What can Supply Chain Consultants do for me?

Consultants sometimes have a bad rap right out of the gate. After all who wants someone to tell you how to do your job or run your business?

Frankly, if your business is growing and changing you probably need a consultant to help you chart your future.

This is not a small under-taking and it can be challenging but very rewarding when approached with the correct partner. The key is understanding your objectiveswhat is realistic to expect as a return on your investment, and the type of knowledge that a Logistics Consultant can bring to the table.

When do you need a consultant? 

Some good indicators might be the following:

  1. You are either privately held or a division of a large company in a specific market that is a new focus.
  2. You have reached 50 million dollars in sales revenue.
  3. You have primarily operated from one location.
  4. You want to grow your business by expanding geographically.
  5. You want to grow by acquisition.
  6. Your current logistics team is knowledgeable, but they have never operated multiple locations, evaluated multiple modes of transportation, or possessed the support staff to train new employees.
  7. Transportation is a big part of your total cost of going to market.
  8. The value of your business in either service or manufacturing is very high per employee.
  9. You have product coming through a port but are uncertain of what ports are best and why.
  10. Your Supply Chain Costs are increasing dramatically in Warehouse and or Transportation and you do not have a formal way to measure your investment.

Let’s look at and talk about Supply Chain and Logistics Management Consultants (LMC). They are SME (subject matter experts) on how to move your Logistics Network from where it is today, to where it needs to be in the future. Network evaluations are relatively painless, but they take time to complete properly. For example, if you feel that a 6-week consultation will allow you to plan for and adapt to a new network, don’t waste the money.

If, however, you realize that the process could and should take up to 6 months to fully realize, then go for it. Because like most things that are keys to your business success, they take time.

Supply Chain costs are rising, becoming more complex and now demand more automation. It only makes sense to have someone who has been down the path before, who can guide your team and bring in expertise if your current management does not provide that expertise. As your business expands, its demands for adequate supply chain management increase. These increases are like stepping-stones. They go up in increments or buckets. For example, you may have to go from a single warehouse to multiple warehouses. Or quite the opposite, you may have grown by opening small warehouses throughout your network and now need to take a hard look at a smaller number of warehouses, maybe even just one, with a larger single set of inventories. And, oh by the way, you may need a WMS (warehouse management system) and a TMS (transportation management system) or an upgrade to both if you already have some in place. Additionally, how do you, or how will you, handle managing you transportation needs? Will you do it “in-house” or utilize external management? What are the upsides and downsides of each approach? How have you accommodated supply chain risk? Did you factor in the trade-offs between operating different (multiple) facilities as opposed to one large facility? This logic also holds for how, when and where you source your product. If the pandemic has taught you anything, it has taught you the value of operating a flexible supply chain for both sourcing as well as moving product through your system.

So how does a LMC Consultant provide you with value?

Here’s how: If competent, they can create a roadmap of “AS IS” and “TO BE” showing how you stack up against industry baselines, how you maximize your competitive supply chain profile and how to develop a sustainable “TO BE” supply chain that helps rather than hinders your business as it expands.

All in all, the question is not whether you need a LMC consultation, its whether you can afford NOT to hire and use one. Market conditions are moving faster than ever. How long would it take your management team to learn what they need to know? Savings in speed can provide a lot of value. Rather than debating a topic for a year a consultant can provide solutions much faster. How much is that worth to your business? If you do not hire a consultant will opportunities vanish?

Typical savings that we encounter from our own consulting efforts usually generate savings in Supply Chain costs, NET savings, of between 15% and 25% long term. If you’re in it for the long term and you have a business that is growing, you need to strongly consider hiring a LMC Consultant to help steer your business through the myriad of supply chain issues affecting your business now and in the foreseeable future.

Riverside Logistics, has been in business for over 25 years and has accumulated a very “long and strong” set of capabilities to analyze, recommend, and execute a Logistics plan for your company.

About the author

Jim Durfee
Vice President Business Transformation
Headquarters: Riverside Logistics, Inc., 5160 Commerce Road, Richmond, VA 23234
Riverside Logistics is a full-service third-party logistics company (3PL), delivering world-class supply chain management solutions.

If you would like more information or have questions about this article,  please call Jim at 804- 474-7700 Option #4.