Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:November 30th, 2009 10:12 EST
Management Consulting:The Way to Solve Organizational Issues and Increase Productivity

Management Consulting:The Way to Solve Organizational Issues and Increase Productivity

By Ron G Anselm

    The consulting industry has taken a big hit with the introduction of the recession and an economy that has downsized to record lows that have not been seen since the Chicago Cubs were a dominate factor in the National League Champion Series and I can`t remember when that was but it was a very long time ago.

   Nowadays, companies are cutting as much overhead expense as possible to be able to stay alive and are running on numbers that are forcing layoffs of employees and other employees to wear many hats to help keep the company going. This is not a good thing for anyone competing in the job market today. The older workers are having to take anything they can find even if this means a job at the drive Thru lane at Mc Donald`s and other people are tired of looking for a job and have given up completely.

   In my opinion, the economy and the way companies used to hire daily is going to be a thing of the past. Just like when the gas prices hit record highs, people still had to buy expensive gas because as we know, fuel and the energy industry is a commodity that everyone needs. No matter how high gas prices will rise, people still need to fuel their cars to get around and keep their life going.  With that thought, I remember I was sitting at an Exxon station in Chesapeake, Virginia about fifteen-years ago and I was filling up my car and happened to look at up the current gas price I was paying. I remember I got mad and thought to myself, what a rip-off! Ninety-nine cents a gallon! Yea right! I wished I could relive that moment again when it comes to gas prices, ninety-nine cents a gallon; we will never see that again.

     The same goes for organizations now and in the future. Companies used to forecast out a certain time period  their hiring needs and then start positing jobs  on their website, internal intranet and job search engines such as Monster.com, CareerBuilder, indeed.com on so on. They would collect as many resumes as possible, sort through the candidates they were interested in bringing in for an interview and then watch their numbers post to their books through each quarter and then set a date to start interviewing those candidates they were interested in for filling their future forecasted positions. 

     This is not the case anymore. Companies now realize since they have cut as many employees as possible for their business to survive that they don`t need those extra positions anymore. They can do more with fewer employees. This concept saves the company lots of money and streamlines the organization to thinner layers of management and employees.

     I remember when I got out of the military the first time. As I normally do when I am looking for a job, I hit the pavement early and pound the pavement all-day. I treat it as if I am working an eight hour a day job until I find a job. I would come home and have ten calls for interviews waiting on me the same day I went out looking. In other words, it did not take any time to find a job back then. Now, people are lucky if they can find a job within a year. The times are very different now my friend and may and may not ever get back to what they once were when it comes to the economy. I was recently reading on article that said the economy probably won`t recover and get back to normal for at least a decade and with tidbit of bad news and what I have been seeing lately, I tend to almost believe that. But what a scary thought that is to even imagine an economy so messed-up that most people will have to struggle to even make ends meet for a decade!

     People have to form the mind set as I mentioned in one of my past articles I wrote, You gotta do what you gotta do. " In any case, it is what it is and organizations need to still focus on satisfying their customers, saving money and increasing production at lower costs in this economy we are all a part of.

     With the economic turmoil and companies having to basically come up with plans and band aid fixes in a very short period of time to be able to survive, some of their quality has suffered. The term quality in this case refers to anything from manufacturing and fabricating quality products to the way the organizations run their business internally.

     One aspect organizations are still in the dark about how to do successfully is how to manage their inventory. In some of my past positions and for some organizations I have consulted for I have seen habits that have cost the companies six-figure incomes monthly and failed inventory audits because of their non-know how to manage their inventory system.

     Inventory is really a very simple concept to manage. If you plan accordingly and implement processes you can succeed. When I see an organization that has not planned their buying of inventory to fill their customer needs, support production and have inventory sitting on their warehouse shelves just growing dust and not selling, really hits a nerve with me.

     The organizations materials planner or if their internal jobs don`t have a materials planner but maybe a purchasing agent that does all the buying of materials and services, then that person needs to have a complete understanding of how the inventory system is supposed to work.

     Also, when I do a complete inventory audit on an organizations warehouse and I see a million inventory variances where the internal system inventory reports do not match what is physically sitting on the shelf per item and then you ask the warehouse manager where is the missing inventory or why is there an overage for that item and they look at you like a deer steering in headlights is another one of my pet peeves when it comes to managing inventory.

     I think most organizations today that have gone through extensive changes internally with personnel and processes as a result of the bad economy need to at least hire a consultant to go over and coach them on making adjustments and changes to their current processes if those processes are not working.

     A lot of companies have laid-off the workers that were making higher salaries and have kept the workers that are getting paid less. With this, their quality on employee know how, skill sets have suffered. Employees that had one job and were hired for that particular job have been given more jobs outside their skills sets such as warehouse management and so on when that employee was hired for sales. This is just an example but has happened to more than one organization.

     Hiring a consultant to come in and go over how the company should operate not just in managing their inventory but in every part of the make-up of the organization, recruiting, hiring, sales, customer service, human resources management, inventory management, supply chain process, business strategy, internal operations, process improvement, talent search and so on would not be a bad idea for a company to think about to be able to improve the organization as a whole and move forward successfully, also be able to weather the storm; the bad economy until those organizations can rehire workers with more knowledge in various areas that can prove to be an asset. There is a lot more to just hiring someone to fill a position when it comes to hiring the right person for the need of the organization.

     Hiring consultants that charge excessive amounts of money is not the way to go; most consultants charge a reasonable fee and normally can get the project done within a week or so. So, to spend a little extra money that could probably help a company now in this bad economic time and help to train the company for the future when hopefully times are much better is a good investment to consider.

     But like any industry now days, the consulting industry or business services industry has taken a big hit. Companies just can`t find the money to hire or hire a consultant to help them. And companies have cut their budgets on overhead which equates to operating thin and saving money.

     Most consulting firms are focused per business function and then business industry. A consulting firm may specialize in materials or inventory management and then specialize that focus within the automotive industry which really proves to the client that that firm is knowledgeable in their certain discipline.

     Another thought that organizations need to consider and some organization have already considered and followed through with this approach is to hire an internal consultant to work with the company. Most internal consultant can be found from external consulting firms or just a consultant that may specialize in a certain area of business.

     The added advantage to having a consultant on board one-hundred percent of the time is the benefit of cost saving. As I mentioned earlier, there are consulting firms out there that charge a lot of money for a consultant to get hired on for a certain period of time. This costs the company more and also if any future issues come up and the company needs to once again go out and hire external consultants to work with them will cost the company even more money in the future.

     Hiring an internal consultant saves the company money, is like having a full-time coach on board twenty-four seven and is a big benefit to the organization. Most internal consultants are qualified to lead and manage teams, and can be the liaison between the team of employees and management of the organization. Also, an internal consultant can work directly with outside or external consultant and act as the buffer between the organization and the outside consulting firms.

     There are some disadvantages to hiring an internal consultant versus an outside consulting firm but those disadvantages are very miniscule. The one disadvantage is finding the right consultant to get hired on by the organization that may pay that consultant less money in salary as opposed to what that internal consultant could make working as an external or outside consultant. This is not true in all cases but could prove to be a temporary hindrance. The other disadvantage is when the economy is down and times get tough as they are right now that internal consultant is part of the overhead of the company and is probably one of the first ones to get laid off. Like anything in this bad economy, anyone including organization need to do whatever they have to do to keep their organization operating efficiently  even if that means to hire a consultant to go over with them and help them rethink the way they do business which could prove to be a big benefit now and in the future.

     I do part-time consulting and have really seen the consulting industry slow down compared to a few years ago when the industry was reaching growth levels. I too plan to open a consulting firm but like any small business today, do it on the side with other things and start out slow.

     If you need to hire a consultant for any of your business needs, contact me. I can be reached at my E-mail address at (clovermorning@aol.com). I specialize in materials which include inventory control and inventory management, supply chain management which includes purchasing and distribution and I specialize in training which goes hand in hand with Human Resources management.

     Let me show you how I can help you maximize your profits for your inventory, streamline and speed-up your supply chain process to get your needed materials in-house in a timely manner to meet and exceed your production and manufacturing needs and meet your customer deadlines. And let me go over a training plan to ensure everyone of your employees are fully trained in their skill sets and even train them in additional skill sets which can benefit your organization and help them grow in your company.

     So, if your organization is stagnant at the present time due to economic reason and the bad economy, think about bringing in a consultant either on external consultant which can work with you in every area of your business and take the lead in any project needs you may have or bring in a internal consultant to be on your staff twenty-four seven which is almost like having a secure peace of mind to assure if any needs come up you are completely covered and hiring an internal consultant will also save your organization money in the long run.