In this assignment I shall give examples of consultants used by famous clients and analyse the outcome in terms of success and failure. I will also outline what model the consultancy firm has used with the client to achieve the results. Eagle Technology Consultants who were approved by the Coca-Cola Foundation to increase their profit margin in their business did an example of success in consulting work. Also, an example where the involvement of a consultant speeding up the process of achieving results will be discussed.
This is similar to a slow chemical reaction-taking place between two elements, and to speed up the process a catalytic element is introduced to finish the process quickly. Among the many reasons a firm seeks the services of a consultant, the following are perhaps the most important. The first one is the search for suitable information in order to ensure that the best possible decisions are taken in each case. Another one is to resolve a particular or general problem that the firm may be faced with.
Also, the firm may seek an independent opinion concerning a previously undertaken course of action. Others include simply being able to ask for an expert’s opinion or confirmation when the cost involved prohibits such an expert’s being a permanent member of staff and when the client wishes to maintain or increase his or her position, as well as when some structural adjustments become necessary because of a changing or new political panorama. (Soriano et al. 2001, Managing Service Quality)
When taking on the services of a consultant, clients analyse the cost of the project, the benefits that may result from it and the quality of the work performed, as well as the possibility of integrating the consultant’s advice within the firm’s activity. Even though dissatisfaction with or rejection of consultants may arise, it does not necessarily mean that their work had no impact on the client’s firm or that no change was derived from it. Rather, this could stem from the fact that all too often consulting is an overlooked part of a businessman’s training.
All in all, if the consulting process is to produce – or foster – any change in the organisation, the focus should be on the training of its members. Schein (1988) states that emphasis should be placed on helping others – managers and employees – to learn to help themselves; to help them to understand what is happening in and around the firm. (Soriano et al. 2001, Managing Service Quality) The term “consulting” allows for many possible interpretations (Kubr, 1994; Ribeiro, 1998).
Usually it conveys the idea that the consultant contributes with input to a management system, which is not always rational. The consultant, however, is not a magician who discovers what the client does not know. Consulting is a planned intervention in a firm whose aim is to identify existing problems and to introduce the most suitable ways of resolving them (Fischer, 1993). The consulting firm must set the emphasis in helping clients to help themselves, and not on solving their problems nor on giving them expert advice.
Thus, consulting consists of a group of activities carried out to help clients to detect and understand those events of the consulting process that occur in their environment, and to exert some influence over them (Association of Management Consulting Firms – ACME, 1987; TECNIBERIA, 1992; Shapiro et al. , 1993). By this, it is meant that consultants help clients to understand what is happening around them and teach them to learn, so that their understanding is improved and adjustments can be made so as to allow them to reach the required objectives. (Soriano et al. 2001, Managing Service Quality)
Wilkinson (1995; 04) defines the task of management consultancy as “An independent and objective advisory service provided by qualified persons to clients in order to help them identify and analyze management problems or opportunities. Management consultants also recommend solutions or suggested actions with respect to these issues and help, when requested, in their implementation. In essence, management consultants help to effect constructive change in organisations through the sound application of substantive and process skills. ” (Kumar et al. 2002, Management Decision)