Beware of Manufacturing Consultants Who Do These 4 Things
Consultants are the best of the best, bringing specialized knowledge into your workplace to make calculated improvements that better your business. Consultants also come with a price tag — hefty fees for a valuable service. The idea is that the return on investment (ROI) from consultant-driven improvements will recoup the cost of hiring them in a relatively short time. But that all depends on whether the manufacturing consultant you’re hiring is actually worth their price tag.
Even major manufacturers can get burned if they decide to bring on a consultant who isn’t equipped for the job or can’t handle the scope of work involved. But it’s not always easy to spot a fraud or someone underequipped. A consultant who presents themselves as an authority may cover the gaps in their abilities well. Here’s what to look out for to avoid spending money on a costly mistake:
- Avoid any consultant who immediately suggests huge operational cuts in their evaluation. Cuts and scale-backs may be appropriate, but they’re also likely apparent and you’ve probably looked at them already. Look for consultants with the initiative to reframe your goals from different angles. If cost-cutting is the best way to achieve your goals, so be it — but it shouldn’t be the only method your consultant considers.
- Many manufacturing consultants only have general factory experience, not industry-specific insight. In a sector as broad as manufacturing, this may become a problem. Chemical manufacturing is much different than fabricated metal products, which is very different from electronics manufacturing. Each niche has its own unique challenges. Make sure you’re hiring someone with specific experience in dealing with the challenges of your industry.
- Too many consultants work from a script and don’t customize solutions. This one-size-fits-all approach is often touted as a “proven method” or part of the consultant’s “playbook.” The reality is that unique situations require unique solutions. It’s okay to draw from past experiences or case studies for methodology, but the solution needs to fit the demands of your factory’s goals. Be wary of consultants who think they can shove new variables into a standard equation and get the right results.
- Beware consultants who seek to over-throttle operations to squeeze out extra profit. If your goals involve bottom-line growth, some consultants see this as an opportunity to redline operations to make it look like they’re effectively improving things. But driving operations harder and faster only leads to eventual burnout. Look for a consultant with a long-term approach to operational growth and sustainability, not someone who knows how to crack a whip.
Distinguished consultants aren’t hard to find — it’s just a matter of finding them before someone less experienced takes the reins of your factory. Effective consultants may cost more or take a bit longer to enact their plan, but the ROI they help generate is well worth it. Beware of consultants that over-promise, under-deliver, and formulate strategies without a forward-thinking, sustainable mindset.