Uh-oh, they’re consultants!

Friday, August 16th, 2013


Uh-oh, they’re consultants!

A consultant can contribute in a variety of ways:

• Specialist skills, knowledge or expertise not available in-house
• As a flexible resource which can be switched in and out of projects
• Wider experience and a broader perspective drawn from their work with other organisations
• An independent view of current issues

When to use consultants:

• There is a need to bring about change and there are demonstrable commitment to act upon the
substance of the outputs or for ongoing project work
• The work cannot be handled internally i.e. the required knowledge and expertise is not available
in-house or from some other source
• New knowledge and experience is needed which adds value to the organisation
• The number of assignments does not exceed in-house capacity to manage them effectively
• There is measurable and deliverable value for money as a result of their employment and
• All the necessary authorities have been given

How to get the best from consultants:

• Make sure the required knowledge and expertise is not available within your organisation
• Use consultants only when you are determined to take action to bring about change – to grasp
opportunities or resolve problems
• Clearly define the goal to be achieved through the use of consultants and from identifying the
work that needs to be undertaken
• Identify and select the consultants who can provide the most appropriate mix of knowledge and
expertise – and deliver the most advantageous ‘value’
• Ensure that the results match the goals and are implemented through the proper action plan
• Review the assignment to assess the value achieved and ensure lessons learnt are disseminated
and incorporated in the management system

Uh-oh, they’re consultants! What else would you add to ensure you get the best out of retaining consultants? Please add your comments below.


About Brian Farrington
Brian Farrington is one of the world’s longest established procurement and supply chain consultancy and executive training specialists. 33 of the current FTSE100 have retained our services, as well as leading organisations in the UK, North America, southern Africa and Asia.

Established in 1978, we have proven expertise and experience in strategic procurement, sustainability and risk management.

Brian Farrington solutions and services are formed through consultancy, training & development, coaching, interim resource and recruitment.

Our four core areas of strategic procurement, sustainability and risk management capability are:

• Strategic review and commercial governance
• Performance delivery and transition
• Major project support including managing contractual risk
• Learning & development in support of organisational aims.

For more information on how Brian Farrington services and solutions can support you achieving your business aims, please call Steve Ashcroft on 01744 20698 or email me. We’ll set up a call.

Kind Regards


One Response

  1. Friday, August 16th, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    All valid points! As a former (I won’t go so far as to say ‘reformed’) consultant myself, I can remember the way many companies and individuals reacted to my team’s presence on site. I’d like to flatter myself by thinking that I was one of the ‘good ones’ and the reasons why made me more effective on behalf of my clients.

    – I owned my clients’ objectives and goals as though they were my own. If they fell short, I felt responsible, and did everything in my power to make them a success. I never threw them under the bus in an effort to distance myself from missed targets.
    – On my most successful engagements, I was a good cultural fit with the teams I was hired by. This allowed us to collaborate well and work together seamlessly. This is particularly important on long-term engagements. We went to lunch and dinner together because we enjoyed each other’s company which in turn made us that much more effective back in the office.
    – I was confident enough in my capabilities that I wanted to make sure the client succeeded after I was done. Far from being an indication that I was not needed, my clients realized that I was not deliberately building a dependency that might lead to additional business for my company.

    While they are ‘soft’ requirements, these considerations are critical for any organization considering bringing on a third party service provider.