Moving Things Around

The logistics industry provides opportunities for both movers and shapers

Supply Chain

(Source: Flickr)

BACK in the good old days, before the PC and Macintosh, if you wanted something done you would often just do it yourself.

Companies sent their own trucks to the factory to pick up supplies, and the local department store could do “home deliveries” if you were happy to wait a week or so.

Life was simple, but also slower paced.

With the advent of hyper colour t-shirts, puffy hair and jelly shoes, successful manufacturers were increasingly turning to transportation and warehousing experts to help them get supplies from the factory and products to the store.

It turned out that moving lots of stuff from one place to another is a tricky business, and logistics experts could get the job done faster and more reliably, at lower cost.

With the dawn of a new millennium, and the growth of a novel technology called the Internet, the dynamics in the logistics industry changed, again.

The Internet enables suppliers to access customers directly, communicate with them in real time, and (if managed properly) to provide better service at lower cost.

The flip side of the coin, though, is that customers now have higher expectations than ever before.

This presents a challenge, but at the same time a big opportunity.

With the number of goods flowing back and forth, and with the amount of organisation required, an opening has emerged for managers, IT experts and business people to help coordinate the physical flow of goods.

The logistics industry, it turns out, provides opportunities for both movers and shapers.

[Note: Deloitte and BCG appear to have their fingers on the pulse. What about your firm?]

Implementing Real Change

Why coming up with the right answer to a business problem often isn’t enough in a large organisation – and what you can do about it

Change Ahead

“WHY won’t people in this organisation realise that this new approach could make things so much better? Why won’t people implement this idea? This is so frustrating…”

Creating meaningful change at any large organisation can be one of the most challenging things to accomplish – as many new employees or consultants have found out the hard way. It’s also one of the most valuable skills to have.

It’s not hard to see why change can be so difficult. Most people inherently resist changes to their environment – it often equates to greater risk, more stress and exertion of energy in order to adapt. Additionally, large organisations are usually complex, inter-connected and political, with decisions requiring the buy-in of several stakeholders (each having their own personal egos, agendas and fears). No matter how sound your idea, it’s likely to face some form of resistance.

Consequently, while being able to come up with a fantastic solution to a challenging problem or identify an improvement opportunity is certainly a valuable skill, it is just the starting point. The real value comes from being able to turn these ideas into reality and convince key stakeholders to adopt them.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to tip the odds in your favour. Next time you have an idea for a solution or improvement that may require considerable change, consider adopting the following approach.

1. Expect resistance – so prepare accordingly

As great as your idea might be, begin with the presumption that some people will require some convincing before your idea can be implemented. As a general rule, if it requires significant effort or potentially the loss of reputation or influence of a stakeholder (even if it’s relatively minor), then be ready to face resistance.

Consequently, it’s a good idea to spend time developing the idea on your own and with the help of other people whose opinions you value. Your idea should hold up from multiple angles and be logically sound before you begin approaching the right people.

2. Understand who you need to influence and how to win them over

In large organisations, there are often a few key people who need to be convinced before significant changes can take place. You don’t (and probably can’t) convince everyone affected, but you should ensure that most of the key stakeholders are on board. In particular, keep a look out for those who may be inclined to block your idea and identify how they might be persuaded.

Position titles and seniority are a good indication of who needs to be won over and in what area of the organisation, but be ready to look beyond that – some people who have the greatest influence (either directly, or indirectly through influential relationships with the right people) aren’t always the ones you expect. This is where an understanding of office dynamics and connections become helpful.

The next step is to understand what the key goals or concerns for each of these stakeholders currently are – they may be different and occasionally opposing. You’ll need to position the message in a way that explains the benefit to each of them, and this is where proper communication is key.

3. Communicate Effectively

Now that you know who you need to talk to, here comes the tricky bit – identifying how best to deliver your message persuasively.

There is no shortage of information about effective communication, but as a starting point, you should aim to clearly explain how the idea is likely to be to their benefit. Make sure you understand what issues are front of mind for them so that you can link it to your suggestion if possible (this is where listening, emotional intelligence and an ability to read between the lines are helpful).

As for style, consider the language, tonality, location, timing and channel of communication – don’t underestimate the difference these can make. You’ll need to adapt depending on the person and culture of the organisation, but a good approach is to mirror their preferred style of communication. If they like to be short and to point during formal meetings, be short and to the point. If they like to talk about family, friends and everything else over a coffee, do likewise.

And of course, perhaps you might not be the best person to communicate directly with the stakeholder. Consider whether someone else should go in to bat for you who may have more influence.

Regardless of who communicates, hopefully you’ll have buy-in after a few conversations, (and if you’re lucky, create some advocates for your idea too). But there’s still a way to go.

4. Bring them on the journey

As change is implemented, make sure the key stakeholders are taken with you on the journey and are given an opportunity to have their say.

Seek their input on the approach and take these on board where appropriate – chances are they’ll have something helpful to add if you take the time to ask.

No one likes surprises either (when it comes to change, at least), so aim to keep the key stakeholders informed throughout (although adjust your communication frequency and detail according to their engagement level).

5. Be patient. And resilient

Sometimes your approach won’t work the first time.

Perhaps you won’t get all the stakeholders on board. Perhaps a bigger issue will arise and become a greater organisational priority. Perhaps a stakeholder will change their mind for reasons you can’t fathom. Perhaps you’ll start to implement your idea, but it just doesn’t stick over the long term for some reason (…that’s a long article in and of itself which we’ll save for another time).

And sometimes you’ll find out that your idea just wasn’t that great in the first place.

These things happen, but it pays to be persistent, especially if you and others still have faith in your idea.

If your timing was off, perhaps try again later when there is more appetite for change. You can also try running with a smaller segment of your idea that may be easier to implement than the whole – maybe your idea was too “big” in the first place. You may also want to communicate your idea differently, or build on it further – perhaps it just needs to be a bit more persuasive. At the very least, take the lessons you’ve learnt from the experience and apply them next time. It’s a skill which takes time to develop.

Ask anyone exposed to an organisation for any length of time if they can identify ways that things could be done better, and chances are they’ll have no trouble reciting a long list. However, ask them how they’d go about actually making these changes happen and more likely than not, you’ll receive a long story about how it can’t happen or, if you’re lucky, how they’ve already frustratingly tried and failed (and of course, sometimes you just get a blank stare).

Follow the above, and you might join a small category of people who know how to effectively make a change and are able to bring the right people along for the ride.

New Editor: Shishir Pandit

IShishir Pandit 7NTRODUCING Shishir Pandit.

We are delighted to welcome Shishir to join the Consulting Blog as an Editor for 2013/14.

Currently based in Melbourne, Shishir is a Management Consultant at Deloitte and a Strategic Advisor at the Global Consulting Group (a non-profit consulting organisation).

He was a finalist in the Victorian Young Business Person of the Year Awards, and holds a combined Commerce/Law (Hons) degree from Monash University.

Shishir has a passion for social causes and likes to play in the intersection between corporates, non-profits and social enterprises. Above all, he believes in helping others develop a questioning, positive and socially-responsible mindset.

One of his passions is his work with GCG, an organisation which provides free management consulting advice to non-profits and social enterprises. His focus has been on sharing his expertise to help guide the direction and expansion of the organisation around the world.

Shishir has a wealth of practical insights gained through his work as a Management Consultant and Strategic Advisor, and we look forward to benefiting from his unique perspective over the coming year.

Please join us in welcoming Shishir!

2013 List: Global Strategy Consulting Firms

List of Global Strategy Firms for 2013

BELOW is a hand-picked list of leading Global Strategy Firms.

The litmus test we used to decide whether a firm is truly “global” was whether it has an office in Sydney. A fair litmus test? Maybe not, but seeing as Sydney is at the other end of the earth you would expect a truly global strategy firm to have an office there (if you want to see a list of purely Aussie strategy firms for 2013, click here).

The below list will be of interest to you if:

  • you want to work for a leading strategy firm, or
  • your company, non-profit or government agency is looking for quality strategic advice.

The firms are:

  1. Bain
  2. BCG
  3. McKinsey
  4. Accenture
  5. Archstone Consulting
  6. A.T. Kearney
  7. Booz & Company
  8. The Birchman Group
  9. CVA
  10. Deloitte
  11. Edgar, Dunn & Company
  12. L.E.K. Consulting
  13. Millward Brown
  14. Oliver Wyman
  15. Partners in Performance
  16. Peppers & Rogers Group
  17. PwC
  18. Simon Kuch & Partners

1. Bain & Company

Website: bain.com

Founded in 1973 when Bill Bain and others left BCG to form Bain & Company. Bain has 49 offices worldwide including Sydney, Singapore, Hong Kong, Bombay, New Delhi, Johannesburg, London, Toronto, New York, and San Francisco.

Bain helps to transform companies into sharper, smarter, better versions of themselves. Bain’s mission is to help management teams create such high levels of economic value that together Bain and its clients can redefine their respective industries.

2. BCG

Website: bcg.com

Founded in 1963 by Bruce Henderson, BCG has 79 offices worldwide including Sydney, Singapore, Hong Kong, Bombay, New Delhi, Johannesburg, London, Toronto, New York, and San Francisco.

BCG is a global management consulting firm and a leading advisor on business strategy. BCG partners with clients from the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors in all regions to identify their highest-value opportunities, address their most critical challenges, and transform their enterprises.

3. McKinsey

Website: mckinsey.com

Founded in Chicago in 1926, McKinsey is arguably the world’s most prestigious consulting firm. McKinsey has 102 offices worldwide including Sydney, Singapore, Hong Kong, Bombay, Johannesburg, London, Toronto, New York, and San Francisco.

McKinsey is a global management consulting firm and trusted advisors to the world’s leading businesses, governments, and institutions.

4. Accenture

Website: accenture.com

Founded in 1989, Accenture has approximately 195 offices worldwide including Sydney, Singapore, Hong Kong, Bombay, New Delhi, Johannesburg, London, Toronto, New York, and San Francisco.

Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. Accenture has capabilities across all industries and business functions, conducts extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, and collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments.

5. Archstone Consulting

Website: archstoneconsulting.com

Archstone has 13 offices worldwide including Sydney, Hyderabad, London, New York, and San Franscisco.

Archstone offers a range of services including business strategy, technology services, outsourcing, and supply chain management.

6. A.T. Kearney

Website: atkearney.com

Founded in 1926, A.T. Kearney has 57 offices worldwide including Sydney, Singapore, Hong Kong, Bombay, New Delhi, London, Toronto, New York, and San Francisco.

A.T. Kearney’s services include strategy, innovation, sales & marketing, operations, strategic IT, and procurement.

7. Booz & Company

Website: booz.com

Founded in Chicago in 1914 by Edwin G. Booz. In 2008, Booz separated its operations from the U.S. Government consulting business. That company retained the name Booz Allen Hamilton. In 2009, Booz combined with U.S.-based management consultancy Katzenbach Partners, a leader in organisational performance. In 2012, Axon Advisory Partners joined Booz to launch Booz Digital, a full-service team of strategists, designers, and technologists who help companies turn ideas into digital businesses.

Booz has 60 offices worldwide including Sydney, Hong Kong, Bombay, New Delhi, London, New York, and San Francisco.

Booz is a leading global management consulting firm focused on serving and shaping the senior agenda of the world’s leading institutions. Booz works with its clients to identify and build the differentiating capabilities they need to outperform. Booz has experience across a broad range of industries including high technology, finance, and consumer products.

8. The Birchman Group

Website: thebirchmangroup.com

Birchman has 15 offices worldwide including Sydney, Johannesburg, and London.

Birchman is an international company that provides Consulting, Solution Delivery and Managed Services to many of the world’s leading organisations. Birchman provides six core services: Value Management, Business Change, Software Development, Enterprise Applications, IT Advisory, and Business Advisory.

9. CVA

Website: corporate-value.com

Founded in 1987, CVA has 16 offices worldwide including Sydney, Singapore, Hong Kong, London, and Boston.

CVA is a global strategy boutique which has experience across a broad range of industries including Telecom Media & Technology, Financial Services, Private Equity, and Mining Metals & Materials.

10. Deloitte

Website: deloitte.com

Founded in 1893 in the U.S., Deloitte has a strong global presence including offices in Sydney, Singapore, Hong Kong, Bombay, New Delhi, Johannesburg, London, Toronto, New York, and San Francisco.

Although offering a large number of accounting services, Deloitte also has a consulting practice. Deloitte Consulting offers a broad range of services including Pricing & Profitability Management, Enterprise Cost Management, M&A, Enterprise Sustainability, Finance Transformation, Governance Risk & Regulatory, Health Care Reform, and Infrastructure Transformation.

11. Edgar, Dunn & Company

Website: edgardunn.com

Founded in 1978 in the U.S., Edgar, Dunn & Company has 8 offices worldwide including Sydney, Singapore, London, and San Francisco.

EDC is an independent strategy consulting firm that was founded on two fundamental principles of client service:

  • Provide deep expertise that enhances clients’ perspectives, and
  • Deliver actionable advice that enables clients to create measurable, sustainable change in their organisations.

EDC is recognised among the world’s pre-eminent experts in the payments industry. Additional areas of expertise include new financial services channels, technologies and markets, retail financial services, and e-business.

12. L.E.K. Consulting

Website: lek.com

Founded in 1983 in London, L.E.K. has 22 offices worldwide including Sydney, Singapore, Bombay, New Delhi, London, New York, and San Francisco.

L.E.K. is a global strategy consulting firm that counsels clients on key strategic issues, leveraging deep industry expertise and using analytical rigor to help them make informed decisions more quickly and solve their toughest and most critical business problems. L.E.K. has expertise in a broad range of industries and has a range of capabilities including Strategy, Shareholder Value Management, Mergers & Acquisitions support, Operations & Organisation and Marketing & Sales.

13. Millward Brown

Website: millwardbrown.com

Founded in 1973, Millward Brown has 85 offices worldwide including Sydney, Singapore, Hong Kong, Bombay, New Delhi, Johannesburg, London, Toronto, New York, and San Francisco.

Millward Brown is passionate about helping clients grow great brands. They are experts in advertising, marketing communications, media, digital and brand equity research, and work with 90% of the world’s leading brands.

14. Oliver Wyman

Website: oliverwyman.com

Founded in New York in 1984, Oliver Wyman has 50 offices worldwide including Sydney, Singapore, Hong Kong, Bombay, New Delhi, London, Toronto, New York, and San Francisco.

Oliver Wyman is a leading global management consulting firm that combines deep industry knowledge with specialised expertise in strategy, operations, risk management, and organisation transformation. As part of Marsh & McLennan Companies, Oliver Wyman is also able to draw on experts from its sister companies in the areas of brand and identity management, microeconomics, human capital strategies, and insurance.

15. Partners in Performance

Website: pipint.com.au

PIP has 9 offices worldwide including Sydney, Johannesburg, Toronto, and Atlanta.

PIP identifies and delivers performance improvement to industrial, resources and services companies, using a specialist team and a hands-on approach. PIP has three divisions: Resultant®, Transaction Services and Investment. The Resultant® Division works as business coaches applying practical frameworks to address issues including strategy, procurement, revenues, bottlenecking, costs, safety, environment, and organisational culture. The Transaction Services Division provides commercial due diligence for potential investment opportunities. The Investment Division looks for situations where PIP can improve the performance of an organisation through both financial and operational assistance.

16. Peppers & Rogers Group

Website: peppersandrogersgroup.com

Founded in 1993 by Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, Ph.D., PRG has 9 offices worldwide including Sydney, Singapore, Johannesburg, and Stamford Connecticut.

PRG is a management consulting firm recognised as a leading authority and thought leader on customer-based strategies and underlying business initiatives. PRG has particular expertise in the following industries: Financial Services, Government, Telecommunications, and Airlines.

17. PwC

Website: pwc.com

Founded in 1998 out of the merger of Price Waterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand, PwC has historical roots going back around 150 years. PwC operates in 158 countries worldwide including offices in Sydney, Singapore, Hong Kong, Bombay, New Delhi, Johannesburg, London, Toronto, New York, and San Francisco.

PwC helps organisations and individuals create the value they’re looking for by delivering quality assurance, tax and advisory services.

18. Simon Kuch & Partners

Website: simon-kucher.com

Founded in 1985, SKP has 26 offices worldwide including Sydney, Singapore, London, Toronto, New York, and San Francisco.

SKP is a global management consulting firm focusing on strategy, marketing, pricing and sales.