Daily Archives: September 3, 2010

Why You Should Use a Consultant

Editor’s Note: This post is from regular contributor Norman Katz, Sourcing Innovation’s resident expert on supply chain fraud and supply chain risk. Catch up on his column in the archive.

Over the years I’ve come to realize that clients rely on consulting services for two reasons:

  1. Because they don’t have the personnel
  2. Because they don’t have the personnel

The difference between the two reasons is that clients either don’t have enough warm bodies to throw at a problem and they need an extra one in the interim or they don’t have the specialized talents and expertise the consultant brings to the table.

Those are two pretty good reasons for organizations to use a consultant — especially one who is willing to transfer knowledge which enables them to take ownership of the projects that they work on jointly with the consultant. For short-term projects of a few weeks or a few months it usually does not make sense to hire an employee when using a consultant is actually a more effective and efficient answer.

So how do you find the right consultant?A great consultant strides to distinguish herself from other consultants by not offering commodity products and services, even though it can be a double-edged sword at times. Let’s face it: a great consultant’s bag of mixed tricks is somewhat specialized and can be a little difficult to explain. Her best “elevator pitch” is likely reliant on the elevator getting stuck between floors for an hour or so. But then again, if a consultant can provide you with their full value proposition in a minute or two, how much do they really know?

But there’s third reason — and a really good one — to use a consultant. And this aspect is what can even separate specialists from being viewed as valued advisors: a good consultant is professionally “out there”.

Aside from reading a daily newspaper or two and approximately a dozen or so various business publications (supply chain, manufacturing, technology, financial, fraud, security, etc.) each month, a good consultant will attend conferences and informational networking events and be on top of current trends and best practices. She will then relay this information to her clients when she learns something she thinks they should know — and do so in a timely fashion. (And, unlike a lawyer, won’t charge a minimum hourly fee to do it!) And the client stays on the ball without having to fork out tens of thousands of dollars to an analyst firm whose reports are stale as soon as they are published.

So hire a consultant today. It’s the best investment you can make with your money.

Norman Katz, Katzscan

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A Hitchhiker’s Guide to e-Procurement: Summary

Mostly Harmless, Part XXV

Previous Post 

EIPP, P2P, e-Purchasing, and e-Procurement. What does it all mean?

This series provided a basic introduction to the world of e-Procurement. Each of the phases was discussed and key requirements were highlighted. In addition, the series also overviewed some of the primary challenges associated with each phase, some best practices to overcome those challenges, and some of the benefits the organization could also expect to see. While it was not intended to be complete, it is a great start for anyone embarking on an e-Procurement journey.

In addition, it also provided some great advice on how to compute the total cost of ownership of a system under consideration, how to analyze the efficacy of a solution relative to the organization’s procurement model, how to determine it’s appeal from both public and private sector viewpoints, and how to differentiate a system from EIPP, P2P, and e-Purchasing imitators.

A true e-Procurement solution is a very rich and powerful solution that will automate the tactical back-office process from start to finish, greatly decreasing the resources that must be assigned to tactical tasks, and associated processing costs. Considering that many studies have found that an e-Procurement solution can reduce the cost of invoice processing by as much as 98%, and that a manually processed invoice costs an average organization between 50 and 120 dollars, the transactional savings alone can be enormous. But these savings can be dwarfed when maverick spend is greatly reduced and new opportunities for savings are identified from the centralized warehouse of organizational purchases. An ROI of 5 or more is not out of the question if the right solution is selected and utilized properly.

So if an organization does not have a good e-Procurement solution, it should get one today. There are over a dozen providers in the space with good solutions (and many have been reviewed in the vendor post archives), and at least one of them should be the right fit. For more information on e-Procurement, there’s also the e-SourcingWiki Paper, which, in addition to a brief overview of the cycle and core capabilities, also overviews some important features of e-Procurement solutions in addition to more challenges, best practices, and benefits. In addition, it also has a brief glossary of standard procurement terms. (And, for even more information, one can always check out the Procurement Innovation archives here on Sourcing Innovation.)

That’s all for now, folks. Feel free to flip back through the series and read it again.

Back to the Beginning

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