What Is a Supply Chain Consulting Firm? A supply chain consulting firm is a company with expertise in vendor and inventory management that provides that expertise to your business so you can better manage your internally and externally stored goods.
Depending on which supply chain consultants you hire, he, she or they can either advise you on ways to improve your inventory control and methodology or can actually take over the project.
What Do Supply Chain Consultants Do?
You can expect your supply chain consultant to work directly with your senior director(s) to improve your company’s bottom line. Some of the supply chain consulting services you can expect him or her to provide include:
- Determining your needs and presenting options for your consideration
- Diagnosing your issues and identifing your beneath-the-surface concerns
- Suggesting improvements to your current methodologies
- Presenting ideas for how you can reduce your supply expenses and optimize your resources
- Transforming your requirements into a viable work plan and then helping you with timely implementation thereof
You can also expect the supply chain consulting firm’s representative working with you to regularly interact with members of your various teams.
What Are the Benefits of Working With Top Supply Chain Consulting Firms?
Some of the benefits you can expect to receive from a world-class supply chain consultant include:
- Better collaboration among your various divisions
- Improved quality control
- Higher efficiency rate
- Increased ability to keep up with demand
- Shipping optimization
- Reduced overhead costs
- Improved risk mitigation
- Improved cash flow
What Should You Look For in a Supply Chain Consultant?
Keep in mind that not all supply chain consulting firms are created equal. Consequently, when you seek a supply chain consulting firm or supply chain planners, look for one with the following characteristics:
- Understanding of your company and your industry
- Proven project management skills
- Supply chain understanding and knowledge
- Technical knowledge and familiarity with advanced technology
- Cost to serve knowledge
Understanding of Your Company and Your Industry
While it’s unreasonable to expect that your supply chain consultant will have an understanding of your specific company until he or she comes on board, it’s not unreasonable to expect that he or she will have a broad and deep understanding of your industry and how supply chains work within it. In fact, such knowledge is crucial so as to lessen the learning curve he or she will face when working on behalf of your company.
Proven Project Management Skills
The supply chain consultant you choose should have a good track record and be able to prove it by means of client referrals. You’ll want to be sure to ask these companies how well the consultant was able to stick to the big picture rather than succumbing to the demands of various company departments. You’ll also want to ask them how well he or she met deadlines, hit budget goals and performed – hopefully outperformed – expectations.
Supply Chain Understanding and Knowledge
It goes without saying that a supply chain consultant should, in fact, know a lot about supply chains in general and have direct experience across their multiple areas. It also goes without saying that the broader and more varied his or her supply chain experience, the more likely he or she will be to think from more than one perspective, thereby finding optimal solutions.
Technical Knowledge and Familiarity with Advanced Technology
As technology evolves, so, too, does the supply chain. While your supply chain consultant doesn’t need to have an IT background, he or she should be familiar with the various types of technology and how they can improve your supply chain. He or she should also know which new technologies, such as a new software system or application, your company should implement.
Cost to Serve Knowledge
Cost to Serve (CTS) is an analysis approach that lets you identify specific actions to take to improve your bottom line without sacrificing your customers’ satisfaction. Too little detail doesn’t give you adequate information; too much detail can lead to “paralysis by analysis.” Your supply chain consultant needs to have a good understanding of CTS methodology so he or she can help you find opportunities to increase your profits rather than cut your losses.
Supply Chain Optimization
It all starts with a personalized analysis of your existing supply chain. Identifying areas of innovation requires an in-depth understanding of your existing company. The expert consultants on our team have provided supply chain consulting services for more than 30 years, with experience working in a wide range of industries we treat every company as a unique case.
Optimization can take many different forms. Our services could involve optimizing and planning your material flow systems, streamlining a transportation strategy, or possibly re-assessing your existing storage and warehousing capabilities. By creating the right planning structure, your company can keep track of your supply chain with greater efficiency. Other services necessary for optimization may include packaging solutions and inventory management systems.
Working With Supply Chain Consultants
Reduce the operating costs and improve the efficiency of your company with our supply chain consulting. A full consultation service from a professional firm can offer the following benefits for your company:
- Reduced lead times: Lead times increase the overall timeline of a project and create delays for your clients. Isolate the inefficiencies that are extending your lead times in order to better manage your supply chain.
- Facility Location and Optimization: Selecting a site to expand your company or possibly even relocating your existing plant can be a difficult task. A poor location can create issues along your entire supply chain, so minimize disruptions by securing a competitive location for your warehouse or manufacturing facility.
- Decreased network complexity: Networks require a base line of complexity, but increasing the complexity of your corporate structure and supply chain can often create inefficiencies. Work with a consultant to isolate inefficiencies and better manage your resources.
- Management of supply chain and demand fluctuations: The demand for your products will naturally fluctuate. Be sure your supply chain is scalable to keep up with sudden increases and decreases in demand. A flexible supply chain helps your business grow with reduced risks. If your chain is too rigid, you can’t deal with an influx of demand or a slow season. This rigidity often translates into significant financial losses.
These are only a few general benefits you can enjoy when you work with a supply chain consultant. Other benefits are dependent on your current supply chain model and your particular industry. A consultant who is familiar with your particular industry can incorporate industry-specific recommendations.
Other Supply Chain Solutions
Supply chain consulting services can point you in the right direction, but it takes engineering services to implement many recommendations. At DSI, we don’t stop at simple recommendations, our team of experts has the capabilities to assist in the consulting, planning and implementation of the supply chain solutions that best solves your specific challenges. Contact us today for more details.