Sustainable SCM Assuming a Greater Role in Consulting Services

image: consulting services“If procurement doesn’t know what happened at the end of a project, then when it comes to trying to play a more strategic role and help to advise people on the use of consultants at the start of a project they are in the dark. The loops are never quite closed for them and that makes it difficult.”

This quote was taken from a recent Supply Management post, Purchasers Must Evaluate Consultancy Performance, which explores the imperative role of sustainable supply chain professionals in the acquisition and performance assessment of service provider.  Specifically targeting professional consulting service, the article argues for a heavier hand by procurement.

  • Early involvement: Procurement managers should get involved at the earliest stage of a project, even before the decision to use a management consultancy has been made. They should be present when internal stakeholders are deciding on what work will be handed to the consultant and what is expected. The procurement manager is then considered a strategic partner in the project.
  • Internal relationships: It is imperative to build good internal relationships with the end users of consulting within the organization. This ensures there is a mature dialogue when it comes to deciding what aspects worked and what didn’t work in the post-project evaluation. If there has been a consulting project that has gone wrong the end-user may feel threatened that it reflects badly on them unless there is a strong relationship with procurement.
  • Establish milestones: At the outset of a project milestones must be set. The more effort that goes into the scoping and definition of these upfront the better the outcome is likely to be. There should be meetings with the consultant, end-user and procurement to check the project’s progress at pre-agreed points.
  • Metrics: it is not always easy to measure the performance of a consultant. As it is a fluid discipline its outcomes are not always definable. In the case of some projects, if a consultant is cutting costs by 10 percent that can be easily measured. But if the consultant is changing the strategy the results may not be visible immediately – it may take two years to see them.

While service industries don't have smokestacks and may have less environmental impacts than a manufacturing facility, they too can benefit from sustainable business strategies to mitigate risks and capture new business opportunities.  Our business sustainability consulting practice encourages our clients to leverage the aligned interest of a sustainable supply chain to drive greater business sustainability.  We believe this will enable the entire value chain to meet it common goals of profit, growth, and revenue while positively impacting the environment and social realms in which it operates.   Visit with us at Taiga Company to learn more.

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