Consultants = Problem Solvers

 

Management Consultants must be Problem Solvers

Management consultants deliver reports. But do they deliver results?

Management consultants are a cost to clients. Each should aim to become an asset for the client.

These are the fractured equations that mar client-consultant relationships. In the process, clients become cynical about consultants because most of the executed assignments in India fail to deliver tangible results.

These are my views. There are many lessons I have learned over the past four decades, initially as a pure management consultant, and subsequently as a quality management facilitator.

Solving the wrong problem

How often have you discovered that what you have solved and what the client had in mind are very divergent?

The problem is that we do not invest adequate time to understand the stated as well as latent needs of clients. We need to have a clear understanding of:

  • What are the symptoms of the problem?
  • How do these symptoms impact management performance?
  • Are these symptoms: Specific? Observable? Measurable?
  • Is the problem of a size that is manageable by third party consultant?

Only hearing. Not listening

Consultants need to ask questions. Clients need to listen. Clients need to ask questions. Consultants need to listen.

Only when the listening bridge is successful, can the communication be clear. But this does not always happen.

The communication skill of listening has never been taught. In school we are taught seeing, reading, speaking, writing, hearing…but not listening!

Listening comes in two avatars: sympathetic listening and empathetic listening. In sympathetic listening I can agree even though I do not understand. In empathetic listening I first seek to understand and may subsequently choose to disagree.

Consultants must learn the art of empathetic listening.

Considering root cause identification as the end of an assignment

A problem is solved only when the remedy is implemented and results recur. Unfortunately, most consulting assignments end when the root causes have been established.

So we generate reports. We also generate supplements to these reports. We sprinkle terms and charts that are trendy. In the process we ensure that nobody understands the final report. Then we make PowerPoint presentations to upper management of the client who are far removed from the original problem.

The report gathers dust. There are no results. The consultant loses a reputation.

Ignore resistance to change

Change is simple when it involves machines and systems. Change is a problem when it involves people.

The stated reason for resistance to change by an individual is usually the impracticality of the technological solution.

However, riding on the back of the stated resistance to the technological change is an uninvited guest…the social consequence of the technological change, on the individual.  The social consequence is not stated or obvious. It has to be understood by the consultant using empathetic listening skills, individual by individual.

A consultant cannot ignore the resistance. The consultant must define the resistance and deal with it.

Change has its own majestic pace. The consultant must be seasoned for that.

How to succeed?

To achieve results on an assignment, the consultant must be a facilitator, trainer, coach, counselor, and recognizer.

 

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*The MADE IN INDIA tiger is Qimpro’s creative representation of the idea behind becoming a manufacturing behemoth in the global markets. Any resemblance to any other logo, is purely unintentional.

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Click here to buy his new book: Quality Fables–now available on Amazon Kindle

 

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Image Credits

http://www.testically.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/the-wrong-problem.jpg

http://qatestlab.com/assets/Root-Cause-Analysis-cor2-1.png

http://changemanagementsuccess.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/resistanceempmgt.png

http://www.mbaadmissionscoach.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/MBA-Admissions-Consultant-help.jpg

 

 

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Managing for Quality

Managing for Quality in Manufacturing is relatively simple. The customer receives the output of a process; compares it with alternatives from competition and decides to vote for the output with his/her money.

Managing for Quality in Services is relatively more complex. The customer is part of the process; and has multiple opportunities to pass judgment on Quality. One bad experience and the entire service is condemned.

Managing for Quality in Healthcare Services is very challenging. It demands perfection. Nothing less. Human life is at stake while delivering services to patients.

Managing for Quality in Educational Services is even more challenging. The student is part of the process for years! The student matures as you educate him/her; and consequently demands more and more from the educational services. Processes must have agility and flexibility for student satisfaction.

‘Made in India’ requires that we Manage for Quality in all four sectors, in order to become a world-class nation. At speed.

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*The MADE IN INDIA tiger is Qimpro’s creative representation of the idea behind becoming a manufacturing behemoth in the global markets. Any resemblance to any other logo, is purely unintentional.

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Image Credits

http://www.cityxproject.com/wp-content/uploads/d.process-3day.png

http://image.slidesharecdn.com/processflowdiagrams-120509092320-phpapp02/95/examples-of-process-flow-analysis-and-optimization-of-an-hospital-pharmacy-drug-system-2010-2011-1-728.jpg?cb=1337672166

http://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/scn/go/portal/prtroot/docs/webcontent/mimes/bpx/Industries/retail/branded_banking_before.jpg

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Problem Solving in 4 Steps – 2

After the hearty response I received for my previous blog done using an infographic. I decided to give an old Quality Fable (Peels and Meals) the infographic treatment.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this method of storytelling.

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*The MADE IN INDIA tiger is Qimpro’s creative representation of the idea behind becoming a manufacturing behemoth in the global markets. Any resemblance to any other logo, is purely unintentional.

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About Suresh Lulla

SURESH LULLA is the Founder & Managing Director of Qimpro Consultants Pvt Ltd. The company offers a range of services that include: Process Management, Quality Life Cycle Management, Business Excellence, Benchmarking of Best Practices, Professional Certifications for Quality & Reliability, and Recognition of Excellence in Individuals, Teams, & Organizations. Under Mr Lulla’s leadership, Qimpro has saved its clients well over Rs 175 billion in terms of cost of poor quality, as well as significantly improved customer satisfaction levels in the manufacturing, service, and healthcare sectors. Apart from India, Qimpro has conducted assignments in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Viet Nam, Pakistan, Sultanate of Oman, Bahrain, Iran, and Kenya.

Click here to see more blogs

Click here to buy his new book: Quality Fables–now available on Amazon Kindle

 

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Problem Solving in 4 Steps

 

 

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*The MADE IN INDIA tiger is Qimpro’s creative representation of the idea behind becoming a manufacturing behemoth in the global markets. Any resemblance to any other logo, is purely unintentional.

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Click here to see more blogs

Click here to buy his new book: Quality Fables–now available on Amazon Kindle

 

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Who Pays for Bad Quality? Is there a Solution?

Nobody is against Quality. Particularly, when you wear the hat of a customer. At a personal level.

I would like to remind you that  your purchase department wears the hat of a customer in the eyes of your suppliers. So the basic question is: Does your purchase department conduct itself as a world-class customer with your suppliers? This question is directed at private as well as governmental organizations and institutions.

We fail as an organization when we purchase goods, based on lowest price offered by alternative suppliers. We succeed when we purchase process capabilities of suppliers for the goods we require.

When we purchase goods at the lowest price we invariably also purchase incapable processes. Incapable processes generate substantial waste, frequent rework, over inspection, etc. These wasteful costs, referred to as Cost Of Poor Quality (COPQ), are factored into the suppliers’ pricing. So who is paying for the suppliers’ inefficiencies? You, the purchase department.

What is the order of magnitude of COPQ traceable to the purchase department? At least 10% of total costs!!!

Ultimately, who pays for your purchasing inefficiencies? Your customers. This is a guaranteed method for losing customers and market share!!! Particularly if you are nursing a global vision.

Now, does it not make sense for a ‘supplier process capability’ mindset to sink into the top management of goods and service providers in private and governmental organizations?

Some organizations that have benefited from addressing COPQ in the purchase departments are: Tata Steel, Mahindra Tractor, L&T, Maruti Suzuki, Marico, and more.

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*The MADE IN INDIA tiger is a creative representation of the idea behind becoming a manufacturing behemoth in the global markets. Any resemblance to any other logo, is purely unintentional.

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Click here to see more blogs

Click here to buy his new book: Quality Fables–now available on Amazon Kindle

 

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Image Credits

http://rlv.zcache.com.au/deal_with_it_funny_purchasing_manager_sticker-r0662948d91104155a888cc0a0fe8283a_v9waf_8byvr_324.jpg

http://lowres.cartoonstock.com/business-commerce-procurement-procure-purchases-purchasing-suppliers-shin51_low.jpg

http://rlv.zcache.co.uk/miracles_and_purchasing_managers_funny_postcard-r4f7e317b8e364f5ca92ccf9ceae49825_vgbaq_8byvr_324.jpg


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Supplier Solutions. MADE IN INDIA

 

 

 

Companies are recognizing the critical role suppliers play in the success of their own business. If the suppliers’ parts or materials are defective, the ultimate product made by the organization and shipped to the customer will be defective. Besides that, it adds to the company’s Cost Of Poor Quality 10X.

Companies and suppliers must work as partners to provide the highest quality product made in the most effective manner. They must be transparent in their respective costing and aim for optimal joint-costing. Win-Win.

Maruti does precisely that. In the process Maruti has nurtured thousands of SMEs to perform to perfection.

What does Maruti purchase? It purchases ‘process capability’.


How does Maruti partner with suppliers? By reinventing their purchase department. Maruti trains its purchase managers to assess the process performance of suppliers, and thereafter to train the suppliers’ employees on Continual Quality Improvement. To improve process capability. The by-product is a reduction in Cost Of Poor Quality at the supplier end, that is shared by Maruti and the supplier. Recurring savings from Quality Improvement!

Is this MADE IN INDIA?

*The MADE IN INDIA tiger is a creative representation of the idea behind becoming a manufacturing behemoth in the global markets.  Any resemblance to any other logo, is purely unintentional. – See more at: http://sureshlulla.com/blog/made-in-india-before-make-in-india/#sthash.FR24KjZx.dpuf

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Image Credits

http://www.prohire.co.uk/ckfinder/userfiles/files/suppliers.jpg

http://motoroids.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Maruti-Suzuki-Logo.png

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MADE IN INDIA before MAKE IN INDIA

MAKE IN INDIA will be a destination of choice only when the outputs MADE IN INDIA are a preferred global choice.

It took Japan more than two decades, post the Second World War, to graduate from the Standard for Bad Quality (remember Raj Kapoor’s ‘mera joota hai Japani’) to Perfect Copy Cats.

In the 1970s, Japan could produce entertainment electronics faster, better and cheaper than any other nation on earth. They sold unknown brands of entertainment electronics in the US, taking on the world heavy weights – Philips, Zenith, Bush, RCA, etc. The Japanese brands were Sony and Panasonic. They could copy a design, and sell their products at a price lower than the cost to produce them in the US. And they made profit while delivering perfect quality.

The story repeated in the auto industry. Toyota Corolla started out as a four cylinder, two door, sub-compact, four seater car in the USA in the late 1970s. The Datsun 510 from Nissan with similar features also launched at the same time. The rest is history. By the early 1980s, the Japanese auto industry broke the back bone of the US economy with systematic economic aggression.

The Japanese had mastered the art of managing for quality. Quality that the customer wanted. They were adept at faster, better, cheaper, and different!

South Korea benchmarked the Japanese in the 1970s. They also accomplished world-class quality…..but in a shorter time frame!

India is at the door step of MAKE IN INDIA. That is a great invitation to global manufacturers. They are being promised the red carpet with unlimited promises, that yet need to be sorted out. The Budget that will be presented by the Indian Finance Minister on 28 February will, hopefully, indicate the steps towards these promises.

However, the long term depends on a quality MADE IN INDIA, with or without foreign investment. For this to happen it is best we benchmark South Korea. And work the miracle in a shorter time frame than they did.

Challenge: Do we really need foreign investment? Ask Tata Steel who unlocked Cost Of Poor Quality (COPQ) and went on to acquire Corus Steel. And Mahindra Tractors, who internalized the habit of quality improvement, reduced COPQ, and now have global footprints in every continent. And to a large extent, Aditya Birla Group. There are more.

So while I may invite you to the Indian wedding, I also need to deliver a delightful experience to the guest. That is the proof of the pudding.

India can make it….And make it better.


*The MADE IN INDIA tiger is a creative representation of the idea behind becoming a manufacturing behemoth in the global markets.  Any resemblance to any other logo, is purely unintentional.

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Click here to see more blogs

Click here to buy his new book: Quality Fables–now available on Amazon Kindle

 

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The images used in this blog are from:

http://www.eventcombo.com/bollywood/bollywood_features/bolly_images/2012-raj-kapoor-film-festival.jpg

http://s1.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?m=02&d=20120622&t=2&i=621706718&w=580&fh=&fw=&ll=&pl=&r=CDEE85L01F100

http://applemagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/samsung-headquarters.jpg

 

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The Terrorist Outside School

 

“The only thing that can fight terrorism is education,”

– Malala Yousafzai

An overwhelming amount of discourse today revolves around one central threat to humanity. It’s not climate change (not yet anyway), it’s not economic (it may soon be), but it’s more raw and out there.

It’s terrorism. And more disturbingly, the involvement of youth in terrorism.

Our reaction to terrorism is as sudden and explosive as its impact. Combative, incendiary and shall I daresay myopic. While the problem remains myriad and ever-mutating—one of the fundamental reasons for its rise, is the lack of education and empathy.

To alleviate this, disempowered youth should be provided with education and sensitized to a multicultural world. Only then can we begin to see a rise of a generation that is both tolerant for diversity as well as respectful for life.

A stellar example of using education against the seductive forces of terrorism is Prof Dr Mukti Mishra. He is the Co-founder and President of Centurion University of Technology and Management—the first and only privately managed university in the tribal area of Odisha.

What’s interesting is that Centurion University has embarked on a challenge: Making 100,000 tribal youth employable and deployable by 2020. The challenge has greater significance because these youth pick up guns when they have no alternative means for employment.

Prof Mishra has had a brilliant track record both as student and teacher. After a brilliant career in the corporate sector with Fortune 500 companies, for 15 years, Prof Mishra gravitated to teaching. He taught at business schools across Africa, Australia, China, India, Malaysia, and Singapore.

The genius in Prof Mishra felt restricted with the boundaries of academic teaching. He had a larger dream. His first step was to acquire an ailing engineering institute, the Jagannath Institute for Technology and Management, and thereafter to transform it into Centurion University of Technology and Management.

He has also created social entrepreneurial outreach entities under the banner Gram Tarang. These entities work directly with communities and link the underprivileged regions to the mainstream market.

Prof Mishra was our Qimpro Gold Standard – Education for 2014 and we are proud to recognize his selfless service to humanity.

(L) Roger Pereira, (C) Prof (DR) Mukti Mishra, (R) Tarjani Vakil

(Qimpro Awards 2014)

 

 

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The images used in the post are originally from:

http://static.communitytable.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/malala-yousafzai-ftr.jpg

http://www.cutm.ac.in/images/president.jpg

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Pay 1 Get 4 Free: Inclusive Healthcare

Last Monday I was at the Sankara Eye Hospital in Coimbatore, South India. My mission was to harvest their best practices for performance excellence.

I went to the campus with a totally open mind expecting to come back with a couple of great practices. That was not the case. I found several.

What made these practices exceptional was the fact that 80% of the patients were free patients from the rural and tribal areas.

Here are the practices that I harvested, and believe should be adapted and innovated by industry at large:

  • Every paying patient supports 4 free patients. This translates to 1000 – 1200 free patients per week.
  • Free patients are treated with similar dignity to that offered to paying patients.
  • Patients have rights. They also have responsibilities.
  • Commitment to processes is an unstated contract with patients.
  • Processes are demystified through pictorial posters.
  • Housekeeping processes address the challenges of dealing with a high volume of rural patients.
  • Spartan clean rooms.
  • High throughput: 200 operations per day.

Think about this. Cross-industry benchmarking is the best knowledge tool available to industry for leap-frogging into the global arena.

‘Made In India’ can be a global asset.

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Kill the Consultant

Management consulting in India commenced 50 years back with audit firms extending their services that focused primarily on strategic financial management. The need to market consultancy services was minimal.

Over the years, the range of services has expanded to include economic feasibility studies, organizational restructuring, management systems design, management development, executive search, and a few more. Currently, the focus is largely on IT enabled management.

It is worth noting that over these 50 years some things have remained constant….namely, once a consulting firm has a client in the net, there is no escape. Ad infinitum. The client list must always be a cumulative one. Question: Are there any clients that have retired as delighted clients?

Clients became dependent on consultancy services. In turn, consulting firms became dependent on dependent clients. OMG. What do consulting firms deliver? Reports! More reports! Larger reports! Jargon infested reports!

In my view, consulting firms should measure their performance based on transfer of knowledge and skills; and aim to become redundant. The focus should be on execution, not ‘reports’ generation.

I am sure you will agree that clients know their problems better than consulting firms do. What they lack is: an ability to define these problems; diagnostic skills to find the root causes; soft skills to implement remedial actions; and an ability to lock the change into management systems.

Therefore, as professionals, consulting firms should focus on empowering clients to solve problems that they already know. This requires consultants to have the following attributes: maturity to define problems; empathetic listening skills; knowledge from experience; and an abundance mentality. It is not a game of MBA numbers.

KILL THE CONSULTANT!!

You should build in-house consultants and conserve the knowledge –the main asset of any organization – within it.

Qimpro Consultants, the pioneers of the Quality Revolution in India, are back with the Next Quality Revolution.

Stay tuned for our next Breakthrough….

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Image Credits

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http://www.consilium.ca/images/Consultants-Comic_000.jpg

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