JEM Retail Consultants providing services in buying and merchandising, Programme Management, IT services and Logistics & Warehousing.

Monday, 2 September 2013

In Search of a Third Way

In these times of austerity is there an alternative to completing your change programme using either internal resources or blue chip consultants?


As an expanding retailer you have a 3-5 year strategy for growth. You recognise that the company’s infrastructure, processes and even organisational structure will not support further expansion. To deliver the company’s strategy you need an approach that will both reduce risk and maintain business continuity throughout.  So where do you go for help?

Blue chip consultancies have many advantages, amongst them being a high level of expertise and unlimited resource to support the difficult decisions to be taken. The consultants you work with are very credible and have the ability to engage with your team.

This reassurance may come at a high price if your identity gets lost in the corporate machine with the risk that the people you rely on feel disenfranchised by the experience reducing skills transfer and motivation.

Using internal resource is an attractive financial proposition however are they not already fully employed? Over stretching the team could jeopardise business continuity and may increase the programme length and delay benefits realisation. There is also a risk that they may lack some of the required project and programme management skills.

So can a smaller, made to measure consultancy firm provide the best of all worlds? They can supply the expertise, knowledge and skills you would expect of consultants but will integrate with your team and culture. Having an established relationship with each other means that they can get to work quickly on the key tasks and using their experience to flexibly combine consultancy with interim line management keeps costs down and adds maximum value while delivering the agreed strategy and transferring skills to your team.

Any one, or in fact any combination, of the above approaches may be right for you but working with a made to measure consultancy may be the most successful way of combining the best of each, or at least avoiding the worst of the pitfalls.

Written by Mike Gamble:

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