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Are Manufacturing Consultants Worth the Investment?

January 6, 2023

 by David Collins III

manufacturing consultant speaking to a group of factory workers

Looking at the manufacturing consultant's rates and prices for hiring could cause doubt for any cost-conscious company. Why not solve these problems on your own instead? While it may be tempting to save money, there are many ways manufacturing consultants can bring significant results to your operations.

In this article, we will dive deep into the benefits of hiring a manufacturing consultant, the various services they provide, and key considerations before making the decision to bring one on board.

The Role of a Manufacturing Consultant: Services and Expertise

Manufacturing consultants offer advice and expertise to factories in improving the quality of the products and overall business performance. This includes operations, profitability, management, structure, and strategy. By choosing the right manufacturing consultant, businesses can acquire skills and knowledge that the company may lack to reach their bottom line. Some of the services they provide include analyzing production processes, assisting in your plant turnaround process, identifying bottlenecks, and training employees to improve efficiency and productivity.

For an in-depth analysis of understanding the practical and tangible work of manufacturing consultants in improving production processes, please read our blog here.

The Value of Manufacturing Consultants: A Cost-Benefit Analysis

To determine if manufacturing consultants are worth the investment, it's essential to consider the potential return on investment (ROI). For example, if a manufacturing consultant helps a company lower rework from 20% to 5%, it manifests in lower material costs, labor costs, and improved delivery to end-users. Similarly, if the manufacturing consultant can improve productivity to meet rising capacity needs with the same equipment and workforce as before, the cost of the consultant(s) is almost certainly worth it. Finally, if a manufacturing consultant can successfully identify the 'Hidden Factory' within your manufacturing facility, you can consider the consultant an excellent investment.

Including real-life examples, case studies, or testimonials can provide evidence of the effectiveness of manufacturing consultants, adding credibility to your content and making it more persuasive.

6 Key Factors to Consider Before Hiring a Manufacturing Consultant

1. Understand what manufacturing consultants can do for you

Manufacturing consultants are experts in manufacturing, not necessarily on your specific product. They can offer advice on weaknesses in design in terms of manufacturing, but you will need a design expert to make changes.

2. Manufacturing consultants are not quality inspectors

Hiring a manufacturing consulting firm to inspect your product and find defects is often an overpriced service. Many 3rd party inspection companies can do this more cost-effectively.

3. There is no one-size-fits-all solution

Every factory is different and requires a different approach. Manufacturing consulting is hands-on and needs time to analyze and understand the challenges before recommending solutions.

4. Don't chase cheap consultants

Effective manufacturing consultants are not cheap. Chasing the lowest price bidder will often lead to poor results. Check the credentials of the company and the people that would be on the project.

5. Cooperate with the manufacturing consultant

Companies that work cooperatively with their manufacturing consultant are more successful than those that do not. Remember, their goal is to help you achieve better results from your manufacturing efforts.

6. Results take time

Manufacturing consulting is not a silver bullet. Even if the problem is obvious, it will not be fixed in a day. Employees need time to adjust to new working instructions and procedures, but these changes can reap enormous gains with time and effort.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Manufacturing Consultants

1. What are the different types of manufacturing consultants?

There are six different types of manufacturing consultants commonly found in China, each offering unique expertise and services to support your operations. These include:

The Training Company

Offers specialized training for employees in various areas such as ISO 9001 implementation, increasing profits, and using Kanban signals. However, these trainers may not address specific organizational needs or provide hands-on assistance.

The Equipment Salesperson

Helps companies automate production processes or manufacture new products by selling and providing technical equipment support. They may present themselves as consultants, but their primary goal is to sell equipment.

The Hands-Off Advisors

These advisors provide guidance and mentorship to factory owners and managers but do not offer hands-on assistance, leaving the implementation of changes to the organization itself.

The Hands-on Stabilizers

Focus on stabilizing operations by applying standardized tools and methods, resulting in better-looking facilities and improved quality. However, their approach may be limited in driving significant improvements or adapting to unique client requirements.

The Hands-on Improvement Consultants

Drive deep and lasting improvements by shaking up the organization and implementing change management strategies. They address various aspects of the business, from reorganizing processes to setting up management systems.

The Purely Technical Service Providers

Offer technical expertise in specific areas, such as die casting or rubber molding, and may develop tools or equipment to improve operational performance. However, they are often hard to find in China.


2. What other tips should I consider before hiring a manufacturing consultant? 

Determine if you need a manufacturing consultant

If your company does not directly manufacture products and outsources production, a manufacturing consultant can help you focus on other aspects of your business like innovation and marketing by handling manufacturing issues.

Address inefficiencies to reduce costs

If your business is struggling with issues like scrap, late orders, or quality concerns, a manufacturing consultant can help identify and resolve these inefficiencies, potentially saving your company money in the long run.

Assess the consultant's skills and expertise

A good manufacturing consultant should have a diverse range of experiences in various industries. Amongst a whole host of factors, consider the following points when evaluating a consultant:

  • Avoid training companies if you need hands-on support for manufacturing operations.
  • Be cautious if a consultant provides a quote before assessing your factory, as they may not fully understand the specific challenges you face.
  • Watch out for overly expensive or generic solutions that may not address your unique needs.
  • Niche industry expertise can be valuable but is not always necessary. A consultant with broad experience and proven results may be more effective than one solely focused on your industry.


Are You Interested in a Manufacturing Consultation?

To get the most out of manufacturing consultants, you need to work well with them and understand where they provide the most value in your operations. With experience in various manufacturing categories, including but not limited to automotive, electronics, textiles, industrial machinery, and furniture, CMC has a team of more than 20 full-time manufacturing consultants. Reach out to us today to set up a manufacturing consultation.

If you would like to learn more about how CMC achieves results in our consulting projects, please get in touch with us

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Topics: Cost Reduction, Management/Turnaround, Manufacturing Consulting

David Collins III

David Collins III

David was a Senior Strategy Consultant for Deloitte, served in Iraq as a Special Operations Civil Affairs soldier, and as a Governance Advisor to the Afghan Government with the Department of State. At CMC, David advises clients on strategy and investments.

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