Monday, September 10, 2007

Wherefor consultants?

Skippy: Hey, Buzz, I've been hearing an awful lot about these guys called consultants ... why does anyone use or need them?

Buzz: Well, depending upon who you talk to, you can get a whole bunch of different answers. You see, there's been quite a bit of change that's crept into the manufacturing socioeconomic structure over the past thirty five or so years. Back in the mid 1970's, a person would enter into a segment of the manufacturing workforce that they had been either trained in or educated to pursue and they hoped their contributions would lead to continued growth and success for an organization and a lifetime of advancement opportunities.

Skippy: Makes sense to me - so what's changed?

Buzz: Well, the measurement of growth and success began to become so competitive that a lot of companies came to believe that if the entire skilled workforce was not actively and aggressively upwardly mobile, then they must not be doing their jobs.

Skippy: But we need "worker bees", you can't continue to sustain growth without having a layer of middle management core disciplines in place to tactically exercise all of the upper management strategic objectives.

Buzz: Exactly. And what began to happen was these middle management personnel began to use their entry level positions to gain experience and move on to another opportunity until the timing was right for some organization to recognize them as either a valued asset or, better yet, ready to move up when an opportunity became available. When this scenario began to accelerate nationwide, there were more than just a few companies that quickly discovered that when they had the good fortune to meet some of their strategic goals, they had neither the experienced staffing or systems maturity to satisfy the increasing customer demands.

Skippy: So is this how the consultants became involved?

Buzz: Well, I'll just say that thirty five years later, there are a lot of manufacturing professionals who have either sustained the environments of job changes, corporate downsizing's or the expected attrition due to retirements that have an abundant amount of knowledge and experience to offer in their fields of expertise.

Skippy: Any way to know how and when to select the right ones?

Buzz: Absolutely, but let's save that for another chat . . .

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