Comment: Enlist consultants to bring your business into focus

3 min read

consultantsEnlisting the support of independent experts to catalyse the scale up of new technologies in an increasingly fast moving, competitive and complex environment is becoming an essential solution for many automotive manufacturers, writes Dr David Stewart, engineering director at HSSMI

Each day, the average human has 6,200 thoughts, according to research by Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada. Some days though, when attempting to solve a particular challenge, unblock an obstacle on a development path or understand the implications of emerging disruptive technology, even that number of thoughts doesn’t seem to be anywhere near enough to capture the breadth of the issue at hand.

It is increasingly difficult for leaders to concentrate on long-term strategy when every day brings more challenges, including component supply issues, and the need to achieve net zero. These issues frequently sit alongside an urgent need to scale up the production of electric powertrains and vehicles, especially where the necessary systems and resources are not yet in place or where the path to scale up is particularly challenging and complex.

However, the answer is not more thoughts, or at least not more thoughts from the same people.

Dismantling barriers to success

Providing innovative thinking is the primary role of any consultancy organisation. New thought processes have arguably never been of such critical importance within the history of the automotive manufacturing industry than now. Good consultancy can be the key to unlocking sustainable growth and could be the difference between failure and survival.

Even the brightest and best leaders can benefit greatly from help in defining the vision for their company's future. Along with expertise and experience, this task requires time and undistracted, unyielding focus to determine where a company is today, where it needs to get to and how it will get there, with a thorough understanding of the market sector and prevalent industry issues and trends to complete the overall picture.

Single issue focus

With a myriad of other issues to contend with to keep their company on track on a day-to-day basis, few leaders can spare a sufficient window of uninterrupted, razor-sharp attention to concentrate on generating solutions to key strategic issues. It is at this juncture that experienced consultants can be onboarded to provide a strategic role to support to provide the clarity of vision that will enable a manufacturing organisation to transform its competitiveness and achieve its goals.

An independent expert can dial in purely on the single task they are given without being responsible for or distracted by other issues. S/he can bring the overview, full rigour and mental discipline required to create a clear roadmap to navigate the challenges ahead and map out where a company it needs to be.

As the automotive industry faces challenges on all fronts, the demand for consultants has never been higher. But recognising the need to engage the services of a consultant only takes a company so far in solving its challenges. Choosing the correct consultant is even more critical.

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While analysis, overview and strategy can be provided from the comfort of a meeting room, other challenges require a highly experienced, hands-on-components solution. Often, this is an urgent need. Most consultants understand and ensure that they are in a position to rapidly deploy experts with highly sought-after and specific skill sets, contacts and expertise in relevant automotive fields, whether battery technologies, propulsion or digital manufacturing, to name a few. It is often not economically efficient for OEMs to engage the individuals they require on a full-time basis. However, consultants can amortise the cost of this expertise across multiple projects and clients, creating an overall enhanced package.

A consultancy must never overlook the fact that companies are investing when engaging its services. To deliver the best possible services to its clients, a consultancy must also continue to invest in itself.

Quick Reaction Force

At HSSMI, we can respond with swift and sure effectiveness and solve problems fast by delivering precise tailormade solutions. With no need for the delay of recruitment campaigns, an effective consultancy can provide a quick turnaround, potentially embarking on a project within just a few weeks, implementing key technical skills across numerous client projects, amortising costs whilst exceeding the reach of full-time employees in specific roles. A consultancy is also not part of full-time headcount, which brings a host of associated benefits to an organisation too.

Taking a fresh approach to strategy through the services of an effective consultancy is an essential key to transforming any company and equipping it for the challenges of tomorrow.

As Albert Einstein observed: "The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”

David Stewart, HSSMI engineering director, Research & Innovation