Supply Chain Blog

Interim Management & Consultancy – What's the difference?

Posted by Michael Thompson on Thu, May 25, 2017
At Enchange, we have provided many supply chain interim managers for clients over the years. I was discussing our supply chain interim management services with a client recently and she asked whether she should be hiring interim managers or consultants.
 
We had a long chat and it turned out that interim managers were the right solution for her requirement.  The main reason in this case was that she insisted in retaining total control of the project and the key need was for expert resource to deliver a number of work stream projects.

So, for anyone else facing a similar dilemma here are seven key differences between interim management and consultancy:
  1. Notice  Interim managers are often placed at short notice.  Consultancy contracts usually take several months to agree and commence.
  2. Terms of reference  Interim management assignments nearly always commence with ‘implementation-driven’ terms of reference.  Consultancy contracts nearly always involve a process of analysis and usually include design work.  For an interim management contract, the analysis has usually been undertaken by the client.
  3. Project work  For project work, consultancy projects provide expertise not available in the company.  Interim management projects could normally be carried out by client personnel but resource is usually a constraint.
  4. Executive power  Interim managers are often called upon to demonstrate strong leadership from the outset of an assignment and can have a large degree of executive power.  Tough people decisions are sometimes made quickly.  It is unusual for a consultant to exercise executive authority.
  5. Client relationship  Typically interim managers become part of the client team quickly and identify totally with the needs of the client company.  Consultants, while always working closely with clients, often maintain an ‘arms-length’ relationship with client staff and identify totally with project deliverables.
  6. Contract duration  Interim management contracts are typically of longer duration than consultancy contracts.  However, the maximum duration for any assignment should not exceed 18-24 months.
  7. Fee rates are typically lower for interim management contracts.  At Enchange our rates for top quality interim supply chain managers certainly are lower.

 users guide to interim management

Tags: FMCG, Interim Management, Performance Improvement, Pharma, Michael Thompson, Supply Chain

Top 10 Times You Need Supply Chain Interim Management

Posted by Michael Thompson on Fri, May 12, 2017
Supply Chain Interim ManagementI have been talking to a number of supply chain executives during the last few weeks and something of a theme has emerged.
The theme is the immediate need for highly skilled supply chain resource, available at short notice, with the flexibility to switch off the resource at wil..….and at fee rates comparable to existing resource. “So nothing unreasonable there”, I thought.

What we actually discussed was supply chain interim management and how the placing of a specific skilled resource can have a dramatic postive impact on an organisation. We went on to discuss the typical roles that supply chain executives are currently demanding.  

With this and our recent experience with clients, I offer the following top 10 supply chain interim management roles:
  1. Resource gap. Bridging a gap prior to a full time appointment being made.  This was mentioned by everyone – “we need a planning manager …. now”.
  2. Backfill. To temporarily backfill a position because the incumbent manager is about to be seconded to a project or may be emabrking on maternity leave. “We have a large project that has started (ERP projects were mentioned a number of times) & we need an interim Head of Supply Chain”.
  3. Project Managing a specific project that would normally be carried out by company personnel but experienced resource is a constraint.  This is a common need and mentioned frequently.
  4. Temporary or part-time operational assignments the need for which will end, do not justify a full time employee or are designed to coach and train a new manager. 
  5. Holding the fort in a situation where company strategy is not decided and operational roles are unclear while the business must keep going forwards.
  6. Crisis. Managing a crisis when a unexpected event occurs, e.g. dismissal, death or unexpected departure.
  7. Post-acquisition or merger management prior to establishment of the full management team.
  8. Pre-sale management of a company or business unit in preparation for a sale.
  9. Urgent change management of strategy, cost, structure, organisation, process etc., when an external threat is recognised. e.g. sudden loss of market share, competitive move, unsustainable debt position, hostile take-over bid, etc.
  10. Turnaround management or ‘company doctor’ when a permanent position is inappropriate or the role may be perceived as too risky to attract a permanent candidate.
My discussions were with a relatively small number of people so I would welcome any further comments or indeed, requests for assistance.

 

Tags: FMCG, Interim Management, Performance Improvement, Pharma, Michael Thompson, Supply Chain

Relieve your FMCG pain - secure Interim Supply Chain Support

Posted by Dave Jordan on Wed, May 10, 2017

I know you are busy. Not enough hours in the day. Deadlines rapidly approaching. Your children call you Uncle Dad or Auntie Mum. Before the stress takes its inevitable toll think about relieving the pressure without adding to head count.

Interim Manager SoftedgeWhy s Interim Management an opportunity at present? Mainly as a result of the continuing economic conditions numerous companies have folded this year and a similar number have been taken over or merged with others. Obviously companies that fold are too late to be helped although I am not sure too many actually sought the right professional help and guidance in good time.

Those companies and Private Equity players merging or buying in this period need to have their new businesses in good shape to ensure the ROI in the contract deal has even a chance of coming to fruition. When the green shoots of recovery actually start looking like shrubs, shareholders and PE owners will rightly expect their pound of flesh.

One route to accelerating and establishing integration and realignment is to use the services of an Interim Manager. Hear are 7 reasons why hiring an Interim Manager (IM) can be of benefit.

  1. Return On Investment. No, it is not more expensive than hiring full time (FTE) or temporary employees. Take all recruitment and employment costs into account and you will appreciate the efficiency of IM. You may pay your employees for turning up for work whereas IM can be remunerated against set objectives and delivery. (Consider the cost if you make the wrong choice of FTE and have to go through a lengthy, disruptive and expensive exit process!)
  2. Speed. Senior Interim Managers are readily available for Supply Chain tasks. You do not have to waste time going through a lengthy search and selection process with a fee-taking headhunter.
  3. Expertise. Interim Managers are usually seasoned professionals with deep operational experience. A vast majority will have successfully held senior roles in blue-chip organisations for long periods.  No training is required; you get a “vertical start-up”.
  4. Objectivity. Interim Managers are able to look at a given situation with a fresh set of eyes and will not be afraid of “treading on toes” or telling the boss there is a better way!
  5. Accountability. Interim Managers are not there to advise. They are in place to handle a specific project or a department in transition. Unlike full time employees they are very comfortable at being rewarded (or not) based on black and white objective achievement.
  6. Effectiveness. Possibly the most obvious contribution of IM. Once the Board has given a mandate to carry out a task, the IM will get on and do it without struggling through a bout of inertia. “Just Do It” sums this up nicely. 
  7. Commitment. Interim Managers remuneration means they have a direct financial stake in the assignment. They are not there to make friends or pave the way for recruitment. They wish to do the job well, get paid and move onto the next challenge.

If you have a difficult job to be done within a defined timetable and you do not currently have the resources in-house you should consider the value an Interim Manager can bring both to yourself and your organisation. Gaze into the future and see what tough jobs need to be done well now to ensure you are ahead of the game.

Interim Management User's Guide

 

Image credit : CELALTEBER

Tags: Interim Management, Mergers & Acquisitions, Dave Jordan, Supply Chain, CEE, Logistics Management

Supply Chain: The benefits of Interim Management

Posted by Dave Jordan on Wed, Mar 29, 2017

Interim SC Expert at Hand Netsize resized 600Interim Management is an approach used by companies to “make things happen” within a clear budget and without the headaches of recruiting a full time employee (FTE).  The benefits are numerous but initially……

Immediate access to expert supply chain skills and experience in your sector.

No hidden extras. You pay the daily fee rate and expenses; no more, no less.

Training for your staff to ensure supply chain knowledge and skills imparted and retained.

Experienced supply chain interim managers available now at all levels of seniority.

Remove internal hurdles and barriers to change.

International experience gained from working in many countries, companies and in relevant sectors.

Motivated to achieve results to tight time and cost objectives.

Maintain the resource while you need it without any financial burden at contract end.

Avoid permanent employee costs which are significant.

No inconvenient holidays, training courses or conferences.

Ability to challenge your supply chain status quo and make sustainable change in the business.

Generate savings and efficiency improvements in a short timescale.

Expectations should high be as you are buying international expertise.

Make your business prepared for the competition in difficult economies.

Excellent return on investment.

No political axe to grind and no bias; straightforward advice and actions.

Take a look at the Enchange approach to Interim Management, eave your details via the contact form and we will call you back. If you are not sure you need Interim Management then you probably do!

Tags: FMCG, Interim Management, Dave Jordan, Performance Improvement, Pharma, Supply Chain, CEE

FMCG: 7 Reasons to engage an Interim Supply Chain Manager

Posted by Dave Jordan on Wed, Mar 11, 2015

The global recession rumbles on and on and on like Coronation Street – which will end first? Once again it is Greece holding out a cap for another IMF/EU bale out? Spain and others remain on the brink and France/Germany seem to be keeping their own Euro boats afloat by sinking Euro partners. Is that what baling out really means?

Which leads me to write on why Interim Management is a particular opportunity at present? Mainly as a result of the economic conditions, numerous companies have folded this year and a similar number have been taken over or merged with others and there is more of each to come, I fear. Obviously companies that go bust are too late to be helped although I am not sure too many actually sought professional help and guidance anyway.

Those operating companies and Private Equity (PE) players merging or buying in this period need to have their new businesses in good shape to ensure the ROI in the contract deal has a chance of coming to fruition. When the green shoots of recovery actually start looking like thriving shrubs, shareholders and PE owners will expect their pound (or Euro?) of flesh.

One route to accelerating and establishing integration and realignment is to use the services of an Interim Manager. Here are 7 reasons why hiring an Interim Manager (IM) can be of huge benefit to companies:

  1. Return On Investment. No, it is not more expensive than hiring full time (FTE) or temporary employees. Take all recruitment and employment costs into account and you will appreciate how efficient IM costs can be. You pay your employees for turning up for work whereas IM are paid against set objectives and delivery. (Consider the cost if you make the wrong choice of FTE and have to go through a lengthy, disruptive and expensive exit process.)

  2. Speed. Senior Interim Managers are readily available and located in CEE. You do not have to waste time going through a lengthy search and selection process with a fee-taking head-hunter followed by a training period.

  3. Expertise. Interim Managers are often seasoned professionals with deep operational experience. A vast majority will have successfully held senior roles in blue-chip organisations for long periods.  No training is required; you get a “vertical start-up”.
    FMCG interim management performance improvement
  4. Objectivity. Interim Managers are able to look at a given situation with a fresh set of eyes and will not be afraid of “treading on toes” or telling the boss there really is a better way!

  5. Accountability. Interim Managers are not there to advise. They are in place to handle a specific project or a department in transition. Unlike full time employees they are very comfortable at being rewarded (or not) based on black and white objective achievement.

  6. Effectiveness. Possibly the most obvious contribution of IM. Once the Board has given a mandate to carry out a task they will get on and do it without struggling through a bout of inertia. “Just Do It” sums this up nicely.

  7. Commitment. Interim Managers remuneration means they usually have a direct financial stake in the assignment. They are not there to make friends or pave the way for recruitment. They wish to do the job well, get paid and move onto the next challenge.

If you have a difficult job to be done within a defined timetable and you do not have the resources in-house you should consider the value an Interim Manager can bring both to yourself and your organisation. Gaze into the post-recession future and see what tough jobs need to be done now to ensure you are ahead of the game when the flowers finally bloom.

Interim Management Image courtesy of Enchange.com

Green shoots image courtesy graur codrin at freedigitalphotos.net

Tags: FMCG, Interim Management, CEO, Performance Improvement, Private Equity, Supply Chain

FMCG Supply Chain Consultants: A lot of Fiction & 1 Fact!

Posted by Dave Jordan on Wed, Mar 04, 2015

Some FMCG organisations are comfortable with the idea of using consultants while others avoid them like the plague. Having been on both sides of the fence with respect to supply chain consultancy services I can appreciate the pros and cons for each party. There is some truth but an awful lot of misconceptions deeply held on the subject and I thought I would look at what is fact and fiction, in my humble opinion!

1. They are very expensive.

Fiction. At the same experience level consultants will undoubtedly be cheaper than the full people cost (e.g. tax, insurance, pension contributions) of a full time employee. Perhaps fees sound a lot when expressed as a daily rate but in reality they are likely to be very competitive if you compare this against what your full time staff really cost the company.

2. They don’t know any more than we do.

Fiction. One of the benefits of consultancy is that you see a multitude of circumstances in very different companies, cultures and companies in a variety of sectors. The cumulative experience gained is something you are unlikely to find in long term employees in an organisation where the freedom to think outside of the box is not always welcome.

3. When they have gone everything reverts back to as it was.

Fiction.  Well, it certainly cab but only if you let it! Good consultants will ensure knowledge is transferred and thoroughly tested through one on one or team training before ending a project. Look for a consultant where skills transfer to clients is a priority.

FMCG Consultants fact fiction resized 6004. They always change things.

Fact. Enabling change is precisely the aim. You would not hire a consultant to maintain the status quo as you want something different to happen, e.g. lower costs, better processes and greater efficiency. Change is indeed often tough but an outsider leading this can take some of the “sting” away from line management.

5. They do “just enough” so they can return later and get paid to fix the problem again.

Fiction. The reputation of consultants can be easily destroyed through bad publicity whether deserved or otherwise. Sustainable improvements in supply chain performance get noticed and similarly, word gets around quickly if anyone is unprofessional. If you feel the need to call in consultants for a problem that has already been addressed then maybe your original choice was defective.

6. They are either just out of university and know nothing or they are pensioners.

Fiction. There is no perfect age to be a consultant but you do need a degree of experience before you can impart this to others. A 21 year old consultant in a very nice suit or smart skirt would indeed probably lack credibility but some companies insist on putting such resources forward to major clients.. Do not be afraid of a consultant at the other end of the age scale as they are often the most willing to share a wider range of experiences.

7. They only work a few hours a day (probably to dash off to the Post Office for their pension payment?)

Fiction. From personal experience I know this to be completely untrue. I have worked extremely long hours to get jobs done against tight timetables. Consultants only get paid for the days they work and clients rarely extend contracts so you have to get the job done by hook or by crook.

This is just a brief appraisal and there are many more pieces of fact and fiction that could be added. When I was on the other side of the fence I shared some of the negative views but I now appreciate the true reality and the value experienced consultants can bring to your business.

Ok, must stop now as the Post Office closes in half an hour, my hip is giving me trouble and I cannot find my zimmer frame.

Image courtesy of nongpimmy at freedigitalphotos.net

Tags: FMCG, Interim Management, Dave Jordan, CEO, Performance Improvement, Supply Chain

Supply Chain Interim Management & Consultancy – 7 Differences

Posted by Michael Thompson on Mon, Mar 17, 2014
At Enchange, we have provided a many interim managers for clients over the years.
I was discussing our supply chain interim management services with a client recently and she asked whether she should be hiring interim managers or consultants.
We had a long chat and it turned out that interim managers were the right solution for her project.  The main reason in this case was that she insisted in retaining total control of the project and the key need was for expert resource to deliver a number of work stream products.
So for anyone else facing a similar dilemma here are seven key differences between interim management and consultancy:
  1. Notice  Interim managers are often placed at short notice.  Consultancy contracts usually take several months to commence.
  2. Terms of reference  Interim management assignments nearly always commence with ‘implementation-driven’ terms of reference.  Consultancy contracts nearly always involve a process of analysis and usually include design work.  For an interim management contract, the analysis has usually been undertaken by the client.
  3. Project work  For project work, consultancy projects provide expertise not available in the company.  Interim management projects could normally be carried out by client personnel but resource is usually a constraint.
  4. Executive power  Interim managers are often called upon to demonstrate strong leadership from the outset of an assignment and can have a large degree of executive power.  Tough people decisions are sometimes made quickly.  It is unusual for a consultant to exercise executive authority.
  5. Client relationship  Typically interim managers become part of the client team quickly and identify totally with the needs of the client company.  Consultants, while always working closely with clients, often maintain an ‘arms-length’ relationship with client staff and identify totally with project deliverables.
  6. Contract duration  Interim management contracts are typically of longer duration than consultancy contracts.  However, the maximum duration for any assignment should not exceed 18-24 months.
  7. Fee rates are typically lower for interim management contracts.  At Enchange our rates for interim managers certainly are lower.

 users guide to interim management

I would be interested in other professionals views on the subject.

Tags: Interim Management, Performance Improvement, Michael Thompson, Supply Chain

FMCG Romania : the benefits of Interim Management

Posted by Dave Jordan on Fri, Mar 30, 2012

Interim SC Expert at Hand Netsize resized 600Interim Management is an approach used by companies to “make things happen” within a clear budget and without the headaches of recruiting an full time employee (FTE).  The benefits are numerous but initially……

Immediate access to expert supply chain skills and experience in your sector.

No hidden extras. You pay the daily fee rate and expenses; no more no less.

Training for full time staff to ensure supply chain knowledge and skills imparted and retained.

Experienced supply chain interim managers are available now at all levels of seniority.

Romanian team permanently based in 3 locations.

International experience gained from working in other countries and in relevant sectors.

Motivated to achieve results to tight time and cost objectives.

Maintain the resource while you need it without any financial burden at contract end.

Avoid permanent employee costs which are significant in Romania.

No international flights and early departures for the week-end!

Ability to challenge the supply chain status quo and make sustainable change in your business.

Generate savings and efficiency improvements in a short timescale.

Expectations can be high and should be as you are buying international expertise.

Make your business prepared for the post recession economic recovery.

Excellent return on investment.

No political axe to grind and no bias; straight forward advice and action.

Take a look at the Enchange approach to Interim Management and call us to arrange a meeting in Romania. If you are not sure you need Interim Management then you probably do!

Tags: Interim Management, Dave Jordan, Performance Improvement, Supply Chain, CEE

Top 7 Facts & Fiction of Using Supply Chain Consultants

Posted by Dave Jordan on Mon, Mar 19, 2012

Management consultancySome FMCG, Brewing, Pharmaceutical organisations are comfortable with the idea of using consultants while others avoid them like the plague. Having been on both sides of the fence with respect to supply chain consultancy services I can appreciate the pros and cons for each party. There is some truth but an awful lot of misconceptions held on the subject and I thought I would look at what is fact and fiction, in my humble opinion!

1. They are expensive.

Fiction. At the same experience level consultants will undoubtedly be cheaper than the full people cost of a full time employee. Perhaps fees sound a lot when expressed as a daily rate but in reality they are likely to be very competitive.

2. They don’t know any more than we do.

Fiction. One of the benefits of consultancy is that you see a multitude of circumstances in very different companies in a variety of sectors. The cumulative experience gained is something you are unlikely to find in long term employees in an organisation.

3. When they have gone everything reverts back to as it was.

Fiction.  Only if you let it! Good consultants will ensure knowledge is transferred and thoroughly tested through one on one or team training before ending a project.

4. They change things.

Fact. Enabling change is precisely the aim. You would not hire a consultant to maintain the status quo as you want something different to happen, e.g. lower costs, better processes, greater efficiency.

5. They do “just enough” so they can return later and get paid to fix it again.

Fiction. The reputation of consultants can be easily destroyed through bad publicity whether deserved or not. Sustainable improvements in supply chain performance get noticed and word gets around quickly if anyone is unprofessional.

6. They are either just out of university and know nothing or they are pensioners.

Fiction. There is no perfect age to be a consultant but you do need a degree of experience before you can impart this to others. An 18 year old consultant would indeed probably lack credibility.

7. They have short working hours (probably to dash off to the Post Office for the pension payment.)

Fiction. From personal experience I know this to be completely untrue. I have worked extremely long hours to get jobs done against tight timetables. Consultants only get paid for the days they work and clients simply do not extend contracts so you have to get the job done by hook or by crook.

This is just a brief appraisal and there are many more pieces of fiction that could be added. When I was on the other side of the fence I shared some of the negative views but I now appreciate the reality and the value consultants can bring to your business.

Ok, must stop now as the Post Office closes in half an hour...

Image credit: HikingArtist.com

Tags: Interim Management, Dave Jordan, Performance Improvement, Supply Chain

FMCG Supply Chain: Low Cost CEE Based Embedded Experts

Posted by Dave Jordan on Thu, Feb 16, 2012

When someone mentions Interim Management you might be one of many who immediately picture a crusty 50+ male wearing a suit Noah gave away at the Ark jumble sale (which now has worn leather patches on the elbows) and flying in from Western Europe to save the day! Oops, sorry if that rings a bell with anyone in particular; you know who you are!

Supply Chain Expertise in RomaniaQuoting from Wiki; Interim Management is the temporary provision of management resources and skills. Interim management can be seen as the short-term assignment of a proven heavyweight interim executive manager to manage a period of transition, crisis or change within an organization. In this situation, a permanent role may be unnecessary or impossible to find on short notice. Additionally, there may be nobody internally who is suitable for, or available to take up, the position in question.

“Heavyweight”, “executive” are terms which propagate an expensive-to-hire perception and while this is often incorrect and unfair many people shy away from using the valuable services of people who have bags of experience and skills. As people stumble up the seniority ladder they inevitably become less hands-on and more strategic and their ability to generate something like Forecast Bias and Accuracy KPIs from raw data diminishes simply because they do not do this on a day to day basis.

If you need someone to look ahead and guide your corporate ship through muddy waters over the next 3-5 years then check out the senior Interim possibilities. However, there is another approach and that is through bringing in specific expertise at the relevant seniority and skill level. If you need someone to set up a robust suite of KPI’s then why not embed someone in your business with those precise skills? They will be leather elbow-free and will be focussed on getting the particular task in hand completed and completed well. The task you require the embedded Supply Chain expert to carry out will be something they have achieved many times in your sector and in your country and in your language.

Embedding an expert comes with the same benefits of an Interim Manager, e.g. no appraisals, no pay rises, no career management etc, but at a significantly lower cost to the business. As in many aspects of life you tend to get what you pay for but the point here is that you should “pay for what you get” – no more, no less.

Consultancy fees are always an emotive subject but if you take time to look at the detail I am absolutely sure you would be surprised at the cost effective and highly skilled possibilities available, especially here in Romania. Click this link and have a think!

Tags: Interim Management, Dave Jordan, Performance Improvement, CEE