Why on earth would you want to hire a manufacturing consultant? To come in and tell you how to do things?
As the division manufacturing leader, surely you have:
- The perfect team - Your plants never miss anything in a process and always hit their targets.
- Perfect execution - Each plant flawlessly executes the introduction of new products, on time, and without problems.
- Marketing harmony - Changes dictated by marketing are always well received and understood by your team.
- Optimal supply chain - Your raw material sources are secure for your lifetime and always obtained at the lowest cost.
- Total cost control - Upper management’s dictates to annually lowering costs by X% can always be achieved without capital expenditure.
- A stable workforce - Your annual employee turnover is less than 1% and you never have to suffer a RIF while maintaining product output and quality.
- World-class quality - Speaking of quality, you lead your industry across all benchmarks and all your customers are happy.
Or is your reality just a bit different than the one described above?
Our collective experience from over seventy years of boots-on-the-ground manufacturing certainly didn’t look that perfect - and we continue to learn.
You definitely shouldn’t hire a manufacturing consultant just to come out and tell you what to do. But you might hire a consultant who will work with your team to help them deal with problems #1 through #7 (though it’s not a comprehensive list, by any means).
You don’t need to pay someone else to be master of the obvious or to belittle your talented plant team.
Worthwhile manufacturing consultants are highly attuned to the “can’t see the forest for the trees” syndrome.
They bring a fresh pair of eyes and outside experience - sometimes from another industry - that can have an immediate impact.
Sometimes it might be as simple as the consultant validating ideas generated by the plant team that need higher level support to gain traction.
Their experience can also be a short-cut to know-how – transferring knowledge to the plant team that goes a long way.
If you’re facing a specific challenge with a particular process or material, the right consultant can often help quickly and cost effectively (provided the project scope is well defined and has a clear timeframe and end point).
The best ones exude “been there, done that” and understand what you are going through on a professional and personal level.
If you are tearing your hair out, struggling with a problem for what seems like forever, then it’s time to hire a manufacturing consultant who can provide solutions, deliver training, and implement action items.
Competition, rising costs, ensuring product quality and customer satisfaction, and hitting deliverable targets mean your plant cannot be allowed to suffer for long periods of time. Bringing in outside support is the right call, not a sign of weakness.
There are times when outside leadership brings new, critical vision to inside leadership. And, as we often say: “You manage things, but you lead people.”
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