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Manufacturing Consulting: Key Traits of a Great Manufacturing Consultant

August 24, 2022

 by David Collins III

experienced manufacturing consultant talking to factory worker

If you are reading this, there is a good chance you need help getting your company’s (or supplier’s) manufacturing productivity to where it needs to be. Whether your problems are with rising costs, inconsistent production quality, delayed deliveries, or something else, you’ll want to find and hire the best manufacturing consultant for your organization's needs and challenges. 

Below are four key traits to look for when hiring a manufacturing consultant.

What Does a Manufacturing Consultant Do?

Manufacturing consultants are tasked to help companies based on the core elements of manufacturing: costs, quality, delivery, safety, and morale. To start with, manufacturing consultants will conduct an assessment to see what the root cause of the issue is. Based on this, they should find a long-term solution to the problems clients face. An important aspect to note is that manufacturing consultants should be on the production floor, not the office.

We have covered this in more detail in our previous blog.

4 Key Traits of a Great Manufacturing Consultant

With hundreds of thousands of manufacturing consultancies to choose from globally, it can be difficult to distinguish whether a consultant can truly deliver on their promises to make your factory more productive and efficient. Based on our own experience as consultants, these are a few things you should look out for.

1. Expert Knowledge in Manufacturing Process Consulting

Manufacturing any product is, at its core, about following processes to create quality products quickly and cost-effectively. The processes and complexities might vary, but the general methodology does not. 

The goal of good manufacturing is to be unnoticed so that firms can concentrate on expanding markets and developing products rather than worrying about meeting production targets.

A great manufacturing consultant does not need to understand your particular business to perform well. It is a bonus rather than a requirement. For example, CMC has a client that makes biodegradable waste bags for pets. No one in our team had worked on that sort of product before, but they had prior experience with molds and process control, so they grasped the situation quickly and saved the client over $3M in cost and quality improvements in 6 months.

The expert on your product and your industry is you, not the manufacturing consultant. His or her job is to improve your manufacturing and that is all.

7 common myths about manufacturing management presentation

2. Quotes Based on Your Manufacturing Challenges and Needs

While the general principles for good manufacturing are the same regardless of the product, the exact needs of every factory are different. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to improve manufacturing outcomes. Take, for example, automation. Many clients come to us wanting to implement an automation program. However, if the current processes in a factory are poorly managed and produce considerable waste, adding automation only automates the waste.

Good manufacturing consultants focus on your specific challenges and create plans based on them. More often than not, this will include a visit to see the factory and assess its current situation. Manufacturing consultants that claim they can solve your challenges without seeing your operations are not truthful. Any projects taken under those circumstances are likely to take longer and be less successful than projects analyzed and planned out first.

3. Communicates Key Performance Indicators Based on Core Manufacturing

In addition to your set KPIs for your manufacturing operations, more performance indicators should be advised by manufacturing consultants based on core manufacturing. Successful manufacturing is accomplished by focusing on these 5 core manufacturing aspects: quality, cost, delivery, safety, and morale. Any solutions that do not improve outcomes in most or all of these things are not useful results for a manufacturing firm.

4. Creates Manufacturing Environments That Facilitate Steady and Constant Growth

A certain tech giant famously said the goal of his company was to “move fast and break things.” While that might be useful for a company from an innovation standpoint, it is terrible for manufacturing.

Manufacturing progress is steady and constant and builds on what came before it. Manufacturing consultants should create an environment for continuous improvement and iron out production delays so that your company can plan successfully to meet market needs. You want to disrupt your market through innovation but not disrupt the actual manufacturing process of your products.

Final Words

You may have noticed we failed to mention what the price of a great manufacturing consultant should be. That's because the price should be a relatively minor consideration when choosing a manufacturing consultant. Choosing the right manufacturing consultant for your business will almost certainly pay for itself. Trying to save money by hiring an inferior consultancy firm is ultimately more expensive and frustrating than finding the right firm that can help you most effectively accomplish your manufacturing goals.

If you would like a deeper insight about hiring the right manufacturer for your company, visit our blogTop Considerations When Hiring A Manufacturing Consultant.” It can help you better understand not only what to look for but what further considerations you should make before hiring an advisor for your factory operations.


Click below to find out how CMC can improve your manufacturing operations.

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Topics: Lean Manufacturing, Manufacturing Consulting, Supplier Development

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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