Updated: Aug 13
It is always a tricky decision to take consultants to solve internal problems and challenges.
Like all decisions, it has pros and cons, and you still need to choose carefully who you want to work with. However, consultants have some advantages and we will give you some tips to help you make the leap.
External view on your business:
When you are full speed in and fire fighting every day, working hard to keep you business growing or even keep it afloat, you may not have much time stepping back and thinking about how you could improve your operations on the long run, with substantial impact. You tend to have some internal bias towards the operations you created. Someone from outside your business could help you do that and ask the right questions, quickly providing you with the view you never thought about.
You don’t have the competencies in house:
Some projects may require specific competencies. It may happen that your team does not have those competencies, and instead of having them spending time searching the internet to try to figure it out, an external person with experience in such project can be a quick win and avoid the project stalling because of that lack of competencies. Take inventory management for example, having to set up the good practices in your newly operating warehouse can be a challenge, but a Supply Chain Consultant can do it quickly and efficiently.
You need external resources for a specific project:
Your team works hard on your operations and while you know you have a specific need for improvement, and have defined it, you are lacking the extra resource to make it happen. By calling in someone from outside, that gives the extra push to your project to be implemented and provides the needed cutting edge advantage to your business.
You just got a new project involving Supply Chain Management in a country you have no presence in. You could either fly your people in and out on regular basis, but that could be really expensive and at the expense of some other projects you have. Another solution could be to just take someone closer geographically, who can easily hop in and out of your project and support the design or implementation under your supervision.
Solving a painful problem you can’t solve yourself:
We bring expertise and solutions from various industries with similar challenges. Sometimes, painful problems cannot be solved internally for various reasons (lack of time, expertise, capacity…). Consultants proposing a solutions can make you save huge amounts of money, or just boost your bottom line on the long run. And when the consultants have been exposed to similar problems before, results can happen very fast.
Internal managers always end up having to manage the internal short term issues and fire fight to keep the operations afloat. On the contrary, a consultant will not have that constraint and therefore can focus on the problem to solve and the long term action he needs to implement.
Additionally, Supply Chain and logistics operations in Africa are very different to the ones in Western countries, and do not work on the same standards. Markets are smaller, in some countries political instability, fast changing regulations or poor infrastructure make the supply chain very difficult to manage. On top of that, the demand side is as complicated, having immature distributors, no data to rely on for forecasting or planning your market, fast changes in customers behaviours. All the above make the penetration in each African country a challenge for your Supply Chain if you want to keep your operating costs fairly controlled.
For a foreign company, hiring a Supply Chain consultant with extensive experience in the country of operations is an advantage which can make you save a lot of money, either directly or indirectly. So consider it and even if each country and each company / operation is different, think of it as an investment which can help you succeed in that new market.
We can also help you make the decision. Talk to us and we will let you know whether it is a project for a consultant or for internal operations.
If you have questions about inventory management or need any consulting services on that, please contact us or at email@example.com.