So why on earth would you want to hire a manufacturing consultant to come in and tell you how to do things?
After all, as the division manufacturing leader you have:
- The perfect team-your plants never miss anything in a process and always hits targets.
- Each plant flawlessly executes introduction of new products on time and without problems.
- Changes dictated by marketing are always well received and understood by your team.
- Your sources of raw material are secure for your lifetime and always obtained at the lowest cost.
- Upper management’s dictates of annually lowering costs by X% are always achieved without capital expenditures.
- Your annual employee turnover is under 1% and you never have to suffer a RIF while maintain product output and quality.
- Speaking of quality, you lead your industry in all measurements and all your customers are happy.
Is your reality just a bit different than described above? Our collective experience of over fifty years of boots on the ground manufacturing certainly was and we continue to learn.
You don’t want to hire a manufacturing consultant to come to you and tell you what to do but you might hire a consultant who will come in to work with your team to help with problems in No.’s 1 through 7, not a comprehensive list by any means. In other words, you do not need to pay someone else to be the master of the obvious or belittle your talented plant team. Sometimes it may be a matter of the consultant validating ideas from the plant team that need upper level support.
Manufacturing consultants are highly attuned to the “can’t see the forest for the trees” syndrome. Consultants bring outside experience-sometimes from another industry-that can have impact. The good ones can often show they have “been there, done that” and understand what you are going through on a professional and even personal level. Experience also provides short-cuts to know how which leads to knowledge transfer to the plant team that goes a long way.
If you have a specific issue with a specific process or material the right consultant can often help quickly and cost effectively. The scope of the project will define the specifics to address and have a timeframe with an ending point.
If you are tearing your hair out after struggling with a problem for what seems like forever, then it’s time to hire a manufacturing consultant to provide solutions, training, and implement action items. Competition, rising cost, customer quality, and deliverables do not allow the plant to suffer over long periods of time. Bringing in outside support is not a sign of weakness. We often say, “You manage things but you lead people.” At times outside leadership brings new vision to inside leadership.