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Understanding operations management consulting

Although much attention lately has been given to accounting practices and IT consulting, operations management has always been one of the most important efficiency issues of any company. Ensuring your communication, transportation, and production all work at maximum efficiency and with good integration can have a massive impact on your bottom line.

Today, itís not just about looking at your employees and your management; itís also about using GPS technology to maximize transportation efficiency; about leveraging information about production and ordering to maximize use of just-in-time business practices; about using IT to make assembly-line practices as efficient as possible. Operations management consultants need to be expert in people motivation and in the use of IT to get the most out of your production and delivery lines.

Finding operations management consultants

Before seeking out an operations management consultant, you should examine your own processes and determine what your real needs are. Do you need to streamline your transportation and delivery system? Or are your problems more with a bottleneck in production? Once youíve identified your real problems, one of the best ways to find an operations management consultant who specialized in that area is to read industry magazines. Often youíll find that experts write some of the best articles in trade journals, and that they are available for consulting jobs. Another great way to find management consultants is by asking friends and associates about consultants they may have hired in the past.

Once youíve located candidates, start asking questions. What can they do for you? What will they need to have access to in order to make changes? Describe some of your problems and ask what theyíd do to repair them.

Once your consultant is in place, ensure that they have access to everything they need. Speak with your line managers and other involved personnel about what the consultant is going to be doing, and what heís going to need from them in order to do it. Set some project management software in place, and ensure that your consultant feels free to ask you for whatever assistance he or she needs.

You should budget for more than just a consultant when youíre working on your operations management. You will certainly need to make some capital and equipment investments as well; a consultant is more likely to add tools than to remove them. Whether itís new software, GPS location equipment, or a revamping of the assembly line, youíll need to purchase new items to take advantage of the efficiencies your consultant discovers. This seems like an elementary concept; but often companies pour money into a great consultant, only to run out of cash when it comes time to implement the solutions the consultant has found. And by the time the cash is there to implementFree Articles, the information provided by the consultant is outdated!

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Jakob Jelling is the founder of Learn about change management, interim management, project management, corporate governance, management consulting and business development.

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