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The 4 Characteristics 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 optimizing your company’s (or supplier’s) manufacturing productivity. Whether you are dealing with problems related to rising costs, inconsistent production quality or delayed deliveries, you’ll want to find and hire the best manufacturing consultant for your organization's needs and challenges. 

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.

The 4 Characteristics of a Great Manufacturing Consultant

  1. Expert Knowledge in Your Manufacturing Process

    Manufacturing any product is about following processes to create quality products quickly and cost-effectively. The processes and complexities might vary, but the general methodology does not. Great manufacturing consultants should understand the fundamentals of your processes, which should allow them to instantly recognise the root of the issue, and provide solutions.

    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 had 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. With a strong foundational knowledge of manufacturing processes, lean manufacturing consultants can also identify 'Hidden Factories' and apply relevant lean principles to help turnaround your factory.

  2. Agility to Adapt to Various 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. 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. This will include a visit to see the factory and assess its current situation. Manufacturing consultants who claim they can solve your challenges without seeing your operations can't be trusted. 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 (KPIs) Based on Core Manufacturing

    In addition to the KPIs you set for your manufacturing operations, more performance indicators should be advised by manufacturing consultants based on core manufacturing. Focus on the following 5 core manufacturing aspects for successful manufacturing:

    - Quality

    - Cost

    - Delivery

    - Safety

    - 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 and break any of the fundamental processes that have been previously working for you.


The Price of Hiring a Manufacturing Consultant

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.


The Strategic Value of Selecting the Right Manufacturing Consultant

Choosing the right manufacturing consultant is pivotal for enhancing productivity and addressing challenges within your manufacturing operations. The key lies in identifying consultants with a deep understanding of manufacturing processes, the agility to tailor strategies to specific needs, effective communication of KPIs, and the ability to foster environments conducive to steady growth. Remember, the value of a skilled consultant far outweighs the cost, serving as an investment in your company's efficiency and long-term success.

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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