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:
- Notice Interim managers are often placed at short notice. Consultancy contracts usually take several months to agree and commence.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Fee rates are typically lower for interim management contracts. At Enchange our rates for top quality interim supply chain managers certainly are lower.