Supply Chain Consulting When Do I Need It

Supply Chain Consulting – When do I Need It

The time to think about getting a supply chain consultant is when you want to get ahead with your logistics management.

Some of the first things to consider when looking for supply chain consulting - so you can take advantage of the supply chain 4.0 - include:

Finding ​the Best Supply Chain Consulting Partner 

An experienced supply chain consulting partner will have deep experience in your procurement and supply chain niches.

For example, you'll want to go with a consultant that can handle the size of task you have to complete. There ​is no one size fits all consultancy.

Visichain, the company who's blog you are reading now, tends to work with $1 billion USD plus enterprise clients, fixing their procurement challenges via a customized strategy of digital transformation.

For a supply chain consultancy like Visichain, it would not make sense to work on small projects relating to only one company and a few factories: The cost would be too high for the client and the customization would likely be overkill - as smaller clients, with less complexity, can usually get away with off-the-shelf cloud based platform solutions.

​For small client solutions, the supply chain consultant will usually match the client challenges with the best off-the-shelf solutions and then configure the software for the client with no ​real ​customization, such as custom coding, design and security. In these case the the smaller consultants will help with minor integrations to get the system up and running.

With an enterprise level custom solution, a consultant can oversee the developent of software that is built to order.

​There are many advantages to this:

  • ​A company does not have to fit their business into the often limited 'cookie cutter' solution common in off-the-shelf products - which tend to result in a complete business model overhaul that is less than ideal; or, when fully implemented, the final result is often ridden with patched together work-arounds that are buggy and hard to maintain.
  • ​​The enterprise can operate in their normal proprietary way without having to rethink the forced logic of an off-the-shelf solution.
  • The IP of a custom solution is the company's; and, when fully implemented, builds a moat around the business that is not easy to replicate. Compare this to an off-the-shelf solution available to anyone willing to pay the monthly fee and the competitive advantage a custom solution becomes clear.

​Shortlisting your supply chain consulting partner will be determined by multiple criteria:

  1. ​Is an off-the-shelf solution going to be adequate for your challenges and complexity?
  2. How many factories, countries, regulations, etc. do you need automated, synced, permissioned into the system design? 
  3. How many languages are required to provide clarity across your supply chain?
  4. Budget, what's yours? Complex world spanning projects can take years and millions of dollars to complete, to get the best out of your supply chain today - you must be prepared to invest.
  5. What's the technical aptitude of your team? Leaping the digital gap may require more than just a robust digital system, it often requires a bunch of training; are you and your team prepared to adapt?
  6. ​Why are you seeking a consultant to begin with?
  7. Are your logistics costs too high?
  8. ​Are your organization's operations in chaos?
  9. Do you have transparency into your supply chain to know that you are in compliance, that your vendors are doing what they said, that everything is running on time?
  10. Or, are you looking to get ahead by implementing product tracking via IoT, security with blockchain or some other over-hyped technology that may or may not be right for you?

​Supply Chain Consulting vs Software?

​In the case of consulting or software, it's not an either/or because - even with off-the-shelf software - you will most likely need it implemented by a consultant to fully partake of the software's potential.

As stated above, this implementation often forces you to squeeze your business into the logic of the software as opposed to the customization path, where the software is built to order based on how your business operates.

​Creative Problem Solving - the Consultant Edge

No matter how fast, or how easy software becomes, we have still not arrived at a point in time in human history where computer software can replace the right brain activity of ​creative​ problem solving.

​The greatest value add from a consultant is their proven problem solving ability when faced with novel challenges in your supply chain niche

Performance comes down to the people you employ and their capacity to use tools, like software, where appropriate and judgment gained from experience everywhere else.

This is the edge a qualified consultant can bring to your supply chain transformation.

What's it worth to you when you can quickly achieve bottom line impacting results with the help of a proven supply chain and logistics consultant? 

The more time you wait fiddling with software and not solutions adapted to your specific situation, the more your competition advances ahead.

Yes, you'll be interacting with software but only as a tool based on a strategic logic emergent in your current operations.

A great supply chain consultant can uncover the hidden value lurking within your supply chain and then he/she can have a major positive impact on your bottom line.

So, go with a consultant for creative ways to implement software for your unique conditions.

​Wrapping Up

​Optimizing a complex supply chain is challenging. There are many specialist, consultants, and advisors to choose from when looking for supply chain consulting.

Thanks to the complexity, there tend to be no perfect off-the-shelf solutions for enterprise level operations. Thus, it's wise to advance with the help of at least one, likely many, supply chain consultants to see your supply chain digital transformation fully realized.

A good consultant will be able to help you choose, or build, the right data integration tools. They will provide guidance and milestones along the way. They will save you money once you are at the real development phase.

And when you are done, you'll be fully prepared with a digital roadmap or a fully executed plan that your organization will be profiting from for decades to come.

​Don't Get Left Behind

​Schedule a free consultation with Visichain to ensure your supply chain and procurement operations continue to evolve and remain competitive in today's dynamic ​environment.

Richard McGirr

Do you need to create value and deliver change in your enterprise? With Visichain as your partner, you can leverage over 1 million hours of supply chain transformation experience from some of the largest companies in the world. Visichain drives visibility, productivity, and efficiency throughout your entire supply chain. Supply chain visibility at scale is essential to your business. Starting with the production of products all the way through free on board receiving, your business needs real-time data to help you minimize risk, drive efficiency, and make better decisions. Visichain designs, develops, and implements powerful yet easy to use software. Powerful solutions crafted to help your executives and supply chain managers leverage multiple data systems to partner with sourcing suppliers in real time. When you're ready to kick your procurement transformation strategy into high gear, send me a message through LinkedIn.