SPECIAL SECTION/BUSINESS GUIDE: Changing the Direction of Your Company

December 1, 2010
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The economic downturn presents hardships to virtually every organization in the U.S. Between changes in the market and shifts in consumer attitudes, companies have been challenged to do more with fewer resources. The result is that streamlining operations and improving efficiencies are no longer just goals to strive toward-they are necessities of business survival. Especially during today's recovering economy, it is imperative that organizations implement more effective processes to remain competitive.

Why Use a Consultant?

Turning around your business is easier said than done. While many companies have the desire to improve, they often simply don't know how. Many organizations ask themselves questions like: "Where do I begin?", "What areas do I target?", "What strategy do I take?" and "What types of results will I see?"

No matter the industry or size of the company, consultants can help manufacturers navigate a better path toward success-that's what consultants are specifically trained to do. If you had the flu, you would go to a doctor for medicine. If you needed education, you would go to a teacher to get a degree. If your car's engine blew out, you would go to a mechanic to get it fixed. When your company needs to be more productive and profitable, it only makes sense to turn to a consultant.

Potential Benefits

Utilizing consulting as a strategic choice for improvement offers numerous advantages, including objectivity, expertise, holistic view, a focus on results and sustainability.

Objectivity

You invest so much time and passion in your organization that it can sometimes be difficult to take a step back and give your business an honest assessment. Consultants are independent professionals who have an impartial view of your company. They will give you objective feedback based on their unbiased analysis, and their outside perspective will bring fresh ideas to the table.

Expertise

You've probably heard the saying, "You can't get blood from a stone." However, that's not always the case when working with a consultant. Consultants have experience implementing proven improvement methodologies and are constantly identifying new processes and technological advancements to support your business needs.

Holistic View

While managers may be strong at their core competencies, they can sometimes overlook the bigger picture. Consultants look at an organization comprehensively and see how all the puzzle pieces work together. They work with the company to build a team that fosters appreciation for other departments and is enthusiastic for change.

Results-Focused

At the bottom line, you want results-consultants are intent on delivering them. Consultants are industry experts that know how to improve your daily operations. They focus on areas such as productivity, increased sales, job creation and retention, and profitability so your business can succeed.

Sustainability

What's the point of improving if the results don't last? In addition to addressing short-term needs, consultants also look to the future. They provide tools that enable manufacturers to continuously grow and implement policies that lead to long-lasting results.

Is Now the Right Time?

During unpredictable times, it's difficult to make the investment in change. However, it's critical for your business to identify and improve ineffective operations in order to weather the storm.

"I'm glad we invested in consulting during the downturn," says Bob Echter, president of Dramm and Echter Inc. "It allowed us to have a clear focus on improvement instead of concentrating on negativity. We're trying to move forward instead of hiding under a rock. Understanding the importance of training demonstrates your desire to improve the leadership and skills of your employees, and the company as a whole."

It's important to keep an open mind to the available resources that can help improve you business. Everyone has the goal to make their business better-consultants have the tools to achieve it.

For more information about working with a consultant, contact California Manufacturing Technology Consulting (CMTC) at (310) 263-3018, e-mail emckewen@cmtc.com or visit www.cmtc.com.

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