One question we always ask is what is supply chain consulting? And equally important: what can it do for my business?
A supply chain consultant helps businesses optimize their supply chain in two key ways. First, by improving their end-to-end logistics for more efficiency and a better overall customer experience. And second, by identifying and eliminating wasteful spending to allow for greater profits. In doing so, they help ensure that businesses get the most effective supply chain strategy possible, using technology, data analytics, and industry benchmarks to impart positive change wherever needed.
No matter where your business falls on the supply chain pipeline, there’s a good chance you could benefit from the insight of an experienced supply chain consultant. However, you must work with someone genuinely worth the investment. Below, we’re covering the traits you should be looking for in supply chain consulting companies and individual consultants, with five must-have characteristics.
What Do Supply Chain Consultants Do?
Supply chain consultants work directly with an organization’s management team to identify and address existing supply chain network challenges. This involves deep-diving into every single step of the current pipeline and making data-backed suggestions for efficiency drivers and performance enhancements.
The ultimate goal of a supply chain consultant is to streamline the supply chain process, so it works better and costs less. And with that goal in mind, it’s easy to see how hiring a great supply chain consultant could be a big win for your business.
5 Traits to Look for in Supply Chain Management Consultants
Don’t waste your time—or your budget—on a supply chain consultant who doesn’t have the skills to do the job right. When you’re looking for a consultant to bring on board, here are the five traits that will tell you they’ve got what it takes to make a real difference for your organization.
1. Project Management Skills
Any supply chain consultant you work with must be able to take the lead on the optimization process. This requires strong project management skills and a proven ability to set clear objectives and a streamlined plan for achieving them.
2. Experience Across the Supply Chain
There are many moving parts in a supply chain, and your consultant needs to be able to address them with equal amounts of expertise. Of course, you can always bring on a specialist later if required, but at least at the start, you want someone who understands what goes into each process step and how they can be optimized.
3. Tech Knowledge
Today’s supply chains run on technology—the same goes for supply chain solutions. If your consultant isn’t savvy about the latest supply chain tech, they won’t be able to guide you toward the best tools, so look for someone who is up to date on supply chain technology and platforms.
4. Understanding of Your Company and Industry
There is no such thing as one-size-fits-all supply chain solutions. Any consultant you hire must display a keen understanding of your business and your industry and be able to use that understanding as a basis for the suggestions they make.
5. Cost-to-Serve Knowledge
You can’t make decisions if you don’t know how much they will cost you. A great supply chain consultant can break down the cost-to-serve for each improvement they offer and the more general impact these changes will have on your bottom line.
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