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Lean Banking Can Transform Your Institution. Don’t ignore it.

Let’s start with the great news – financial institutions that are leveraging Lean banking operations achieve up to 30% cost reduction within 2 years, and are maintaining cost-efficient operations better than the average in the industry.
Lean processes are being adopted globally by organizations prone to inefficiency that are negatively affecting their earnings.

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10 Ways to Fully Optimize the Potential of Your Internal Consultants

10 Ways to Fully Optimize the Potential of Your Internal Consultants.

More and more client organizations have built an internal consulting, transformation team, or excellence group to over their recurring consulting needs. Their leadership now has the chance to execute their projects in-house or with the support of external consultants. A few years ago, the decision was invariably leaning towards external consultants, and some companies were externalizing their entire strategy to consulting firms.

10 Ways to Fully Optimize the Potential of Your Internal Consultants.
But things are changing. The experience gap between external consultancies and in-house consulting on strategic matters is shrinking.

“Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better.” – Bill Bradley

Internal consultants are becoming a solid alternative to external solutions, creating a healthy competition forcing both internal and external teams to deliver state-of-the-art performance.
Consulting is an important lever for business process improvement and acquiring a new perspective on your business’s stagnant areas.
Internal consultants are a valuable asset, as they can show you where processes break down and why, how projects are derailed and by who, and a whole host of other insights into the operation of your organization.
As an external consultant, your team members offer a variety of fresh perspectives that cannot be found in the manager’s office or the C-Suite.
There are advantages to work with internal and external consultants. The secret sauce lies in where, when, and how to use them.

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Sourcing a Consulting project is not rocket science. And it is very similar to sourcing other services.

1. Implement an efficient Internal Consulting Group –
When looking at your strategy and the challenges you face in the next 3 to 5 years, you can already identify some recurring consulting needs. A recurring, long-term, and well-defined need for consulting services is often a good start to build internal consulting capacity. However, deciding to set-up an Internal Consulting Group is only the first step. A few elements need to be there to secure sustainable results.
First of all, just like external consultants, internal groups need to have a clear value proposition. Even though you want the group to remain flexible, their core expertise and focus must be very clear. The group should describe the topics where their knowledge will have the most significant impact and the subjects they will not touch under any circumstances.
After that, the group has to demonstrate its value to the rest of the organization. The group has to win projects thanks to a superior impact on the organization. Many companies have tried to force the use of the internal Consulting Groups. They got the exact opposite effect they expected, and the Internal Groups were singled out as the root cause for project failure.
Last, even though the team could be kick-started through an injection of corporate funds, the team has to be able to fund itself by charging the internal clients. If the internal clients don’t see the value, the group will be short-lived.
2. Always elect the best fit based on your context and objectives –
Like any other consulting firm, an internal consulting group has its own Consulting DNA, which takes its roots in creating the group and the managers’ profiles. Unless you have an extended internal consulting group, your consultants’ skills and experience will probably be focused on a few capabilities: this is where you want to use them. Let’s imagine that your Company launched the internal group to rationalize the manufacturing capability. The internal team has developed operational effectiveness skills and experience. Bringing them on a high-level strategy project is a throw of dice.
When consultants are used to implementing painful decisions such as cost-cutting or making sure that teams are delivering synergies at an accelerated pace, good relationships are challenging to sustain. Internal consultants have to manage a situation where they will still be in the Company after the project. External consultants, on the other hand, can come and go without enduring the consequences. In that case, working with external consultants can be a better solution for the Company.
Last, you might have a well-organized make-or-buy decision process. In that case, why not integrate your internal consulting group in the competition for the projects where their skills and experience could be an advantage? It could also lead to setting up hybrid teams to reduce costs and ensure knowledge transfer.
3. Always measure the performance of your projects –
When you are running projects through your internal Consulting Group, it is essential to measure the impact of the projects and your internal clients’ satisfaction. Having feedback on their work is a fantastic tool to build improvement and development plans. Your internal consulting group will be able to grow their skills on the right dimensions and serve better their internal clients. It is also a compelling way to convince internal clients to use their services while comparing with similar external service providers.
 

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Hélène Laffitte

Co-founder & CEO at Consulting Quest

Hélène is the author of Smart Consulting Sourcing, a step by step guide to getting the best ROI from your Consuting. You can follow @helenelaffitte on Twitter.

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Hélène Laffitte is the CEO of Consulting Quest, a Global Performance-Driven Consulting Platform and author of “Smart Consulting Sourcing”, a step by step guide to getting the best ROI from your consulting. With a blend of experience in Procurement and Consulting, Hélène is passionate about helping Companies create more value through Consulting.

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This Week in Consulting: Can Consulting survive the take over of AI and analytics?

This Week in Consulting

Wednesday, November 27th 2019

Can Consulting survive the take over of AI and analytics?

THIS WEEK’S MUST READ
“As artificial intelligence takes over the capital markets, will consulting be far behind? The similarity between the two lies in their core: data. Just like traders, consultants offer a data-driven service. And, historically, data challenges have ensured the necessity of a human interface to the data. Data is messy. It is hard to process.​”
Management consulting which tends to view itself as an elite in the business world is vulnerable to AI, a disruptive force of the market.
This Week’s Must Read  is an insight piece from MITSloan where the authors explore the impact of AI and analytics on the “giving advice” industry. They encourage consultants to shift their mental model and identify the “true value” they are bringing to the clients.
Read on to Find out More: “Management Consulting’s AI-powered Existential Crisis “ |Megan Beck and Barry Libert, AIMatters.

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THIS WEEK’S VIDEO:

Meet Sheldon, the Future of Consulting by Emmanuel Jusserand, Partner at Accenture Digital Strategy​.

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

How data analytics are changing the consulting industry?: “As the digital revolution takes root in the consulting industry itself, tremendous opportunities to enhance the client experience are opening up and advising clients on leveraging analytics is now an entrenched part of modern consulting.  However, consultants must learn new skill sets to stay ahead of the disruption, according to experts at management consultancy OC&C Strategy.” Data analytics, smartly deployed, can provide premium insights into an organization’s performance metrics, and the complex changes happening around them. How are consulting practitioners embracing analytics to serve their clients better? | Virtuosi
AI May Soon Replace Even the Most Elite Consultants : “The shift to AI solutions will be a tough pill to swallow for the corporate consulting industry. According to recent research, the U.S. market for corporate advice alone is nearly $60 billion.  Almost all that advice is high cost and human-based.” “In 2017, the same authors, as the cover article, were anticipating how the Consulting Industry would face the disruptive impact of emerging technologies. How have things evolved in two years?. | Megan Beck and Barry Libert
How technology is disrupting the consulting industry: “While technology will see some aspects of work become less important, it will ultimately support and augment consulting work, freeing up labour to add value elsewhere in the firm. According to industry advocates, while tedious tasks could disappear or be outsourced to robots, the need for humans will always be there.” Technology is disrupting the consulting industry alright, changing when and why clients work with consultants, but also how consultants themselves work. But ultimately, isn’t technology just getting rid of the low-value activities and freeing consultants for the high-level consulting work?. | Consultancy.eu
Artificial Intelligence in the Consulting Industry: “The business world is becoming gradually more complex, technical and faster paced hence having a good understanding as to what type of information to collect and how to collect it, in order to create long term growth by launching new and innovative products, enter new markets or seek new sources of growth is vital and a must for businesses to succeed.” As Ai is developing, managers are less relying on consultants, but rather analytical tools, to make decisions. But likewise, the consultants can leverage AI to better their services for their clients. | Dauda Barry, Daudex
Top 12 Overlooked Challenges in Digital Transformation That Can Prove Costly to Clients and Consultants: “In the new digital economy era, the demand for change to the traditional consulting business model is more pressing than ever. Digital transformation is providing consultants with nearly 40% of their revenue, but still, there are plenty of challenges for Clients and Consultants as well.” This article provides several levers that can be implemented to guide Consultants and Clients willing to embrace digital. | Hélène Laffitte, Consulting Quest

TRENDS
On the same theme,here is a selection of conferences that you might find useful
 
AI Summit 2020 : here are a number of reasons to account for Ireland’s growing reputation as an Artificial Intelligence Island.
 
WORLD SUMMIT AI : The world’s leading and largest AI summit gathers the global AI ecosystem of Enterprise, BigTech, Startups, Investors and Science, the brightest brains in AI as speakers.

CONSULTING INDUSTRY NEWS

BNY Mellon saving hundreds of hours a year processing emails with AI: “Hans Brown, BNY Mellon’s global head of innovation, tells Finextra that the bank’s operations team has applied AI to the relatively mundane task of reading e-mails and auto-forwarding them to the relative department.” | Finextra
Deloitte Digital Wins Three Partner Innovation Awards at Dreamforce 2019: “Deloitte announced that it has received three Salesforce Partner Innovation awards in the B2C Commerce, Higher Education and Health Care and Life Sciences categories. Deloitte Digital was recognized for its work with True Alliance, Southern New Hampshire University and Amgen respectively. The awards were presented at Dreamforce 2019.” | PRNewswire
Twitter acquires London AI startup as it looks to target small businesses: “Twitter has snapped up artificial intelligence (AI) marketing platform Aiden as it looks to expand its advertising offering for small businesses.” |James Warrington, CityA.M
Bain & Company expands unpaid parental leave scheme in UK: “Global strategy consultancy Bain & Company has sought to improve the gender equality in its upper echelons by providing a parental leave package that does not “imply or even financially force the birth mother to become the primary care giver.” The new scheme will give new parents – regardless of gender – up to 52 weeks of leave with the first 26 weeks fully paid.” | Consultancy.uk

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The Consulting Quest Global Directory is the largest professionally-managed directory in the consulting industry. Searchable by consultancy , name or by region, capability or industry it lists and describes more than 6000 consultancies worldwide with links to their websites and social media channels.
 
 

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CONSULTING SOURCING TIPS

The New Way to Optimize Consulting for Maximum Impact – Key Points to Apply to Your Next Project ( Five Wrong Approach Scenarios and How to Avoid Them?)
"There is a way to do it better - find it." - Thomas Edison Consulting can create great value for ...Read More

Wanting to Read People’s Minds? Discover Instead the Best Sources and Publications on the Consulting Industry
What clients want? If there was a way to read people's minds, like in the movie "What Women Want" with ...Read More

Everything You Like to Know About In-House Consulting and How to Optimize Your Internal Consultants’ Potential
Your internal consulting, transformation team, or excellence group, is a great asset that can make every project a success. The ...Read More

About Consulting Quest

Consulting Quest is a global, performance-driven consulting platform founded in 2014 by former members of top 10 consulting firms with the objective of reinventing consultancy performance. With a worldwide presence and a range of proprietary performance measurement tools, we help companies navigate the consulting maze. We work with Consulting Clients to increase their performance through consulting and Consulting Providers to help them acquire new clients and to improve their performance.

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This Week in Consulting: Futur of Finance in the Digital Word

This Week in Consulting

Wednesday, November 20th 2019

Future of Finance in The Digital World

THIS WEEK’S MUST READ
“The digital world ‘feels’ different. Extraordinary economic changes are happening at such a fast pace. At a World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Accenture Chairman and CEO Pierre Naterme said: ‘Digital is the main reason just over half of the companies on the Fortune 500 have disappeared since the year 2000.​”
Historically, the finance function’s focus has been around promoting organizational efficiencies and reducing operational costs. Technology is allowing the finance function to refocus its energy on revenue and value creation.
This Week’s Must Read  is an insight piece from Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) where the authors help us to understand how finance functions meet the challenges their organizations face in a digital world
Read on to Find out More: “Re-inventing finance for a digital world “ | Dr. Martin Farrar, CGMA.

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THIS WEEK’S VIDEO:

Big Tech and the Future of Finance.

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

Future of Finance: Finance disrupted– “As we edge toward the third decade of the century, business-as-usual methodologies no longer keep pace with the tides of innovation and unprecedented change. According to KPMG LLP’s  CEO Outlook survey, 76 percent of chief executive officers (CEOs) admit that their growth relies on their ability to challenge and disrupt any business norm.” An interesting approach to how the CFO should respond to a business environment in turmoil. | Ron Walker, Sanjay Sehgal, KPMG
Do you define your CFO role? Or does it define you? “The chief financial officer (CFO) role is being disrupted by digital innovation, the proliferation of data, a volatile risk environment, increasing regulation and a growing circle of demanding stakeholders. CFOs who don’t proactively define their role in response to these major forces could compromise their ability to shape strategy with the CEO and drive the innovation necessary for sustainable growth.” This survey tries to decode the DNA of the finance leader, with profiles and job descriptions becoming more and more diverse. | Hanne Jesca Bax, Robert Brand, Rick Fezell, Annette Kimmitt and Tony Klimas, EY
Digital Transformation Of The Finance Function: “Driven by the accelerating digitalization, the finance function faces the risk of being reduced to an efficiency-first support role. By redefining its value contribution and self-perception, finance can seize the opportunities that digitalization offers to develop into a digital driver that shapes the digital landscape of the entire organization.” The authors offer insights and actionable steps on how finance can become the digital driver of an organization, harness the opportunities of big data and AI, and grow fast. | Dr. Philipp Andres, Dr. Thomas Fritz, Christian Lattwein and Jörg Stäglich, Oliver Wyman
A Finance Chief’s Practical View of Robotics and AI: “Discussion around the impact of intelligent automation often centers on what it means for consumers, or its implications for the workplace and the changing nature of jobs. But what does it mean in practice for finance professionals?” Michael Burwell, CFO, Willis Towers Watson shows us the practical implementation of AI and its impact on day-to-day operations. | Michael Burwell, Willis Towers Watson

TRENDS
On the same theme,here is a selection of conferences that you might find useful
 
The Future of Finance and CFO Summit 2020 : Redefining finance, embracing new opportunities for value-creation in an age of digital business.
 
Gartner CFO & Finance Executive Conference : In the midst of all the uncertainty, one thing is certain: Finance functions will need to significantly evolve to meet the business needs of the future.

CONSULTING INDUSTRY NEWS

Marsh & McLennan : Holiday Shopping Looks Merry This Year Despite Recession Fears According to Oliver Wyman– “US consumers are not letting a possible recession dampen their holiday spirit and plan to spend an average of $375 during Black Friday and Cyber Monday according to Oliver Wyman. This is a slight drop from $390 in 2018” | Market screener
Verizon 5G service goes live in Boston, Houston and Sioux Falls: “Verizon 5G networking makes its way to three more cities Tuesday: Boston, Houston and Sioux Falls. This brings the total number of cities with the carrier’s faster network to 18, with plans to reach 30 by the end of 2019.” | Oscar Gonzalez, CNET
Deloitte Working with Amazon Web Services to Create New Health Ecosystems Through Data: “AWS Data Exchange, a New AWS Service, Helps Organizations Securely Find, Subscribe to and Use Third-Party Data in the Cloud; Deloitte’s Suite of Solutions and Services Can Help Life Sciences and Health Care Organizations Curate in a Private, Secure and Responsible Way to Enable Medical Innovation and New Data Driven Business Models” |PRNewswire
Brexit and beyond: The challenges for banks and consultancies– “As the political drama of Brexit continues to unfold, and the future of the UK’s position in Europe remains unclear, businesses across Europe are still in the dark over what will happen next. Francesco Scarnera, UK CEO at Be Shaping the Future, a financial services advisory, reflects on Brexit’s impact on banks and consultancies.” | Consultancy.uk

DIRECTORY
The Consulting Quest Global Directory is the largest professionally-managed directory in the consulting industry. Searchable by consultancy , name or by region, capability or industry it lists and describes more than 6000 consultancies worldwide with links to their websites and social media channels.
 
 

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If you are interested in submitting an article, an event or an ad, contact us!

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CONSULTING SOURCING TIPS

Wanting to Read People’s Minds? Discover Instead the Best Sources and Publications on the Consulting Industry
What clients want? If there was a way to read people's minds, like in the movie "What Women Want" with ...Read More

Everything You Like to Know About In-House Consulting and How to Optimize Your Internal Consultants’ Potential
Your internal consulting, transformation team, or excellence group, is a great asset that can make every project a success. The ...Read More

3 Best Ways to Measure Consulting Performance – In Short, Medium & Long-Term Formats
Let's start with the question - How important is measuring the performance of Consulting Services' providers? For Consultants - as ...Read More

About Consulting Quest

Consulting Quest is a global, performance-driven consulting platform founded in 2014 by former members of top 10 consulting firms with the objective of reinventing consultancy performance. With a worldwide presence and a range of proprietary performance measurement tools, we help companies navigate the consulting maze. We work with Consulting Clients to increase their performance through consulting and Consulting Providers to help them acquire new clients and to improve their performance.

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This Week in Consulting: All you need to know about Design Thinking

This Week in Consulting

Wednesday, November 13th 2019

All you need to know about Design Thinking

THIS WEEK’S MUST READ
“Design Thinking is not an exclusive property of designers—all great innovators in literature, art, music, science, engineering, and business have practiced it. So, why call it Design Thinking? What’s special about Design Thinking is that designers’ work processes can help us systematically extract, teach, learn and apply these human-centered techniques to solve problems in a creative and innovative way – in our designs, in our businesses, in our countries, in our lives.​”
The ‘Design Thinking’ is a description of the application of the well-tried design process to new challenges and opportunities, used by people from both design and non-design backgrounds. How to use design and design thinking for innovation and better results?
This Week’s Must Read  is an insight piece from Interaction Design Foundation (IDF) where the authors help us to understand Design Thinking by breaking down the process into five phases
Read on to Find out More: “What is Design Thinking and Why Is It So Popular? “ | Rikke Dam and Teo Siang, Interaction Design Foundation.

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THIS WEEK’S VIDEO:

Design Thinking is a 5-step process to come up with meaningful ideas that solve real problems for a particular group of people​​.

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

Why Design Thinking Works? “In a recent seven-year study in which I looked in depth at 50 projects from a range of sectors, including business, health care, and social services, I have seen that another social technology, design thinking, has the potential to do for innovation exactly what TQM did for manufacturing: unleash people’s full creative energies, win their commitment, and radically improve processes.” Here the author explains how human behaviors can get in the way of innovation and how design thinking tools and clear process steps can help teams break free of them. | Jeanne Liedtka, HBR
Maximizing Digital Transformation Innovation -Design Thinking: “With the evolution of technological advances, organizations need to transform to address rapidly changing business landscapes, which is the main reason why digital transformation is so crucial for companies that enables to redefine the complex business process into simple and innovative solutions that helps business executives focus more on business results, innovation and continuous development.” This article shows how the design thinking approach could help launch a wave of innovation in technology and digital disruption. | SatishKumar Boguda and Shailaja Arsid, IJERT
Design Thinking as a Strategy for Innovation: “Designing is more than creating products and services; it can be applied to systems, procedures, protocols, and customer experiences. Design is transforming the way leading companies create value.” The author presents an interesting point of view on how the success rate for innovation dramatically improves when design principles are applied to strategy and innovation. | Linda Naiman, Creativity at Work
Why Design Thinking is Relevant? “In many ways, design thinking is about having a methodology that helps you feel comfortable wading into the messy complexity of creating something new to the world. The better you get at it, the more you’ll build creative confidence to take on bigger challenges.” Why is design thinking relevant to the challenges we’re facing today? An interesting interview with David Kelly, the founder of IDEO. | David Kelley, IDEO

TRENDS
On the same theme,here is a selection of conferences that you might find useful
 
NEXT: the conference on innovation through design thinking : NEXT is the annual event dedicated to innovation through design thinking for all those who want to transform their company and who are looking for concrete and applicable solutions to successfully implement.
 
Design Thinking Conference 2020 : For Design Thinking professionals who practice what they preach in their own organizations or with other organizations.

CONSULTING INDUSTRY NEWS

FinTech Company OKLink Wins Deloitte “Hong Kong Rising Star”: “LEAP Holdings Group Limited (“the Group”; Stock code: 1499) is pleased to announce that OKLink Fintech Limited (“OKLink”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Group, was awarded the “Hong Kong Rising Star” by Deloitte in 2019 HK Tech Fast 20 and Rising Star Program on 8 November 2019.” | Marie Jones, Business News Asia
KPMG launches innovation scale-up with Axillium partnership: “As clients look to tap greater levels of government support for their research and development efforts, KPMG has forged a new partnership with research and innovation agency Axillium. The Midlands-based firm has supported nearly 200 organisations to move their innovation programmes forward and helped raise more than £210 million in government grant funding.” | Consultancy.uk
HSBC and RBS set to launch new digital banking platforms: “HSBC rolled out a new app-based business banking service – previously known internally as ‘Project Iceberg’ and now named ‘HSBC Kinetic’ – in beta testing mode on Monday, while RBS is putting the finishing touches to its new digital bank Bo ahead of a public roll-out later this month.” |Iain Withers, Sinead Cruise, Reuters
P&G Aims For Lasting Social Impact With NatGeo Series: “While brands have been an integral part of television since the dawn of the medium, typically as sponsors, P&G is aiming to take that relationship to the next level by helping to produce a new cable TV series.” | Diana Marszalek, The Holmes Report

DIRECTORY
The Consulting Quest Global Directory is the largest professionally-managed directory in the consulting industry. Searchable by consultancy , name or by region, capability or industry it lists and describes more than 6000 consultancies worldwide with links to their websites and social media channels.
 
 

Interested in submitting?
If you are interested in submitting an article, an event or an ad, contact us!

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CONSULTING SOURCING TIPS

Everything You Like to Know About In-House Consulting and How to Optimize Your Internal Consultants’ Potential
Your internal consulting, transformation team, or excellence group, is a great asset that can make every project a success. The ...Read More

3 Best Ways to Measure Consulting Performance – In Short, Medium & Long-Term Formats
Let's start with the question - How important is measuring the performance of Consulting Services' providers? For Consultants - as ...Read More

The 13 Key Steps in Demand Management Implementation
Demand management is a critical tool for procurement professionals and companies in general. Its implementation for the consulting category is ...Read More

About Consulting Quest

Consulting Quest is a global, performance-driven consulting platform founded in 2014 by former members of top 10 consulting firms with the objective of reinventing consultancy performance. With a worldwide presence and a range of proprietary performance measurement tools, we help companies navigate the consulting maze. We work with Consulting Clients to increase their performance through consulting and Consulting Providers to help them acquire new clients and to improve their performance.

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This Week in Consulting:The Digital Future of Automotive

This Week in Consulting

Wednesday, November 6th 2019

The Digital Future of Automotive

THIS WEEK’S MUST READ
“Both consumers and automotive executives put less emphasis on the brand in an autonomous, mobility-as-a-service paradigm. Brands need to prioritize in-vehicle digital experiences over driving features to differentiate.”
Radical change is looming for the global automotive industry. What actions can the industry take to accommodate this change?
This Week’s Must Read  is an insight piece from IBM where the authors explore how can automotive organizations evolve to operate and innovate in a digital and data environment?
Read on to Find out More: “Automotive 2030 “ | Daniel Knoedler,Dirk Wollschlaeger, and Ben Stanley, IBM.

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THIS WEEK’S VIDEO:

How will the automotive industry change in the future and how does that impact Europe?​

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

The race for cybersecurity: Protecting the connected car in the era of new regulation: “Cybersecurity has risen in importance as the automotive industry undergoes a transformation driven by new personal-mobility concepts, autonomous driving, vehicle electrification, and car connectivity. In fact, it has become a core consideration, given the digitization of in-car systems, the propagation of software, and the creation of new, fully digital mobility services.” As digital transformation exposes new cybersecurity threats , the authors explains what OEMs can do to protect their cars and customers from hackers. | Johannes Deichmann, Benjamin Klein, Gundbert Scherf, and Rupert Stuetzle, McKinsey
‘The pain is just beginning’: After 38,000 layoffs, Wall Street wakes up to ‘peak car’– “For the auto business, “the pain is just beginning,” according to the Nomura analyst Masataka Kunugimoto and his team. “We now expect global auto demand to be down 3%,” year on year, in 2019, he told clients recently.” The world may have passed “peak car” and people in the future will need fewer personal vehicles. It’s maybe why the industry is staring down the barrel of a significant downturn. | Jim Edwards, Business Insider
The automotive industry has not reached ‘peak car’ as some analysts suggest: “When all around you there are people saying the car business is being disrupted, that electric vehicles are coming to eat the gas-powered automobiles’ lunch, and that Uber and Lyft will destroy traditional car ownership, it can be easy to overlook the basic fact that US auto sales are strong, have been strong, and should be relatively strong in the future.” The article presents an interesting counterpoint to the previous article from Business Insider. Has the automotive industry really reached a car peak? | Matthew DeBord, Business Insider
What Does the Future Hold for Self-Driving Cars? “Self-driving cars are poised to revolutionize the transportation industry. There have been many significant shifts in the auto industry since the beginning of commercial auto production roughly eight decades ago, but the basic formula of a human operator guiding a vehicle using a steering wheel and pedals has held pretty steady across that time span. “ Here the author presents the driverless-vehicle revolution from an investor perspective. | CKeith Noonan, The Motley Fool

TRENDS
On the same theme,here is a selection of conferences that you might find useful
 
ICRVS 2019 : International Conference on Road and Vehicle Safety aims to bring together leading academic scientists, researchers and research scholars to exchange and share their experiences and research results on all aspects of Road and Vehicle Safety.
 
Strategies in Car Body Engineering 2020 : Only one thing is certain, that nothing is certain. Which is why “flexibility” and “agility” are currently among the most frequently used terms in the automotive industry.

CONSULTING INDUSTRY NEWS

IBM, Intel, J.P. Morgan and Microsoft join others on new blockchain token spec: “A new specification to allow businesses to create blockchain-based tokens for international trade and finance has been published – and businesses have already tested digital money based on it for cross border payments and settlement.” | Lucas Mearian, Computerworld
Neal Thompson joined BNY Mellon as Head of FX Options: “BNY Mellon, US based multinational banking and financial service provider recently revealed that its senior level leadership team is undergoing a change.” | Karthik Sivasubramaniam, The Industry Spread
PwC’s Reggie Walker: On the Trust Responsibility and Why Marketing Exists to Drive Strategy– “interview : The Chief Commercial Officer defines the CMO role as a juggler, as it touches every aspect of the business.”  |Forbes
OC&C advises Bridgepoint on sale of Bike24: “UK-based private equity firm Bridgepoint Capital has opted to exit from its investment in German bicycle retailer Bike24, with support from OC&C Strategy Consultants. The news sees The Riverside Company acquire Bike24, just two years after selling it to Bridgepoint in the first place.” | Consultancy.uk

DIRECTORY
The Consulting Quest Global Directory is the largest professionally-managed directory in the consulting industry. Searchable by consultancy , name or by region, capability or industry it lists and describes more than 6000 consultancies worldwide with links to their websites and social media channels.
 
 

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CONSULTING SOURCING TIPS

3 Best Ways to Measure Consulting Performance – In Short, Medium & Long-Term Formats
Let's start with the question - How important is measuring the performance of Consulting Services' providers? For Consultants - as ...Read More

The 13 Key Steps in Demand Management Implementation
Demand management is a critical tool for procurement professionals and companies in general. Its implementation for the consulting category is ...Read More

The Consulting Market of Oceania is Embracing the Digital Wave- Top 8 Features
"Australia is just so full of surprises." - Bill Bryson Australia is unique not only for the amazing nature, and ...Read More

About Consulting Quest

Consulting Quest is a global, performance-driven consulting platform founded in 2014 by former members of top 10 consulting firms with the objective of reinventing consultancy performance. With a worldwide presence and a range of proprietary performance measurement tools, we help companies navigate the consulting maze. We work with Consulting Clients to increase their performance through consulting and Consulting Providers to help them acquire new clients and to improve their performance.

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This Week in Consulting:The Digital Transformation in Aerospace and Defense

This Week in Consulting

Wednesday, October 30th  2019

The digital Transformation in Aerospace and Defense

THIS WEEK’S MUST READ
“The impact Industry 4.0 technologies can have on A&D companies varies depending on a company’s size, where it is in the supply chain, what its role in the supply chain is, and, most importantly, its business focus. For A&D companies to successfully implement Industry 4.0 at the enterprise level, digital transformation should occur at three levels: customer engagement, new products/services and platforms, and intelligent assets.”
Digital transformation is certainly a lever for aerospace and defense companies and industrial 4.0 technologies could be the key to future competitiveness..
This Week’s Must Read  is an insight piece from Deloitte where the consultants discuss what A&D companies can do better to achieve digital transformation.
Read on to Find out More: “Aerospace & Defense 4.0 “ | Robin Lineberger, Aijaz Hussain, Tim Hanley, Vincent Rutgers and Brenna Sniderman, Deloitte.

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THIS WEEK’S VIDEO:

Aerospace companies are tasked with designing and creating products for conditions that may not exist inside a lab or even on the planet.

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

Agile methods in complex Aerospace & Defence projects: “About 25 years ago, the hype around “lean” took of: lean management, lean production, lean etc. Nowadays, the new buzzword is “agile”. At our clients and everywhere in the industry we find change projects around agility: agile company, agile management, agile deve­lop­ment, agile processes etc. However, the understanding of what “agile” means and what these change projects are aiming at is very vague.” The author explains how Agile methods and mindset can be applied in A&D. | Martin Kraus, Actrans
Blockchain Technology for Aerospace MRO and Parts Tracking: “Blockchain Technology enables end-to-end component lifecycle visibility, trusted data exchange across internal and external MRO (Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul) stakeholders, and unified operational efficiency across the MRO Value Chain. This results in decreased risk, decreased turnaround time, and cost savings for the entire industry.” The article shows how blockchain technology can be used to improve the traceability of Parts for Safety, Compliance, and Interoperability across the Aerospace MRO value chain. | Kevin Doubleday, Fluree
Harness the engine of innovation: “With aerospace and defense companies continuing to contend with myriad challenges—from insurgent competitors and breakneck technological change to geopolitical instability—being relevant is more important than ever. Industry players are working hard to develop new and innovative ways to serve the needs of their customers, suppliers, partners and workforce at the “moments that matter.” The article gives an overview of technology trends reshaping aerospace and defense. | John Schmidt, Marc Gelle, Accenture
How A&D organizations can achieve digital manufacturing transformation: “In the aerospace and defense industry, tremendous growth opportunities are emerging through new business models, blended partnerships and technological advancements in digital manufacturing. However, that growth can frequently be held back by outdated processes, aging technology and fragmented value chains. By adopting and integrating new technologies, and deploying them at scale, businesses can thrive in the digital age.” Here the author enlights how to improve product availability and profitability through an Aerospace and Defense digital value chain. | Chris Lennon, DXC Technology

TRENDS
On the same theme,here is a selection of conferences that you might find useful
 
Aerospace Europe Conference – AEC2020 : This conference will be offering scientists and engineers from industry, government, and academia an exceptional opportunity to exchange knowledge and results of current studies and to discuss directions for future research in the fields of aeronautics and space.
 
IEEE Aerospace Conference : The international IEEE Aerospace Conference, with AIAA and PHM Society as technical cosponsors, is organized to promote interdisciplinary understanding of aerospace systems, their underlying science and technology, and their applications to government and commercial endeavors.

CONSULTING INDUSTRY NEWS

P&G doubling recycled content for European cleaning brands in 2020: “Consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble Co. is more than doubling the amount of recycled plastic in its packaging for household cleaning brands in Europe by early 2020”. | Shahrzad Pourriahi, Crain Communications
Nokia slashes profit outlook in fight for 5G business: “The telecom network equipment maker, which met third-quarter profit expectations, also said it would pause dividend payments to raise investments in 5G and only resume them when its cash position improves to around 2 billion euros”. | Tarmo Virki, Reuters
Majority of UK staff ‘would perform as well’ with no boss: “Micromanaging bosses are leaving many employees craving more freedom to do their jobs, with two-thirds of workers stating they want more responsibility at work. At the same time, a failure to adequately motivate and support staff means a majority believe they could effectively execute their role without their manager at all”. |Consultancy.uk
Deloitte buys SAP and Oracle partner Presence of IT: “Deloitte has announced that Australian cloud and HR consultancy Presence of IT will join its Human Capital Consulting practice. Sydney-headquartered Presence of IT is a 20-year old consultancy that specialises in human capital management consulting and technology implementation. The company partners with SAP, Oracle, PeopleSoft and Kronos, and has won numerous partner awards.” | Simon Sharwood, CRN Australia

DIRECTORY
The Consulting Quest Global Directory is the largest professionally-managed directory in the consulting industry. Searchable by consultancy , name or by region, capability or industry it lists and describes more than 6000 consultancies worldwide with links to their websites and social media channels.
 
 

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CONSULTING SOURCING TIPS

The 13 Key Steps in Demand Management Implementation
Demand management is a critical tool for procurement professionals and companies in general. Its implementation for the consulting category is ...Read More

The Consulting Market of Oceania is Embracing the Digital Wave- Top 8 Features
"Australia is just so full of surprises." - Bill Bryson Australia is unique not only for the amazing nature, and ...Read More

What to look at when reviewing consulting proposals? Your Top 17 Questions Answered.
"In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is ...Read More

About Consulting Quest

Consulting Quest is a global, performance-driven consulting platform founded in 2014 by former members of top 10 consulting firms with the objective of reinventing consultancy performance. With a worldwide presence and a range of proprietary performance measurement tools, we help companies navigate the consulting maze. We work with Consulting Clients to increase their performance through consulting and Consulting Providers to help them acquire new clients and to improve their performance.

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Consulting Playbook: Implementation of a Client-Centric Organization

Consulting Playbook: Implementation of a Client-Centric Organization

If your company is left behind on the ever-changing market environment, and struggles with new business models that can increase growth and profitability, you might need to look at the benefits of a Client-Centric approach.
The Obstacles Were Starting to Pile
An organization had to deal with slow growth in a mature market and find ways to expand market share and promote growth. An increased level of competition made their competitiveness subpar. In addition to this, the company had to deal with poorly mobilized staff, and employees who seemed to have lost their drive. The company at the time also had a disjointed organizational design with increased complexity resulting in higher operating costs, duplicate efforts, and poor overall performance.
Recalibrating Your Focus
Accustomed to analyzing problems through an alternative lens the consultant was able to add tremendous value by providing insights in the areas of developing a new value proposition centered around service and quality of life on a daily basis. Focusing on the client, the organization would become better equipped to compete in the new market environment. The consultant was also able to improve the organization’s competitiveness by implementing a new performance management framework.
The course of action included a 3-Phase approach in executing the project. Phase One consisted of a thorough assessment which comprised of direct and open communication. A key factor in understanding leaders’ perspective was the series of dynamic interviews. The conversation addressed operational and functional levels of the company. An in-depth cost analysis and identification of drivers was performed. Furthermore, an assessment of the levels of services provided to functions and the associated level of satisfaction was conducted as well as an evaluation of the employee and staff mobilization and motivation levels.
In Phase Two, the focus was on creating the New organization – from conceptual to final design. Establishment of main design principles for a target organization by the Executive committee, detailed design developed with specific working groups, and an agreement on the final design and development of implementation plan was accepted.
Phase Three, arguably the most important one, was the Deployment of the new strategy.
The Impact on the Business
The project resulted in a more flexible and decentralized business structure accomplished through staff and employees interacting with clients, becoming more accountable and motivated.  There was a realignment of key functions in contact with clients as well as a transfer of functional resources towards operational decision centers. A new business model was developed improving upon the business processes with the support of a new Governance system and a better cost tracking mechanism leading to overall cost reductions.

Additional Information

Create an Agile, Responsive, Client-centered Organization
Many businesses today want fast and bulletproof solutions to every issue or problematic stats that do not satisfy expectations, but many times the most viable solutions are hidden in plain sight. You only need to know where and what to look at. However, in a fast paced environment, it’s the large organizations that are often sluggish to stay in tune with the ever-evolving demands of the most essential party in their business model – the clients.
Your executive team might be brilliant and come up with ideas and solutions that can benefit all parties, however in practice it might take years for these ideas to get an implementation.
This issue has been explored in countless studies and it truly represents a concern. A number of prominent executives have shared their views on the topic.
How can your organization become more responsive to clients’ needs?
The top barriers that you need to address are:

Complexity – Simply said the bigger the company and the customer data base, the harder it becomes to adjust and respond to changes, trends and new demands.
Fear of Change – Change in business as in life, is inevitable. There is nothing to fear if you can adequately respond and adapt to change. However, it is human nature to feel more comfortable with the status quo, but if you would like your business to grow and thrive, you should welcome change.
Different clients at different points of their product or service lifecycles. You need to be aware that each client is unique and might be at a different point of their product or service cycle, therefore they will require customized approach from your organization. Your ability to change might be directly related to the speed of that cycle.
Lack of knowledge and communication with your client. You need to know your clients well, and ensure you have an open, timely and efficient communication. This alone can make a big difference on your business relationship and affect your long-term prospects with each client.
Lack of understanding the changing environments – Markets and economic conditions continuously change and it is one thing to be aware of changes, but a whole different thing to have a strategy and update your tactics to deal with them.

For further reading:
– How to Create a Customer Centric Strategy For Your Business
– 7 Secrets Of Building A Customer-Centric Company Culture

t

About The Consulting Playbook
The Consulting Playbook is a collection of posts designed to offer insights into how businesses and their executives can utilize consulting as a strategic lever to boost performance. Each Consulting Playbook post is broken down into a few elements: Case Study, Additional Information regarding the technical application, and Additional Links related to the topic.

Consulting Playbook: How to Organize for International Growth

Consulting Playbook: How to Organize for International Growth

The Consulting Playbook, Edition #19
 
Welcome to our series, the Consulting Playbook, a collection of posts designed to offer insights into how businesses and their executives can utilize consulting as a strategic lever to boost performance. Each Consulting Playbook post is broken down into a few elements: Case Study, Additional Information regarding the technical application, and Additional Links related to the topic.
 
Organizing for International Growth
As it aimed to penetrate new markets in Asia and North America, a Global Industrial Company presently in South America and Europe, starting to plan acquisitions.
The strategy included consolidation of existing business and resources in existing geographies, while enabling expansion into new markets with higher growth potential.
The current Management Committee needed to be rearranged and position for its new role as boundaries between the Management Committee and Units’ Heads were at times confusing. Managerial roles and responsibilities had to be redefined. The corporate organization was not flexible enough to move ahead with the new business model. The New Markets Expansion required fresh partnerships and updated acquisitions.
The present functional design no longer matched the new potential growth the company was headed to. The CEO decided to engage the support of a consulting firm.
Analyzing the Best Model Moving Forward

Aligning the leadership team on the key principles for the new organization. Those would serve as design criteria for selecting the best option.
Assessment of all advantages and drawbacks was performed, aimed at improving the group organization design and governing principles. New possibilities and options were identified.

Purely regional model was strong for seizing growth opportunities but was not enabling efficiency improvements required by the industry
Purely sectorial model was enabling specialization and move towards customized high value solutions but was not the most reactive from a commercial standpoint

The best options were specified for further examination by the Group Management Committee which was expected to make decisions on A/ Organization, B/ Governance Principles and C/Roadmap of the main steps in implementation
The company decided to move towards a hybrid model enabling the best of both worlds at the cost of some added complexity

The New Scheme Successfully Positioned the Organization on the Path to Market Expansion
The new organization was poised for growth internationally. The current company could quickly evolve and position itself for new markets acquisition. The right balance between the business and the regional organization was established.
New organization’s structure was created with new management team in place. Key executives were picked & clearly defined responsibilities for each person were set. Next stage agenda has been outlined, to lead the new operational governance model.

Additional Information

How New Technology is Impacting Productivity in the Steel Industry?
With the development of new technologies, the impact on the productivity in the Steel Industry has been tremendous. Technological innovation is riding the wave through the industry. Market share of mini-mills has increased significantly, also plants that were not sufficiently vertically integrated were outperformed by competition, and output has been reallocated to more innovative produces.
The Industry Productivity has increased due to a few major factors:

The average plant becomes more efficient
A shift in resources from less efficient plants to more productive ones is taking place too
The arrival of the new and more efficient production process – the mini-mill, makes every plant more efficient

The face of the industry is changing, both on a geographical level and economic level. As a result of implemented changes, the prices and profits have decreased in the past few years. Productivity growth today is mainly driven by process innovation rather than new goods.
The Steel Industry according to latest stats, is still one of the fastest growing manufacturing industries behind only computer software and equipment industries.
The trends of the past 30-40 years in the US, shows that the rapid productivity growth and consequent decline in employment, were predominantly connected to the mini-mill. Contrary to some beliefs, globalization or steady drop in steel consumption did not cause that.
As a number of researches found out, the mini-mill outperformed the traditional steel plants, displaced the older technology (the vertically integrated type) and this way triggered reallocation of output, resulting in one third increase in productivity. This increase of productivity is entirely due to the new technology of the mini-mill.
It’s interesting to note the link between the lowered markups that fell by 50% in the last 40 years, and higher productivity led a consumer surplus of about $10B a year, an in-depth study on the topic was published in the American Economic Review in 2015, titled ‘Reallocation and Technology: Evidence from the US Steel Industry’ by Allan Collard-Wexler and Jan De Loecker.
For Further Reading –
– Outlook for the global steel market
– Steel Industry Stock Outlook – May 2016
– Steel Market Forecast 2015-2025

t

About The Consulting Playbook
The Consulting Playbook is a collection of posts designed to offer insights into how businesses and their executives can utilize consulting as a strategic lever to boost performance. Each Consulting Playbook post is broken down into a few elements: Case Study, Additional Information regarding the technical application, and Additional Links related to the topic.

A Practical Guide to Setting Up Your Consulting Business

A Practical Guide to Setting Up Your Consulting Business

You are an expert in your field, have established a stellar professional reputation, and now you are ready to strike out on your own and start a consulting business. You may be itching to jump in and get started, but like any business, having a solid and well-thought-out plan is essential to your success. This practical guide to setting up your consulting business is your first step to the successful launch of your business. Read on, then get ready to roll up your sleeves!
Start with a self-assessment
The very first step you should take, before you even begin to set up your business, is to do an honest self-assessment. Ask yourself these questions before moving any further. When you are done, you’ll have a clear idea of your motivation.
1. Is this the right professional decision for you?
Starting a consulting business isn’t for everyone, even if you are very skilled at what you do. It’s important to be sure you are making this decision for the right reasons and that it will further (not hinder) your professional achievements. What is motivating you to take this step now? Are you feeling stagnant at work? Have you reached a point in your career where this is the logical next step? By defining your why, you’ll be better able to decide if this is the right decision at this time.
2. Do you have the skill set to proceed?
Clients hire consultants for their knowledge, and the foundation of any successful consulting business is expertise. However, starting and running a business requires a variety of business skills and, most importantly, a lot of determination. Be sure you’re prepared to handle ALL of the responsibilities that come with running a consulting business, not just the consulting.
3. Is there a market for your business?
You can spend all the money you want on a slick marketing campaign, but it will be for nothing if there are no takers in your market. How many other consultants in your market are in the same field as you? If your market is saturated, you’ll need to be prepared to compete with other consultants for business. Take a look at the other consultants in your field, and see what they are doing. What can you bring to the table that is unique? What do you offer that will bring clients to your door?
4. Are your numbers and gut feel in sync?
It may be tempting to hitch onto that gut instinct, and just go with it. Branching off and starting your own business may seem romantic and adventurous, but the real goal is to build a business with longevity. You don’t want to have to close up shop a year from now, when you realize your money can no longer support the business. Run a check-up of your financial health. Do you have enough funds to live on while you start your business? How much money do you have to invest in start-up costs, and how much will you need to borrow? This is also where your research into your market will help. Is your market viable enough to make the initial investment of funds worth it?
Once you’ve made your way through these questions, and you are confident that this is the right decision for your career, it’s time to get down to the real work.

Launching Your Consulting Business
The next several steps will guide you through the essentials to starting your business. Follow these steps carefully, and you will be well on your way to a fulfilling and exciting consulting career.
1. Determine your value proposition.
This is where you define your mission. Why are you doing this, what makes you different, and how will it help your clients? A value proposition is a short summary of your business, what it offers, and the reasons why a client would want to buy from you instead of someone else. Keep it clear and concise, and seize the opportunity to differentiate yourself. Decide if you will present yourself as a generalist or a specialist. Will you propose specific products or formalise them as you go? Make this clear in your value proposition
You’ll want it to say 3 things: what do you do, what makes you unique, and how will your clients benefit.
2. Create a business identity.
This is where you get to brainstorm what your business will look like. What will you call your business? Will you use a slogan or tagline? If you have the skills, create a logo; otherwise, investigate companies that can help you design one. Create a uniform identity that will be recognizable in your market to appear on business cards and other marketing materials.

Launch your Consultancy

Here are the 10 commandments of a great consultant, to maximize your potential…

Read More

3. Set up the administrative foundation.
Next, you’ll need to focus on setting up a proper work environment and administrative framework. Will you be working from home or setting up in an office? Define your space, then move on to details like office furniture, computers, software, and other technology. Set up internet and a phone number, with options to conference call or video call if you plan to conduct business from a distance. You’ll also need to acquire or draft your own legal documents, like contracts for business agreements with clients, and make sure you have satisfied all legal requirements for setting up a business in your area.
4. Create your marketing campaign.
Your business is set up, you’ve acquired your first launch client, but now you need more.
Your marketing campaign is what introduces you to potential clients and convinces them to learn more about what you have to offer. Start close to home and let all of your personal and business contacts know about your business. Send business cards out to everyone you have worked with in the past who may be in need of your services, or could provide a referral. Pick up the phone and start making calls. Get people talking about you and what you do!
Your marketing campaign should also include a professional website, social media profiles, brochures, and other printed materials. Have your logo, slogan, and anything else that is a part of your “look” on all of your marketing materials. You are creating a brand along with a business.
5. Decide on your fee structure.
Know in advance what you are going to ask in compensation for your services. Define your sales pitch and your selling tool kit for proposals. Consider gathering testimonials, slides, case studies, and printed materials that demonstrate your track record and the value of your services. Have your resume updated and ready to go.
Growing Your Consulting Business
Once your business is launched, your marketing campaign is going full blast, and you are beginning to negotiate with, or perhaps have already signed, a few clients, you want to continue to focus on building your client base.
1. Continue to leverage your personal network.
People who know you personally have an interest in seeing you succeed. Continue to remind your personal network about your new business.
2. Expand your network.
Next focus on expanding your professional network, both digitally and in person. Having a social media presence is a valuable tool in building a business. Consider not only professional networking sites, like LinkedIn, but also social ones, like Facebook and Twitter. Join in-person meet-up groups that bring together professionals in your field, and connect with businesses that may be in need of your services. Participate in local networking events to meet other professionals who might need or can refer your services. And don’t forget this one simple rule: ask your network to introduce you to other people who may be interested in your services.
3. Develop partnerships.
Relationships are key in business. Partner with consultants in other fields or professionals in a related industry who are willing to exclusively refer business to you in exchange for your exclusive referrals. As you continue to build your network of personal relationships, you’ll see more referrals over time.
4. Promote your services.
Become a walking and talking advertisement for your consulting business. While you’re getting things off the ground, you’ll need all the promotion you can get. Stay diligent! Build a strong digital and social media presence, market your services to your target audience, and even consider running special promotions to start building a clientele and establishing your business’s reputation.
Final Points to Remember
As you embark on this journey, it’s good to come back to these simple reminders.
1. Devote yourself to this new venture fully.
You won’t find massive success with half effort.
2. Value yourself.
You may be tempted to offer lower rates as a new business, but don’t undervalue your skills. Know what you are worth and stick with it!
3. Know when to walk away.
Don’t give up if you’re having a rough patch. The road to starting a new business is always bumpy. But, if you’ve been at it for a while and your heart is no longer in it, don’t hesitate to walk away if that feels like the right decision. Go back to the beginning of this guide and start at step one to reassess your passion for your business.
4. Have fun!
This is an exciting, new chapter in your life. Enjoy it!
Starting your consulting business will not be easy, but it will almost certainly be exciting and fulfilling. Let this practical guide be your starting point. Then, just keep it simple, stay the course, and enjoy the ride.

Consulting Playbook: Startup Capital Secured in Partnership with Chinese Party

Consulting Playbook: Startup Capital Secured in Partnership with Chinese Party

The Consulting Playbook, Edition #30 
The context of this project comprised of assisting the CEO in developing a funding and marketing plan for his new business as well as the implementation of the plan. The assignment also included a trip to China, accompanying the CEO, to develop the supply chain and present his business case to potential funding sources.
The main goals were to create a viable business plan and to obtain funding in addition to coaching the CEO on leadership, strategy, and marketing.
The Consultant’s Approach
The consultant first needed to develop a deeper understanding of the business case and make an assessment on the CEO’s native skill set. After the initial analysis, the CEO was advised on the critical skills needed for the company’s growth identifying which capabilities were already in-house and what needed to be outsourced.
It was important for the Executive to gain a firmer understanding of the investor’s perspective on the company prior to engaging in funding conversations. After further review, the consultant connected with local finance experts tailoring the case to Shanghainese norms and expectations. The business case was presented and thereafter began to facilitate the negotiations. After the project was completed, the CEO maintained the relationship utilizing the consultant as a mentor.
The Successful Outcome
The sourcing aspect of the assignment went exceedingly well as several suppliers signed preferential term sheets with the client. The funding was secured, and accomplished in two phases, VC’s from connections with CEIBs and the CEO’s personal connections. The company as per VC market was still underdeveloped. The investors were interested in 50% or less ownership, additional funding on behalf of the CEO had to be secured through a Small business loan.

Additional Information

Doing Business in China – Tips for Entrepreneurs
China is an interesting destination, and by now, is no secret that is one of the most important developing countries to do business in. However it is well-known to foreigners that cultural difference can present a serious obstacle for successful completion or even start of any business initiative.
Therefore for anyone planning to travel there and engage in business, it is absolutely necessary to learn cultural models and adjust their expectations and behavior accordingly.
Here are a few valuable insights:

All Proposals and Agreements Must be In Writing –

Regardless of phone conversations, meetings, and email communication, all business related issues must be put in writing, in detailed and clear form. Also if translations need to be made of the documents, they must be done too, in order to ensure all content is understood by all parties. Copies to be provided too…

Business Card Exchange –

In Chinese culture, this is still an important part of meeting a new prospective partner. So make sure you have plenty of cards when heading to a meeting.

Importance of Relationships –

If you are just a stranger, and haven’t met Chinese people and done your networking, this is where you need to start before any actual business takes place. People feel more comfortable doing business with people that they know and are comfortable with. Keep in mind that it takes time to establish and nurture relationships, so the sooner you start, the sooner you will be able to conduct business too. As they say in China, it can take a year or two, for Chinese people to start trusting a new partner. So plan in advance and adjust your timeframe.

Never Make a Chinese Person Lose Face –

Western culture can be more tolerant toward cynical behavior, jokes, or critique, but to a Chinese business person, a sense of dignity is crucial. Whenever there is an issue or a conflict situation, it should be resolved with extra care in order to preserve other parties’ reputation. Once an offensive action has been taken, it will be very hard to overcome the damage it caused.

Respect Rank and Hierarchy –

China might be less strict in this way, compared to other Asian cultures, but still it is important to observe hierarchy of individuals you do business with. For example, meetings are conducted between individuals on the same level. The Chinese party can be greatly offended if this protocol is bypassed.

Friendliness and After-Work Socializing –

In Chinese culture business relationships extend into informal team dinners, lunches, even karaoke visits, and relaxing massages at spa centers. Do not be surprised by these invitations, and be willing to accommodate them in your schedule. It is just the opposite to the popular idea in the West that business and pleasure should not mix, Chinese people will disagree with that. It is a normal behavior to engage in fun activities as team after work, so just enjoy it!
For Further Reading:

Why Entrepreneurship Is So Different between US and China
China’s Startup Scene: Some Important Lessons Learned
Tips for Entrepreneurs that want to do business in China
American Vs. Chinese Business Culture

t

About The Consulting Playbook
The Consulting Playbook is a collection of posts designed to offer insights into how businesses and their executives can utilize consulting as a strategic lever to boost performance. Each Consulting Playbook post is broken down into a few elements: Case Study, Additional Information regarding the technical application, and Additional Links related to the topic.

Consulting Playbook: Lean Manufacturing is Critical to Your Success

Consulting Playbook: Lean Manufacturing is Critical to Your Success

The Consulting Playbook, Edition #1
Real Life Practices Situation –
A large industrial manufacturer was facing serious production issues at one of their plants. The CEO was forced to declare the plant’s current layout and working methods unsustainable. Defects would flow through the whole process spread on multiple manufacturing lines, resulting in an 18-month waiting list, decreasing profitability and unhappy customers.
In addition to the manufacturing lines, the company was dealing with an inflexible union and antiquated labor agreements making the changes needed to take place, difficult to implement and to maneuver.  The CEO asked the VP of Operations to analyze two possible scenarios:
A) Keep the plant or B) Create a new one in a lower cost region.
They brought in a third party to analyze the two options before them and after a careful review, decided to launch a transformation on the existing facilities.
With increased pressure on profitability and the displacement of thousands of jobs at stake, there were difficult choices that had to be made in the best interest of the company and its employees.
The Better Plan of Action –
After a quick diagnostic showed opportunities to reduce waste, standardize activities and significantly increase the quality level, the consultant and the management team came to the conclusion that the plant, as well as several other plants in the region, could be saved through a Lean Manufacturing Transformation.
However, the journey was only starting as they now had to carry out the change without disrupting the operations. The key principle was to shift from the top-down operating model to a new scheme where the operators generating the value were supported by the rest of the organization.
The consultant worked with the top management on that vision, shared the diagnostic, made sure that everyone was on-board with the rationale for change and general direction, and then worked with them to lay out the plan to reach their goals.
A large-scale, collaborative plan identifying improvement opportunities was put in place. Along with that, a specific training for operators to simulate the new work environment preparing them for the change ahead, was put in place. The consultant also developed specific methods for the leadership to support, and champion the change.  The change process and continuous improvement initiatives incorporated different team members at every level of the organization, ensuring the project’s success and fluidity.
The Results and the Benefits –
The new and more efficient plant was designed to boast the same production volume with only two thirds of the previous workforce.  The adjustments made spurred huge cost savings contributing to an increase in the overall profit margins, and sending the stock price soaring over the next 3 years. They were also able to reduce the manufacturing surfaces by more than half, as well as revise the existing labor agreements to more beneficial ones.

Additional Information

What is Lean Manufacturing?
The simplest definition of it is – system of methods designed to eliminate waste within a manufacturing process. Lean Manufacturing or lean production centers around three main components:

Elimination of waste (“Muda”) within a manufacturing system
Control over waste created through overburden (“Muri”)
Waste created through inconsistency in workloads (“Mura”)

Essentially, lean manufacturing is all about adding value and reducing everything else – expense, time, efforts, and so on. In today’s fast paced world of business, communication and commerce, Lean manufacturing is an extremely powerful approach to secure an organization’s success.
Main Lean Production Principles
They originated in the Japanese manufacturing industry. The term was first coined by John Krafcik in his 1988 article, “Triumph of the Lean Production System,” based on his master’s thesis at the MIT Sloan School of Management.
Toyota’s view is that the main method of lean is not the tools, but the reduction of three types of waste: muda (“non-value-adding work”), muri (“overburden”), and mura (“unevenness”) exposing this way any problems or inefficiencies in the process.
Lean implementation focuses on getting the right things to the right place at the right time in the right quantity to achieve the perfect work flow, while reducing waste and being flexible and willing to change. These concepts however need to be understood, and embraced by the whole organization’s team.
The single point behind “Lean” is to make the work simple enough to understand, to do and manage.
Lean Manufacturing strongly depends on implementing all the core principles through Lean Thinking and the role Lean Leadership plays in overseeing that.
For further reading:

What is Lean?
Lean Manufacturing Transformation
Manufacturing Transformation
Lean Manufacturing Transformation: A Holistic Approach

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About The Consulting Playbook
The Consulting Playbook is a collection of posts designed to offer insights into how businesses and their executives can utilize consulting as a strategic lever to boost performance. Each Consulting Playbook post is broken down into a few elements: Case Study, Additional Information regarding the technical application, and Additional Links related to the topic.

A Foolproof Guide to be sure to Ruin Your Proposals

A Foolproof Guide to be sure to Ruin Your Proposals

The many common mistakes performed by consultants while preparing their proposals are not just inside their head. Mistakes often enter into proposals and presentations in the most awkward time and manner.
The following is a list of many of the possible ways we have seen consultants ruin their proposals. Examine the following list with care (and humor) because the proposal is often the first impression you make on the client and you know the saying: “The first impression is always right, especially if it’s a bad one.”

Call your client by another name. They like that; it’s like role playing! Even better, if you forget the name of their entire company, that will really impress them. They’ll think, “Wow, they can’t remember our name? Their business must be booming!”
Forget the name of a previous client on your document. Who cares about confidentiality? I mean, isn’t a name on a document just like a referral?
Present a generic presentation. Like people, all businesses are the same, so you don’t need to put too much effort into building your presentation. Right?
Don’t insert the company’s logo, or if you do, use the wrong one. What’s in a logo, anyway? Chances are, the client won’t even notice.
Don’t customize the resumes of the project team. No one cares about who the guys are on your consulting team. Their seniority and expertise don’t actually have much bearing on the project. Besides, the client should trust your judgement in personnel. That’s why they’re hiring you, isn’t it?
Don’t answer the questions of the clients. If you’re not careful, you could learn a thing or two about the context of the project and better tailor your proposal. Yikes!
Forget the criteria of choice included in the RFP. The client included that just for kicks. It’s really not that important and definitely not worth your time to include.
Present a bland presentation. Graphics and images are much too distracting. Keep your documents black and white with 12-point Times New Roman font and no formatting, except for paragraphs. That will catch their attention and show them that you mean business.
Don’t explicitly state your pricing. When it comes to pricing, it’s better to keep your client in the dark. He should just trust you on this one. After all, trust is rarely earned through clear communication.
Hide some fees here and there. It is just like an egg hunt. Clients love it, and it keeps them on their toes.
Forgo details about your approach or the deliverables. If the client has done their research, they should already know how your services will fit with their business needs.

Don’t explain the governance of the project. You might give the client a good understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the different parties involved. This would give the client the elements to estimate their internal cost for the project; see point 9 above.
When you change the pricing, don’t say so. Especially when it goes up! Clients love hidden surprises, almost as much as they love egg hunts.
Don’t talk about timelines or milestones. It is very often a minor subject for your client. Focus on how this is going to be a long-term relationship with no clear results or predictable costs. That will reassure your clients that you have everything under control.
Send the proposal by email, and wait for the client’s answer. Don’t give them the chance to ask questions. You could end up having to rework the proposal. What a waste of time!
Ignore the timeline explained in the RFP. The client will not include that element in the evaluation, unless you actually think they need your services in a timely fashion.
Use psychedelic color schemes. The tie-dye theme was a great hit at your seventies party. Your clients will love it too!
Don’t ask questions. You already know their business. Why would you waste all that time and energy? You are the consultant, and they’re here to learn from you, right?

Grow your Consultancy

Unfortunately, just sending a proposal doesn’t guarantee that it’ll be read.
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Provide solutions to issues not found in the RFP. After all, you know their industry/product/market better than they do. Why not “wow” them with your prescient ability to create solutions in areas without any problems?
Don’t listen to the client. Listening to the client talk about their needs is a pain. You might have to collect more information or even have to rework your proposal to better meet their expectations.
Base your price upon a client’s ability to pay. Larger companies can pay more. It’s not like they picked you because they thought you would offer a better price, right?
The longer, the better. Need we say more?
Give them a long, comprehensive overview of your company. The client really needs to understand who you are, as a company, before anything else. You’ll get extra points if they fall asleep.
Don’t demonstrate an understanding of the scope and goals. Go directly to the pricing section. That’s what really matters to the client. 
Offer them the moon. Sure, you know that you can’t actually deliver the customer a 500% return on their investment in the first 6 months, but hey, the customer is really excited about that guarantee.

Okay. So, you get the idea. This list could go on and on, but these points are starting to sound like variations on a theme. (Speaking of variations, if you have never listened to the Paul Simon song this post is parodying, enjoy.)
In truth, these points are guaranteed ways to start a bad consulting relationship and probable ways to never start one. Some of them are even possible causes for litigation. The best way to avoid them is to do these 5 simple things: ­

Customize ­your presentation for each client. Every time.
Work on the form ­of your presentation. People are visual, visuals do matter.
Be clear on how you will do the work. Definitions and roles give everyone guidelines on how to move forward.
Be transparent about the pricing. Customers really don’t like hidden prices, and it’s not like an easter egg hunt.
Start working the relationship with the client. Communicate, listen, ask questions, and understand that this is their business. Your job is to help their business succeed.

Do these five simple tasks and you can avoid any number of ways people ruin their proposals.

Consulting Playbook: Establishing New Organization to Meet Globalization’s New Challenges

Consulting Playbook: Establishing New Organization to Meet Globalization’s New Challenges

The Consulting Playbook, Edition #20
A major Automotive company aspired to become a global organization. Their ambitious goal required several trade-offs to expand internationally. The company needed to develop a new Program function covering strategic resources allocation and building a connection with all the other existing functions such as product development, engineering, manufacturing, purchasing and marketing/sales. Besides, a new organization had to be set up with business units – zones in the international markets. This was a drastic change for the company and they decided to get some external support.
The Consultant’s Approach Centered on Facilitation
A team of three main Executives developed the business principles of the new organization, progressively building the new organizational structure, operating model and appointing the new management.
The set-up of the newly defined program function was quite challenging as former program entity was mostly in charge of synchronizing milestones without clear levers. The new scheme, inspired from the aerospace industry was giving the accountability to the programs on product plan, development budgets, resources allocation, major trade-off decisions and off-course planning. Resources were distributed across programs and functions depending on their level of dedication to the programs.
The creation of the regional business units in charge of marketing, sales and services in their region was also a massive shift considering that all those activities were previously organized by function. The newly created structures would have P&L accountability for their region but also the necessary levers to deliver. The overall consistency on the brand, policies and practices would be ensured through the implementation of small but powerful corporate functions. Regions would express regional customization needs to the programs to make sure products would answer the regional specificities.
The consultant  facilitated the migration of budgets, headcounts, transfer of accountabilities with a specific focus on the continuation of major projects.
At the project’s completion, few major achievements were made:

The launch and start of the new organization was successfully completed.
Cost reduction (opex and capex) of 15% realized, by improving allocation of strategic resources carefully managing tradeoffs but also streamlining the organizational structure
Acceleration in development of customized regional products that addressed local markets needs

Additional Information

4 Major Trends in the Automotive Industry That Will Impact the Future
Despite that the Automotive Industry has enjoyed a solid rise in demand, there are few potential risks that can hinder the growth, and will have a cooling effect.
Among these risks factors are slowing global economy, fluctuations in interest rates, and changes in future demand.
Exciting new technologies are impacting the Automotive industry today, from electric cars, to self-driving vehicles, and a multiple mobile apps changing how drivers and passengers interact. But beside the exciting things, some serious concerns have emerged too.

Production

After the recession and the subsequent growth in demand, manufacturers have expanded facilities to cope with higher demand, they invested in new facilities and ramped up production capacity. But all this can become problematic when the demand starts declining. And scheduling issues might become a serious problem for suppliers who are doing their best to optimize work schedules, delivery, and use flexible sourcing options, and selection of manufactures.

Consumer Demand Trends

Right now, older baby boomers represent the biggest segment of car sales, and this pattern likely won’t change. Millennials on the other hand, are less interested in car ownership and prefer other transportation options. The popular ride-sharing apps are changing consumers’ behavior. Auto suppliers are starting to worry how they are going to grow sales when the demand starts declining soon.

Global Expansion

Approximately a third of North American automotive parts are manufactured in Mexico, and many US suppliers have facilities there or a planning to establish ones. However with the new administration in Washington commencing early next year, we can’t be sure about  the future developments at the present moment.

Workforce Shortage

With the creation of many new jobs, and the ever-increasing sophistication in machinery, suppliers face difficulty in staffing. There is simply not enough skilled labor in the industry. Attracting and retaining skilled labor means offering enough incentive, effective salary and benefits packages to secure workforce commitment. Many manufacturers are also working on training and internship programs, in partnership with colleges, to facilitate new talent education and career choices.
For Further Reading –

THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE AUTOMOBILE 2016
2016 Auto Industry Trends
Eight disruptive trends shaping the auto industry of 2030
KPMG’s Global Automotive Executive Survey 2016

t

About The Consulting Playbook
The Consulting Playbook is a collection of posts designed to offer insights into how businesses and their executives can utilize consulting as a strategic lever to boost performance. Each Consulting Playbook post is broken down into a few elements: Case Study, Additional Information regarding the technical application, and Additional Links related to the topic.

How to Maximize Your Potential as a Preferred Consultant

How to Maximize Your Potential as a Preferred Consultant

There are a variety of reasons people become a consultant. Flexibility, networking, and the excitement of always doing something different are just a few reasons. But along with these benefits comes the risk of not having work for periods of time. To minimize that risk, it is important to make sure that you are a preferred consultant. Here are the 10 commandments of a great consultant, to maximize your potential:
1. Thou shalt be flexible.
Flexibility extends beyond your day-to-day schedule. In order to be a great consultant who constantly has work, you need to be willing to adapt to new projects, cultures, and work constraints. The same thing that worked for one job won’t necessarily work for all jobs. It’s crucial for a great consultant to be flexible by listening to its customer, thinking outside the box and developing new solutions to problems. Likewise, your schedule should be flexible enough to allow for working odd hours, and meeting your clients out of working hours such as nights and weekends at times. Ultimately, isn’t this flexibility and control over your agenda what is really great about being a consultant?
2. Thou shalt adapt to new colleagues.
It’s important to be able to work with many different types of personalities if you want to succeed as a consultant. While one of the benefits of consulting is the excitement of working in new environments, it can also be one of the greatest challenges, since every new environment comes with a new group of colleagues. You will meet people who are combative, passive, easy going, and everything in between. You will even have to forge good working relationships with people who are not colleagues, but who have in-between positions, and you must be able to work with them efficiently. You have the ear of the boss, but you have to be able to work well on the ground, too. Being able to successfully navigate different personalities will enhance your abilities as a consultant.

3. Thou shalt be disciplined.
Working a flexible schedule can be great, but it can also pose the very real challenge of discipline. In order to be an effective consultant, you must be able to work diligently on projects by creating a schedule that will allow you the time and resources that you need to complete a project on time. Your main task as a consultant is to solve problems quickly and efficiently. Knowing how to get in, lend your expertise and advice on a project, and get out quickly is crucial to your success.
4. Thou shalt collaborate.
You need to be collaborative as a consultant, even if you prefer to work mainly on your own or as a leader. Listening to problems and working to develop a solution that will solve those problems means you need to collaborate. Great consultants are team players. So don’t hesitate to share your knowledge. Part of good collaboration is speaking up, as well as listening. It can only have a positive impact on your work and your reputation. Companies will return again and again to consultants who took the time to listen to the company’s problems, who showed initiative, and who worked with key company players to develop a solution.
5. Thou shalt be confident.
Companies generally turn to consultants when they’re faced with a challenge that they just can’t overcome. They’ll feel encouraged when a consultant enters who expresses confidence that she can fix the problem. Do not hesitate to ask questions to get to the bottom of the problem but rely on your experience and knowledge to get through a new challenge, and remind yourself that you’re qualified for the task at hand.

Launch your Consultancy

…as a top management consultant, we all want to create perfect results for our clients. But striving for perfectionism can actually constrain our value creation process.

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6. Thou shalt admit your own limitations.
As a consultant, it can seem contradictory to fall short on knowing everything related to your projects. However, skirting around a decision because of your lack of knowledge can backfire big time for you and for your client. Don’t be afraid to admit when you don’t know something, but be sure to follow up with someone who does. As a consultant, you have a different network and are more likely to find a reliable source who does know the answer to the problem. What matters is to solve your clients problem not to be the one solving it.
7. Thou shalt keep learning.
Your work as a consultant doesn’t end when a project is finished. Great consultants are experts in their fields, which means they are always on top of the latest research and studies. Subscribe to journals, attend conferences, and find other ways to keep current within your chosen field. Remember, you are filling in the gaps for companies, and that includes a detailed knowledge of recent developments in your discipline.
8. Thou shalt listen first and speak second.
Great consultants understand that their main job is to solve a problem for a company, but the only way to really understand the problem is to listen. Take the time to listen during meetings, and ask questions to ensure that you truly understand what the company wants from you. By listening and being observant, you will better understand the balance of powers, and you can identify allies. In the end, companies trust consultants who spend a little extra time getting to know the company and the specific issue before diving in with a solution.
9. Thou shalt clarify expectations.
Every company has a different relationship with consultants. Some companies expect a consultant to jump in and take over, while others micromanage. Be upfront with the company about expectations, and be honest about what you can deliver before starting a job. This will save many headaches for you and the company, and will ensure that you can be as effective as possible during the project.
10. Thou shalt know when to walk away.
You can only do so much as a consultant. When a client decides to ignore all of your advice and ends up not implementing anything you have suggested, then it’s time to walk away. Understand that you are a consultant and not a member of the company, and that your advice and suggestions are merely that. The company is under no obligation to actually implement your ideas. Also, if you think that your experience simply cannot bring the company more value, it’s best to prepare for the transition and just go. Sometimes, the right move is to walk away from a project and look ahead to a new one.
Each client for whom you work is a new opportunity to network, to better your communication methods, to learn new skills and to hone old ones. At the end of the day, what really matters is the value that you bring to your clients and the strength of the relationship you will build with them. The first, will give you the satisfaction of a job well done but the second beyond the immediate impact on your bottom line will help you reputation and establish recurring revenue streams.

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