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The Right Questions to Ask When Hiring Supply Chain Consultants

Posted on May 25, 2017 in News

As you almost certainly know if you follow this blog, I run a group of companies that includes a couple of successful supply chain consulting firms. That’s my full disclosure out of the way before you read the rest of this post.

So why am I going to reveal the questions you must ask before engaging supply chain consultants?


Mostly it’s because if you’re a company leader thinking about hiring supply chain consultants, I want to help you select the right partner and hence maximise the likelihood of a successful engagement.


It helps of course, that I know my own companies can unfailingly provide the right answers to these questions, and because they are the questions most often asked by discerning clients, before they engage consultants from Logistics Bureau or SME supply chain specialists from Dawson Consulting.


The 5 Most Important Questions to Ask

Without any further preamble then, here are five questions to ask any firm of supply chain consultants before making the decision to engage them:


  1. Does your expertise encompass the entire range of supply chain elements and components, or just some parts of the supply chain?

For most supply chain problems/opportunities, there is a multitude of possible causes and solutions. You’re more likely to arrive at the most cost-effective solution by engaging consultants who work across the entire supply chain.


  1. Is your firm truly independent and agnostic with regard to the solutions you recommend?

A lot of supply chain consultants make at least some of their money through affiliations with product or solution vendors or service providers.

While these firms might offer their services at a price that seems hard to refuse, you can be sure their recommendations will involve you buying something from which they’ll make a profit—but less sure if doing so will deliver the best outcome for your business.


  1. Can you provide references from clients who hired you for projects similar in type, size, and scope to this one?

You will incur considerable expenditure through hiring and retaining supply chain consultants, so you must make sure you’re spending money as wisely as possible. Don’t engage supply chain consultants if they can’t put you in contact with several past clients who used them for projects similar to your own.


  1. Can you provide at least one reference from a client who has hired you multiple times?

This question, like the previous one, serves as a valuable safeguard against mediocre or poor results. The right answer will assure you that the consultants have delivered consistently good results. If not, their clients would have been unlikely to ask them back for more.


  1. Do you employ your staff or use subcontracted independent supply chain consultants?

Beware any firm of supply chain consultants that is vague about resources, or openly admits to subcontracting resources onto clients’ projects. You are much more likely to enjoy a stable pool of resources throughout your project with a company that has its own full-time employees.


Beware the Need for Persistence

Don’t be afraid to press the questions I’ve recommended in this post, but if you feel like you are being stonewalled, you shouldn’t feel compelled to persist too doggedly.


There are many good supply chain consultants out there, so there’s really no need to do business with a company that can’t answer your questions right off the bat.


I hope these suggestions prove helpful in your search for supply chain consultants, and of course, if you’d like to pose them to the team at Logistics Bureau or Dawson Consulting, please feel free to make contact. I know for sure you’ll be pleased with the answers you receive.


Best Regards,


Rob O’Byrne

Group Managing Director


Phone:+61 417 417 307

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