“Supply chain management” is a broad discipline encompassing all the elements of moving raw materials from their origin to the finished product delivered to a customer.
What do supply chain consultants do?
The objective of supply chain consulting is to improve the outcomes of the supply chain process. The focus may be on sourcing, logistics, supplier negotiation, logistics, inventory management, etc.
As part of the engagement, the objective usually involves lower cost, better efficiency, improved quality, or reliability. Contrary to many assumptions, lowering costs is not the most important objective. Improving overall company performance or profitability may come from higher quality inputs and more reliable logistics, which may have a higher price tag.
Tools & Resources Used for Supply Chain Consulting
Supply chain consultants leverage a range of tools and resources to improve their clients’ sourcing programs. The application of the various resources will depend on the nature of the consulting engagement. A good supply chain consulting partner will have the full scope of resources and the experience to apply them competently.
Supply Chain Experience in various industries
A broad base of experience allows consultants to take success across industries. When a consultant is solely focused on a vertical, they tend to be exposed to a more narrow band of options. With a multi-industry practice, consultants can take the best ideas across their client base.
Global Supplier Connections
Through well-developed global relationships, consultants help clients find low-cost country suppliers and develop the local infrastructure to support the relationships and logistics. It is more than simply knowing who is in what countries. It is about creating strong relationships to support the selected suppliers and logistics.
While some engagements may be limited to a segment of the supply chain, some clients are looking for the best ways to improve the full scope. To focus efforts, consultants must be well-versed in data analytics. A proper analysis will point to and prioritize opportunities. It will also provide the first view to challenge assumptions.
Engaging with a Supply Chain Consultant
Working with a supply chain consultant, as is true with any consultancy, requires openness and transparency. A good consultant is not engaged to tell you what you want to hear. They are engaged to help achieve your goals. There are times when this will require conversions and tough decisions.