector and government representatives, and second increase the effort to sell to the public sector – the reward will be substantial and also the learning when it comes to societal and foreign policy and security policy issues.

How do you see the future of CAUSA? What hopes/expectations do you have for the company?

We will further expand our portfolio to establish our own platform where we can deliver much improved law impact prognosis for our clients, organized in agenda streams, like automotive etc. This will be a separate business that we will launch in 2018, so we are happy to welcome the first beta testers from early summer. My aim is also to add more skilled partners at the company and expand our business to add mandates in the SME space. We will also expand our sales enablement platform where we have generated substantial new mandates which we will be able to announce in April.

Lastly, what advice do you have for students who are hoping to launch a career in Consulting?

Try to establish your own business before joining a larger firm or work / serve in a versatile field like government or even sports or the military. Also, in your studies, don´t stop at the Bachelor level and do a maximum of two – but meaningful – internships. Try to publish your ideas on how to improve specific items of public interest and engage in political debates early on to get an impression of the full societal spectrum. Also, everything you ever thought about as a kid is now possible as a job ,-)

For more information about the company, visit http://www.causa-c.de.
Are you a niche consulting firm that would like to be featured? Or do you know any interesting consulting firms we should reach out to? Let us know! Contact us at: info@consultingquest.com
For more specialist consulting firms, you can check out our Global Directory –with over 3000+ consulting firms around the world.

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The African Market Structure is still driven by the large Companies

Welcome to the fourth issue of our 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 Top Three Capabilities in the African consulting market are Strategy, Human Capital and Operations. The total number of capabilities covered on average is 2.5 and almost a quarter of the consulting firms is specialized in only one capability.
In this issue, we will take a look at the top Consulting industries the region and how they compare to those on a global scale.

The Industries
According to Consulting Quest’s research and data from the Global Directory, the Top Three Industries of the African Consulting market are 1) Financial Services; 2) Health & Life Sciences and 3) Energy & Environment. Interestingly, the consulting offering does not reflect the local needs, which are primarily rooted in Agriculture, Natural Resources and  Financial Services.
In addition, over 14% of the consulting firms in Africa are specialized in one industry, yet the total industries covered on average is 6.3. This finding is congruent with our previous observation that large global Consulting Firms are over-represented in the region compared to the rest of the world.
This post concludes our series on the African consulting market. In the next series, we will shift our focus to the Consulting market in Asia-Pacific and explore the unique consulting offering there. Stay tuned!

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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.

The African Consulting Market is focused on Strategy and Human Capital

Welcome to the fourth 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 Large Consulting Firms (with 1000+ employees) make up one-third of the consulting firms in Africa. 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.
In this issue, we will take a look at the top capabilities of the Consulting Firms in the region and how the figure compares to that on a global scale.

The Capabilities
According to Consulting Quest’s research and data from the Global Directory, the Top Three Capabilities in the African consulting market are Strategy, Human Capital and Operations. Technology, being the most common capability among large companies (with 1000+ Employees), is the #4 biggest capability in the region, while it is only ranked #6 globally.
The total number of capabilities covered on average is 2.5. Interestingly, however, almost a quarter of the consulting firms in Africa is specialized in only one capability. Niche, local and small consulting firms are on the rise.
In the next issue we will dive into the Industries of the consulting offering and explain how the overall consulting offering is not reflecting yet the local needs.
 

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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.

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A Practical Guide to Setting Up Your Consulting Business

You are an expert in your field, have established a stellar professional reputation, and now you are ready to strike out on your own and start a consulting business. You may be itching to jump in and get started, but like any business, having a solid and well-thought-out plan is essential to your success. This practical guide to setting up your consulting business is your first step to the successful launch of your business. Read on, then get ready to roll up your sleeves!
Start with a self-assessment
The very first step you should take, before you even begin to set up your business, is to do an honest self-assessment. Ask yourself these questions before moving any further. When you are done, you’ll have a clear idea of your motivation.
1. Is this the right professional decision for you?
Starting a consulting business isn’t for everyone, even if you are very skilled at what you do. It’s important to be sure you are making this decision for the right reasons and that it will further (not hinder) your professional achievements. What is motivating you to take this step now? Are you feeling stagnant at work? Have you reached a point in your career where this is the logical next step? By defining your why, you’ll be better able to decide if this is the right decision at this time.
2. Do you have the skill set to proceed?
Clients hire consultants for their knowledge, and the foundation of any successful consulting business is expertise. However, starting and running a business requires a variety of business skills and, most importantly, a lot of determination. Be sure you’re prepared to handle ALL of the responsibilities that come with running a consulting business, not just the consulting.
3. Is there a market for your business?
You can spend all the money you want on a slick marketing campaign, but it will be for nothing if there are no takers in your market. How many other consultants in your market are in the same field as you? If your market is saturated, you’ll need to be prepared to compete with other consultants for business. Take a look at the other consultants in your field, and see what they are doing. What can you bring to the table that is unique? What do you offer that will bring clients to your door?
4. Are your numbers and gut feel in sync?
It may be tempting to hitch onto that gut instinct, and just go with it. Branching off and starting your own business may seem romantic and adventurous, but the real goal is to build a business with longevity. You don’t want to have to close up shop a year from now, when you realize your money can no longer support the business. Run a check-up of your financial health. Do you have enough funds to live on while you start your business? How much money do you have to invest in start-up costs, and how much will you need to borrow? This is also where your research into your market will help. Is your market viable enough to make the initial investment of funds worth it?
Once you’ve made your way through these questions, and you are confident that this is the right decision for your career, it’s time to get down to the real work.

Launching Your Consulting Business
The next several steps will guide you through the essentials to starting your business. Follow these steps carefully, and you will be well on your way to a fulfilling and exciting consulting career.
1. Determine your value proposition.
This is where you define your mission. Why are you doing this, what makes you different, and how will it help your clients? A value proposition is a short summary of your business, what it offers, and the reasons why a client would want to buy from you instead of someone else. Keep it clear and concise, and seize the opportunity to differentiate yourself. Decide if you will present yourself as a generalist or a specialist. Will you propose specific products or formalise them as you go? Make this clear in your value proposition
You’ll want it to say 3 things: what do you do, what makes you unique, and how will your clients benefit.
2. Create a business identity.
This is where you get to brainstorm what your business will look like. What will you call your business? Will you use a slogan or tagline? If you have the skills, create a logo; otherwise, investigate companies that can help you design one. Create a uniform identity that will be recognizable in your market to appear on business cards and other marketing materials.

Launch your Consultancy

Here are the 10 commandments of a great consultant, to maximize your potential…

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3. Set up the administrative foundation.
Next, you’ll need to focus on setting up a proper work environment and administrative framework. Will you be working from home or setting up in an office? Define your space, then move on to details like office furniture, computers, software, and other technology. Set up internet and a phone number, with options to conference call or video call if you plan to conduct business from a distance. You’ll also need to acquire or draft your own legal documents, like contracts for business agreements with clients, and make sure you have satisfied all legal requirements for setting up a business in your area.
4. Create your marketing campaign.
Your business is set up, you’ve acquired your first launch client, but now you need more.
Your marketing campaign is what introduces you to potential clients and convinces them to learn more about what you have to offer. Start close to home and let all of your personal and business contacts know about your business. Send business cards out to everyone you have worked with in the past who may be in need of your services, or could provide a referral. Pick up the phone and start making calls. Get people talking about you and what you do!
Your marketing campaign should also include a professional website, social media profiles, brochures, and other printed materials. Have your logo, slogan, and anything else that is a part of your “look” on all of your marketing materials. You are creating a brand along with a business.
5. Decide on your fee structure.
Know in advance what you are going to ask in compensation for your services. Define your sales pitch and your selling tool kit for proposals. Consider gathering testimonials, slides, case studies, and printed materials that demonstrate your track record and the value of your services. Have your resume updated and ready to go.
Growing Your Consulting Business
Once your business is launched, your marketing campaign is going full blast, and you are beginning to negotiate with, or perhaps have already signed, a few clients, you want to continue to focus on building your client base.
1. Continue to leverage your personal network.
People who know you personally have an interest in seeing you succeed. Continue to remind your personal network about your new business.
2. Expand your network.
Next focus on expanding your professional network, both digitally and in person. Having a social media presence is a valuable tool in building a business. Consider not only professional networking sites, like LinkedIn, but also social ones, like Facebook and Twitter. Join in-person meet-up groups that bring together professionals in your field, and connect with businesses that may be in need of your services. Participate in local networking events to meet other professionals who might need or can refer your services. And don’t forget this one simple rule: ask your network to introduce you to other people who may be interested in your services.
3. Develop partnerships.
Relationships are key in business. Partner with consultants in other fields or professionals in a related industry who are willing to exclusively refer business to you in exchange for your exclusive referrals. As you continue to build your network of personal relationships, you’ll see more referrals over time.
4. Promote your services.
Become a walking and talking advertisement for your consulting business. While you’re getting things off the ground, you’ll need all the promotion you can get. Stay diligent! Build a strong digital and social media presence, market your services to your target audience, and even consider running special promotions to start building a clientele and establishing your business’s reputation.
Final Points to Remember
As you embark on this journey, it’s good to come back to these simple reminders.
1. Devote yourself to this new venture fully.
You won’t find massive success with half effort.
2. Value yourself.
You may be tempted to offer lower rates as a new business, but don’t undervalue your skills. Know what you are worth and stick with it!
3. Know when to walk away.
Don’t give up if you’re having a rough patch. The road to starting a new business is always bumpy. But, if you’ve been at it for a while and your heart is no longer in it, don’t hesitate to walk away if that feels like the right decision. Go back to the beginning of this guide and start at step one to reassess your passion for your business.
4. Have fun!
This is an exciting, new chapter in your life. Enjoy it!
Starting your consulting business will not be easy, but it will almost certainly be exciting and fulfilling. Let this practical guide be your starting point. Then, just keep it simple, stay the course, and enjoy the ride.

Consulting Playbook: Boosting on Time Delivery in Food Services

The Consulting Playbook, Edition #26
The delivery to a major client has spiked to an all-time high thus new buy concept and internal operations excellence booster was required. The shareholder and a major client too, needed a robust recovery plan of increased missing parts, avoiding new missing parts backlog and adequate measures for maintenance planning, headcount demand, flexibilization and supply chain optimization. The company decided to call for support from a consultant.
Creating and Implementing the Recovery Plan

Appointment of Recovery Manager was made to implement measures for recovery assignments from Management Board to shop floor level.
Diagnostic of the current situation, root cause analysis and Daily Action Tracking was implemented covering supply chain, synchronization of production control rooms, for all the three plants, enabling to achieve targets and recovery plan.
Design and application of workshops and meetings for reporting to shareholders and stakeholders, work councils conducted.
OEE was performed to stabilize recovery, and lean workshops done to enhance team’s understanding of the changes.
During the duration of the project, the consultant provided support to the CEO as Trusted Advisor, acting as sounding board to define the course of action and facilitating the convergence of stakeholders in a difficult period.

The Success of the Project Delivered Desired Outcome
An aligned recovery plan, daily management action tracker, weekly missing parts report were implemented. A stringent tracking process was applied with well-defined measures. There was a restored trust in transparency and management control by the shareholders achieved. A result and recipient oriented requirements catalogue was produced for Shareholders.

Additional Information

Are You Well-prepared for Crisis Management?
Check out Our List with 12 Points on Crisis Management Below
The Food industry is especially vulnerable to various types of crises, and many Executives feel that they can always improve their level of preparedness. Being good at crisis management should be a priority for Executives and designated employees. Food recall, Food disease outbreaks, and Product withdrawal can be extremely costly and cause serious supply disruption, as well as result in costly law suits by Consumer Advocacy groups, and the list with troubles goes on and on.
The public, your consumers, as well as the media can be unforgiving and your business, and organization can suffer serious damages. We like to think that your organization tales all necessary and legal measures, to avoid situations like that, but here are a few great insights on how to deal with crises.
12 Points List

The outcome of a crisis and the effect of your business strongly depends on how your company responds and the attitude it demonstrates.
Be prepared in advance, do not wait for an event to occur, and act afterwards. It might be too late, and the damages harder to control.
How quickly you respond and how flexible you are in dealing with the parties affected in the crisis is very important.
Big businesses have an advantage over smaller companies, as they are usually better organized and more prepared pre, during, and post-crisis period.
An essential part is to have a detailed Crisis Management plan in place, and the designated parties to be well-familiar with it.
Have a list with outside Experts who can help you manage the crisis.
Stay on top of the developments and have the latest information, so you can take the most effective actions.
Practice empathy and understanding of the affected party’s situation in the crisis.
Take responsibility and make necessary commitments in resolving the crisis.
Communicate honestly and openly with the media, outside vendors, the public, and finally with your team members and employees, to reach to the solutions as efficiently as possible.
Manage your cash flow – a crisis event might sometimes freeze your sales and cash flow completely, so it is crucial to have an action plan in moving forward and enough cash supply for business operations.
Plan with Insurance companies to protect your assets, business, and ensure the recovery steps and receiving compensation.

For Further Reading:

Food Safety Crisis Management
Crisis Management in the Food & Beverage Industry
Preparing for a crisis in your food business
Opportunities to Strengthen Your Brand
Crisis Management in the Food Chain – A Canadian Perspective

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.

Consulting Playbook: Building Modern HR Practices and How That Impacts Your Organization

The Consulting Playbook, Edition #5
Every business is a people’s business at its core. How you organize and manage your talent is essential to the health and the growth of your organization. Let’s have a look at some issues and top practices defining a modern and effective HR department.
The Demands of Global Growing Talent Needs
The organization referenced is a Global Holding Company operating designing and manufacturing air & space parts and vehicles that boasted a large workforce: > 150,000 FTE, with 25% engineers, and comprised of 5 main operating companies. The organization is among the leaders in servicing the Aviation, Aerospace and Defense industry. They have completed a major research project on the topic of “How to organize for growth in the Aerospace and Defense Industry”, and this research had specifically outlined improvements in the HR functions within a corporate environment.
HRD together with the Executive Committee had identified serious HR issues which had to be resolved on a Group level. The organization needed to recruit 5,000 engineers additionally in very specialized domains (composites, structures, propulsion). Other major areas of improvement included managerial culture, creating a sense of ownership, and establishing carrier bridges across the group of companies.
Corporate Business Academy Designed to Support New Initiatives
The Consultant developed a close working relationship with top HR team members (Group HR function + HRDs of operating companies) with an agenda to define HR priorities and create a blueprint of new strategy implementation. He also performed an analysis of the present organization’s structure at Group level, and in the operating companies to be able to determine commonalities and overlaps (interviews and benchmarks), and assess function and performance. During the design sessions with HR top team alternative design options were discussed and further revised. Corporate Business Academy was organized and prepared for launch. The role of the newly established academy would be to build and support the newly designed managerial culture of the Group HR process redefinition: candidacies, recruitment, evaluation, and training.
The Impact on the Business:

Established a common vision and action plan for Group HR functions
Refined the HR priorities and roadmap to implementation
New Resource allocation processes were outlined including Performance Management/KPIs, Key processes
Setup of a common improvement platform for all non-transactional processes (pay, time, non-specific training)
New HR Business Partner model was implemented across operating companies
Corporate Business Academy set to become a key factor of the Group culture

Here you can create the content that will be used within the module.

Additional Information

Effective Reorganization Methods for a Modern Global HR Operation
A modern and dynamic HR department has a tremendous impact on the business performance of any organization. As companies grow and their needs in qualified talent rises on a global scale, the demand for a progressive HR operation becomes even more ardent. If this component is so crucial, we had identified the key HR competency as following: familiarity with integrated talent management, understanding of workforce planning, and competency in social networking and new HR technology.
The Top 5 HR Practices that Can Make an Impact on Your Business:
1. Structured Governance and Business Case Development. In order for HR to best serve a business and build a successful business case, a close working relationship with the business leaders is a must. This will serve as foundation to understand the inner workings of the company, and involve the management in the planning process. It will also foster the full alignment…
2. Developing Advanced Workforce Planning Capabilities. Leading HR organizations today incorporate elaborate forecasting and workforce analytics into their processes. This enables them to apply company-wide talent, latest business data and external workforce data into practical insights that they can share with business leaders.
3. Implementing the right HR Philosophy – Leading HR organizations tend to commit to creating work environments enabling employees to thrive both as individuals and as a group. They clearly communicate expectations, the HR philosophy and mission, and actively engage in creating a positive environment. Innovation and collaboration, or creating the best place to work are their top priorities, while the least effective HR philosophies limit their focus on efficiency or cost-cutting efforts.
4. Reducing administrative work for HR Business Partners. A HR organization represents the link between the HR function and business leaders, a high-impact HR organization is able to advise senior business leaders on decision support, workforce planning, leadership development and executive coaching. Delegating the project to the right person, improves HR’s credibility across the enterprise, enhance working relationships with business leaders, cultivate mutual understanding and gain more influence. Poor performance in this area and narrow focus on administrative duties only, can actually reduce an HR function’s ability to work effectively.
5. Flexible HR Organization Design. Leading HR organizations are flexible and agile. Their structure allows adaptive movement when conditions dramatically change.  Centralized, decentralized model or a combination of the two, emerged as a predictor of HR success. Flexibility of the model is an important and valuable feature allowing an organization to adapt changes, and continue to grow and thrive.
For further reading:
– Reviewing the Functions of Global Human Resource Management
– The global and local HR function
– Challenges for human resource management and global business strategy

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.

6 steps to evaluate the quality of Consulting Proposals

Your winning RFP process has attracted a score of proposals. Once the elation of that bounty fades, you come face to face with the daunting task of selecting the winning proposal.
Don’t just dive right in. Never lose track of the notion that it’s not about just making a purchase—it’s about solving a problem for your company. That’s why this task cries out for employing a sure-fire process that marries alignment with inspiration.
In this post, we’ll look at how to evaluate the quality of a proposal with an eye towards identifying the highest-quality solution for your company’s needs.
Warning: this information may run afoul of the herd approach to RFP evaluation.
Funnel down to potential winners, setting aside the rest.
Think of the process as a funnel into which you pour all the proposals.

At the narrow end will settle just those proposals that, even at a first glance, make your heart skip a beat. At the least, they meet every one of your RFP’s criteria. Plus they landed in your inbox on time, are well-organized, and seem promising.

A bit higher up the funnel are the proposals that are slightly off-track but still workable. Maybe they came in late with a good rationale or missed an inconsequential step, but some look promising. You want to avoid eliminating a potential gem too early in the process.

At this point, your impulse will be to shred the rest. Stifle that impulse.
Yes, anything high up in the funnel should be set aside for now as an unlikely fit, but keep these two key cautionary notes in mind:

Don’t overlook or toss aside too quickly a proposal from an upstart entrepreneur with a great idea but less than desirable proposal-writing skills. There may be a way to have that idea become all or part of your business solution.

Be careful not to burn bridges when you send your response to vendors with rejected proposals, regardless of how you view their current proposal. Here’s why:  In an environment of rapid change, these vendors may evolve into great partners or suppliers. Moreover, your company’s needs can evolve to the point where you might realize that one of these rejected proposals now would be a good fit.

Source Consultants

What may get overlooked, however, is the critical point where the rubber will meet the road: how to follow up the work of the consultant.

Read More

Gather a team of proposal evaluators.
Okay—you now have the proposals in hand that, at first glance, meet your eligibility requirements and your other basic criteria. It’s time to get serious and pick your evaluation team.
Who might be among your team of reviewers? Procurement professionals, to be sure. Perhaps a senior executive or two, depending on the type of solution you are seeking.

Consider including end users where appropriate. One hallmark of innovative companies is that they view end users or customers as partners rather than consumers of a new product or service.

Seeking input from a range of stakeholders helps ensure that the evaluation process is perceived as fair and is more likely to result in selecting the best proposal for your company’s needs. Both of those are vital to successfully implement the new idea or project.

If your team lacks deep experience in the area of procurement processes, consider including a qualified and experienced consultant on the team to help build a process designed to procure the best solution for your company.
Review all the criteria: the forest and the trees.
Keep in mind that some people on your review team will be attuned to seeing the big picture—the forest—while others will focus on details—the trees. Having both types on your team is an advantage.

Start with these reminders:

Your project’s objectives which any winning proposal needs to fit.

Your corporate culture and the type of partner or supplier that might complement that culture and be the right fit.

The approach selected reinforce and support the overall purpose of the project, as such, depending on the context :

Look for an entrepreneurial approach and an idea that may act like a company spark plug.

Look for an approach that is innovative, original, breakthrough or transformational, and a concept your company can leverage.

Be on the lookout for a particularly intelligent solution using advanced technologies and outside-the-box thinking.

… Or look for a proven and reliable approach

Ask the team to review the proposed solutions along the lines of problem resolution, clarity, internal consistency, and ease of implementation, as well as outside-the-box approaches.
Next, jump to the standards:

Eligibility

Ethics and any potential conflicts of interest

Transparency in the content of the proposal

The proposal meets or exceeds all or nearly all the criteria in the RFP

Ease of implementation and future buy-in

How thoroughly did the vendor research your company’s needs?

Quality and expertise of the team that will deliver the job

How does the proposal price align with your budget?

The fun begins: scoring/weighting/ranking.
In the initial round, go for individual scores based on a matrix. Embed a weight to each scoring criterion.
Since we are limiting our discussion to the quality of the proposal, weighting may look like this, depending on your current needs:

meets functional requirements – 30%

aligns well with corporate culture / fit – 15%

inspirational, breakthrough thinking; originality – 15%

team expertise – 10%

quality of written proposal and clarity of deliverables – 10%

Price 20%

Next, gather the team back together to build a consensus score. Why? Procurement is one of the backbones of your company’s path to increasing its ROI and keeping its competitive edge. The procurement process is simply too important to be left to a flat averaging of reviewers’ scores.
What can you gain form a consensus score?

You get beneath an outlier number to identify whether that evaluator, for example, has had a past experience that has informed the scoring. A key learning experience!

On the other hand, perhaps a reviewer uses the scoring to put a personal agenda into play—a move that can be revealed in building consensus.

Finally, a consensus score is more likely to be perceived as fair on the part of potential partners and suppliers, as well as your employees and end users.

This all sounds as if it is more work than a simple matrix of X criteria and Y responses—and it is. But the outcome will be worth it: a workable solution that will help keep your company’s competitive edge.
Last, if none of the proposals fits either your requirements or your budget, do not hesitate to go have a second round of discussions with the short listed companines. The better consultants understand your needs, the better they will be able to tailor the solution (scope, timing, team size) to accomodate your requirements.
If you need assistance with meshing your procurement process with your company’s strategic priorities and market needs, Consulting Quest stands ready to support you with a global perspective and a tailored solution.

Consulting Playbook: Prepare a merger of equals with the customer in mind

The Consulting Playbook, Edition #16
 
When two Global Companies in the Food Services industry started planning a merger, they needed the help of a Consultant to design the new operating model of the new company.
The objectives were rather clear, economies of scale, better geographic coverage and access to new distribution channels.
However, one of the key concerns expressed by the management was the risk of losing focus during the transition of the two separate companies to an integrated one. Both companies were facing extreme competition in their respective areas and the merger could become a major distraction if not managed properly.
The main aspects the Consultant needed to offer expertise were alignment of the two companies’ different governing structure and practices, agreement on the new business model and on series of different issues. Their strategic priorities had to be coordinated too.
5 Steps to Align the Company’s Focal Points

Valuable input was gathered from the two CEOs and the rest of the executive team on the new operating model and the corporate center design. Would the corporate center act as a financial holding or rather be involved on the day-to-day operations? The company opted for a light corporate center providing strategic guidance and created a shared service center to optimize all transactional activities.
A detailed analysis of the two companies’ current state of operation was performed, to facilitate the new company’s launch and provide more insight for the transition and ensure a quick alignment with the refreshed group’s strategy.
Each corporate department of the new company was designed in group sessions that included a broad participation of executives and team members. Input by the groups on the two companies’ subsidiaries was gathered.
Top management worked on alignment of relocation efforts as many corporate centers were being rationalized at headquarter but also regional level.
Last, a transition team led by one of the two CEOs was created to manage day-to-day operations while the other CEO took the lead of the Integration effort.

A New Operating Model Leads the Way for a New Vision
The project was successfully completed with the adoption of a detailed new operating model. This helped the newly established entity to articulate the new corporate vision and to effectively manage new priorities as well as the balance of power between the manager of the two legacies.
Company’s mission statement was created with strategic alignment between all departments and roadshows were organized all over the world to communicate the vision and embark the teams.
The new management tone was defined, and the merger was successfully implemented.

Additional Information

Major Food Service Trends Shaping the Industry
From fine dining to food trucks this year we are seeing some interesting and significant trends. Usually new trends start at the top, with the top level dining and find their way into the lower levels of food service infrastructure. There is plenty of innovation and progressive trends to talk about affecting today’s food service industry. From Fast-casual, Fast-fine to  Fast-casual 2.0 establishments prove they are more innovative and ground breaking than Fine dining.
Main factors that are affecting the food industry lately, as expected, are technology and mobile apps, commodity prices variations, as traditional food services become more open and more dynamic.
The revolutionary aspects we are noticing are personalization, authenticity and brand new food and drink concepts developing in pace with consumers’ tastes.
Companies need to understand better what motivates consumers and what are they looking for when it comes to food and dining.
Top Three Consumer Trends Today Include

Mobility and Flexibility

Consumers want their food anywhere and anytime. Hot food bar, delis, sushi bars, salad bars, etc., are being offered in a variety of outlets from Fast-casual 2.0 and Upmarket casual to Grocery stores, plus there is various meal subscription services, meal delivery businesses, and more. This is creating additional competition for traditional restaurant operators, and they must adequately respond to. Keep innovating and attracting more customers, these outlets need to try hard to retain them too.

Extreme Choices in Food and Eating Styles

Some people are devotedly counting calories and looking for lower fat, fat-free, sugar-free types of foods, with the clear goal to lose weight and stay in shape. While others like to indulge, and eat anything and everything they like from solid and elaborate main courses to rich desserts and sweets, burgers, pizza, pasta and more. Customers just have a range of preferences. And they like to have choices readily available to them, whether they like to indulge or stay healthy and slim.

New Sources of Protein

Consumers are very concerned with protein, and where they get their proteins from. New alternative sources of protein are sought after like quinoa, beans, cauliflower, poultry, fish, etc., beside the popular options like steaks and burgers.
A smart strategy for restaurants will be to offer a bigger variety of traditional and contemporary proteins to satisfy customers’ evolving tastes.
For Further Reading –
– Mergers & acquisitions: Latest news and analysis articles
– Food and Beverage Merger & Acquisition Activity for 2015
– Why more food industry mergers are likely to come
– How 10 Food Trends For 2016 Will Transform Restaurants
– Emerging Trends

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.

Step Up Your Commercial and Delivery Performance: Learn from the Big Guys

What is it that truly differentiates the commercial and delivery performance of consulting firms and that of the “big guys,” the large consulting firms?
It isn’t expertise. Your firm likely was founded by a former corporate senior partner or experienced corporate executive who has the skillset, experience, and seniority to offer high quality deliverables to clients. That background already confers on your founder and your firm all the credibility clients seek.
So what’s missing?
In addition to front-line expertise, the largest firms have a back office depth that provides a greater commercial edge. That back office support boosts the quality and speed of the firms’ deliverables by providing consultants and partners with a whole host of immediate, simultaneous functions:

research on prospective clients
the ability to improve slides overnight
checking and proofing documents
running online surveys and research
liaising with experts to investigate specific topics

If those support functions and their associated fixed costs seem out of reach for your consulting firm, we have great news: there are now specialized firms geared towards helping you step up your commercial and delivery performance by supplying the immediate back office services that will enable you to level the playing field and gain that competitive edge at a practical cost.
After all, you help your clients optimize their ROI by more efficient and effective alignment of costs and time. You now are able to do the same for your consulting firm by outsourcing cost-effective back office functions—which enables the optimal alignment of costs and time of your senior consultants.

The Juggling Act
It is a given that managing a successful consulting firm is a veritable juggling act, requiring a versatile skill-set that begins with deep expertise in your field, of course, but that is not sufficient.

Your proficiency needs to extend to both production and commercial activities.
You need to consistently maintain the highest standards in the quality of your deliverables.
At the same time, you need to juggle handling the high value-added work and the basic, elementary tasks of running your business, while keeping up with all the texts, calls, tweets, and emails.

All that juggling now takes place in a global business environment that drives client enterprises to squeeze more efficiency out of each work day, comply with evolving regulatory targets, get innovative, outsource more, and in general, work harder and faster to stay competitive. All that translates into more and more exciting and lucrative opportunities for consulting firms.
Unfortunately, as you no doubt have noticed, there is no magic wand to increase the number of hours in a consulting day. Finding ways to maximize your commercial and delivery performance, while imperative, is not easy—but it can be done by taking a page out of the big guys’ playbook.

Grow your Consultancy

Even though production in management consulting appears to be mostly intangible, there are still dimensions that can be measured…

Read More

Optimizing Productivity the Smart Way
Large consulting firms have found the formula that works to optimize the productivity of their partners and consultants: they free their frontline consultants from getting bogged down in handling all the basic and repetitive
back office
tasks. That freedom enables the consultants and partners to concentrate their time and effort on the high value-added activities, which optimizes productivity the smart way.
Here are just a few of the numerous tasks that the large firms transfer to their back office support team:

Enhancing the quality of the firm’s deliverables: accessing the slide template library, sending the slide deck overnight for a makeover in India, checking and proofreading documents for clients, and procuring translation services for documents and slides to be distributed multi-nationally.
Research activities: Verbatim analysis of computer-assisted interviews, proprietary online surveys, interviews and focus groups, accessing the network of experts; and reviewing breaking news in the client’s field.
Commercial tasks: review media related to client work, check recent stock price trends for the client and competitors, review analysts’ evaluations of the client and the field, and (a key one) prepare a new complete slide deck for a critical next-day meeting.

Stop for one moment and imagine what a boost your commercial and delivery performance would get from delegating many of these tasks. The result? The optimum alignment of cost and time in your consulting firm.
Outsourcing Your Back Office Tasks
Let’s say that you are on the verge of deciding to pivot to outsourcing your back office tasks to the right partner. Your immediate questions at this point are: who to turn to, and can your firm afford to do it?
Good questions. First, it is important to note that several firms are out there proposing to cover your support tasks for you. Identifying the one that meshes with your value proposition, your timeframes, your culture, and your vision will require a significant initial output of time, cost, and lost assignment opportunities during the vetting and start-up process.
There is a way to manage the outsourcing, however, that will make the pivot more attractive to boutique firms: pooling the back office task needs of multiple medium size consulting firms.
Pooling enables you to access those support services at an affordable price—which also enables you to control your budget and manage your financial risk.
Get Your Competitive Edge On
By leveraging this specialization of tasks, large consulting firms have achieved a significant competitive advantage. But those services are now within reach of firms like yours—and would offer you the boost you need to step up your game, differentiate your firm from the crowd, and get your competitive edge on.
So the only question left is…what are you waiting for?

Consulting Playbook: Boosting Accounting System to Increase Revenues

The Consulting Playbook, Edition #27
A new company focused on providing advanced manufacturing capabilities to aviation engine production companies needed to improve accounting systems and obtain startup capital. The company opted to use consultant’s help to develop financial accountability systems compliant with financing organizations oversight requirements, and to assist them with large negotiations related to the start-up funding.
Assessing the System in Place
First an assessment of the current accounting system capabilities was carried out. A thorough understanding of the additional reporting systems had to be made, and to figure out what was needed to meet the financing requirements. Subsequently – the options for off-the-shelf solutions were further evaluated. Findings on ROI and capabilities were presented to the CEO for approval. The unsuccessful off-the-shelf solutions that failed to bring in sufficient ROI had to be revised, and a new customized solution was requested by the CEO. An additional Excel reporting system was set up, using output from the accounting system which made it easier for users. The project’s closure consisted of standard work on how to interact with the Excel based project cost analysis system.
The Successfully Adopted New Methods Brought in Results
The Consulting project managed to deliver great benefits to the company where both accounting and reporting financial systems enabled a macro and a micro level financial analysis for each of their projects. The company also received several million dollars in startup funding.

Additional Information

The Importance of Accounting Software & Systems in Boosting Efficiency and ROI
Choosing the best Accounting systems and processes that fit your organization’s needs, and regularly looking for updates, should be a priority for today’s businesses. Here are some important features and issues to consider when evaluating the current Accounting program and methods:

Always be updated on the latest federal regulations demanding greater transparency and disclosure. You cannot afford to bypass these.
With the right accounting software your business will accelerate most of its operations, including better accuracy and reporting.
The power to collect and assimilate high-quality, up-to-date information, and send it to the right people at the right time gives your company a valuable, incalculable advantage in this era of regulatory scrutiny of financial statements.
Upgrading your current system will undoubtedly result in better ROI when done correctly. This is a driving factor for majority of organizations. A new Accounting system typically will pay for itself within few years after implemented.
To ensure higher ROI, you need to consider the following: the software and systems are tailored specifically to your industry; to the size of your company; the more functions you can delegate to it such as billing, human resource, etc., the less data inaccuracies will be, and your overall operations will be closer to a complete data integration.
Centralizing the company’s structure by incorporating more branches and departments into a single system, will save you a huge amount of time and money.

  For Further Reading:

A Return on Investment as a Metric for Evaluating
Improving Your Accounting System
How to Increase Profitability through Efficiency

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.

Consulting Playbook: Organize for Growth – a Winning Strategy for Survival

The Consulting Playbook, Edition #6
How Can You Boost Your Company’s Growth? The most recent economic downturn had lasting effects on many industries and businesses. It presented serious challenges to many organizations that had to embrace big changes in order to survive. But as it often happens, instead of simply adapting to the new market conditions, it is far better and more rewarding strategically as well as financially, to chase growth and expansion rather than mere adaptation.
Large Chemicals Conglomerate Rides Out the Recession
In the aftermath of the economic crisis a large Chemicals manufacturer was recovering. And in order for the company to overcome the effects of the downturn, the senior management decided to aggressively pursue growth. It was a tough call since the company has gone through many years of restructuring. As the project commenced it became clear that the company would need a solid and ambitious growth vision and a deep transformation. The CEO and the executive team agreed that a complete new management model was necessary to develop. Among the top priorities of the new vision were innovation skills, further development of the entrepreneurial culture and customer focus. They decided to hire a consultancy specialized in transformation.
Two-Phase Ambitious Approach Designed to Achieve Desired Transformation
The integrated team of consultants and the company’s executives decided to proceed in two phases.
The First Phase of the Transformation consisted of:

Establishing the architecture and the design principles of the new ensemble
Collaboration with the key stakeholders, the new governance and management model
Framing the desired behaviors with a specific focus on commitment and initiative
Reinforcing accountability and engagement by simplifying the organization’s set-up and reducing the levels of management

In Phase Two the focus was on further implementation of all the components and new policies such as:

Developing the Growth vision
Establishing a new management model based on the desired behaviors
Setting up the New Governance Placing strategy, P&L accountability and levers at Business Unit level

Re-organizing and decentralizing many of the functions to allocate necessary resources (procurement, research, etc.) under the authority of the reshaped business units, direct the remainder of corporate functions to excellence.
The Successful Completion of the Project
The consultant developed and launched a growth program that was the blueprint for the changes the company was planning to undertake. The official restart laid the foundation for the revamped structure of the company. The organization started a new chapter. Fast forward a few years, and now the company has stopped the continous restructuring, has an EBITDA growth in double digits, and is far exceeding its competitors.
The main area of transformation included simplified decentralized management model favoring effective leverage of entrepreneurial culture, growth dynamics, better responsiveness, and speed of decision making and execution.

Additional Information

Achieving Growth by Exploring New Markets with These Four New Strategies
Growing your business is very much about growing your markets at the core. Many new markets are promising but hard to penetrate. And that’s quite logical. An organization needs effective new strategies to enter uncharted territories. Only uniquely suited strategies for the new emerging markets are sufficient enough to bolster your chances for success in these areas.
History is full of business success stories from McDonald’s to Google showcasing the principle that if you are able to tap into newly-minted social trends, rapidly expanding technological innovations among consumers, and new types of consumption, communication, shopping, media and entertainment you are essentially capturing new trends and scaling up your business. These new markets can generate additional revenue, sizeable profits, solidify your share and extend your brand’s awareness. You can dominate your competition in most cases too.
But such lofty goals are not easy to achieve. First and foremost, you need the right strategies and quite often a new perspective to see things in a new light. Even though virgin markets are so attractive and rightfully merit companies interest, to succeed in them, requires new strategies.
Most of the familiar market measuring tools and techniques (such as tracking market share, profit margin trends and so on) do not work well in new markets since there are many variables and an uneven market terrain.
When developing strategy for new and emerging markets, here are 4 top trends that need to be addressed:
1. Educating Customers in New Markets by Uniting with Your Competition
In a new market, when dealing with recently and currently forming trends of consumption, consumers tend to be reluctant and just not used to the products or services in question. In these conditions, overcoming customer’s inertia will be priority. Addressing competition at that stage should not be a main concern. The real battle here will be winning the consumer’s trust and choices, and in many cases teaming up with competition in educating the customers, can be a win-win approach.
2. Selling Directly Can Work Better Compared to Using Established Channels
Selling directly to customers, especially in new and uncharted markets, offers a lot more freedom. Well-established channels can take time to develop, and you can exploit early opportunities via direct commerce with the end-user.
3. Timing Your Market Entry For Better Opportunities
There is no point to enter the game if you cannot capitalize on your advantage now, and stay ahead. It’s rather easy to lose your advantage of being the first in, so well-timed steps will be way more effective.
4. Aiming Small But Playing Big Actually
Tailor your offer and product features to target only a segment of the market. To be all things to all customers is most often a losing proposition. You simply can’t. And there is no point in it either.
There are many and substantial differences between new and old markets. But you can navigate through them very successfully using these ideas above.
For Further Reading:
– Rule of Three Marketing: Market Share and Market Dynamics
– New Business Models in Emerging Markets
– The Risks and Opportunities of Doing Business in Emerging Markets

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.

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What Is the Right Size for Your Consulting Team?

A consulting firm is a dynamic organization that is vulnerable to the fluctuations of the business cycle. New projects come and go, and the people who staff your firm tend to change over time. While you may not have current problems with recruitment, finding the appropriate level of staffing is tricky. A major economic event could shift the entire market, meaning that your company might quickly lose or gain projects that affect your staffing scheme. Whether you have too many staff on hand or not enough, firms rarely end up in the middle with the perfect number of consultants.

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The Consulting Procurement Process Doesn’t Stop With the Order

When does procurement turn into a partnership? The easy answer is that as soon as the order is placed, procurement is over and done with. But in reality, the procurement process doesn’t stop with the order. To be successful, it should be a long-term process that goes beyond the moment the contract is signed.

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The Consulting Procurement Process Doesn’t Stop With the Order

When does procurement turn into a partnership? The easy answer is that as soon as the order is placed, procurement is over and done with. But in reality, the procurement process doesn’t stop with the order. To be successful, it should be a long-term process that goes beyond the moment the contract is signed.

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