Case background including facts about the company, industry and competitors
Deloitte & Touch consulting Group became a fully designated subsidiary of Deloitte & Touch LLP, which is a leading accounting firm. Although Deloitte & Touch was traditionally known for tax and audit services, more services that form a significant part of its revenue have since been adopted.
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The firm chiefly focused on delivering services on areas such as financial management, operations, and information technology and strategy development. In 1995, the firm divested into large scale supply of SAP project, when it merged with ICS. The firm’s key competitors included Price Waterhouse, Andersen Consulting, McKinsey, CSC Index, and Ernst & Young.
The industry primarily dealt with strategy consulting and system implementation. Deloitte & Touch’s position and strength in the market entails implementation consulting services (Kerzner, 2003).
Needs for consulting intervention
The need for consulting services is derived from the need to solve many problems that companies encounter in the processes of carrying out their business. For example, several proposals had been made to sort out SKS manufacturing and short term business problems.
The company inventory levels and cost structure revealed that there was a need to harmonize production and procurement, as well as to reduce cash investments in raw materials in order to address the immediate problems. Furthermore, SKS was undergoing critical cash flow deficiency, which once led to delaying of payment of suppliers. Indeed, with the problems it was facing, it became hard to maintain acceptable customer services, and hence could only afford to ship 77% of the customer orders.
Implementation of the suggested solutions is, however, likely to face a lot of challenges. For example, the fact that senior workers such as Janovich, who have gained a wealth of experience after working for the company for many years, will eventually retire means that the projects will be left with many problems.
The use of the solution was not very successful as evidenced by a number of underlying problems in SKS, including lack of accuracy of the layout of the main plant. Although most people agree it is a better place to work, the engineers were still using the old technologies such as manual drawing and CAD applications and only outsourced the services occasionally. Furthermore, SKS’S size of the plant is still small, and there is no room for growing.
The inconvenience of location of the second warehouse is also a clear evidence of the underlying problems in this company. The lack of communication within the company is a grave problem, for example, Skidmore had started an engagement without informing Fletcher; the relationship of the leaders is quite hostile. Chen had also discovered that most of the applications were not integrated, and the data in the system were poor – this presented a very chaotic situation.
Finally, outsourcing from the outsourcing firm has presented another problem, whereby, the employees are left fearing that they could be fired if they fail to perform. The discussion between Ranowski and Chen was believed to be the source of this perception (Harvard Business School, 1996).
Identify, compare and contract at least three approaches to address the problem
The management of SKS had failed to give Maria, the consulting team leader the support he deserved. Wattley-Davis agrees with this when she says that Chen was being thrown into a vague and challenging situation with the engagement. In the first couple of weeks, Wattley-Davis was busy in other projects, and hence did not have enough time for the consultants.
This problem was exacerbated by the fact that the experience of the consultants compared with the senior consultants was low because they were hired as fresh graduates from college. This problem can be sorted out by integrating the consulting work into the team’s overall plan. This will hold the team accountable that they have some task to accomplish with the consultants, despite their inexperience.
A new system should be re-invented, including layout of factory floor and proper training on how to use new technologies. This new data system will ensure that all the applications are integrated and also ensure that data is entered only once, when moving from order entry to manufacturing system. New factory floor layout will ensure that jobs are moving much faster and proper training will ensure that those who are involved can have a better understanding on how things are run, hence ensuring overall effectiveness.
The process of training can also be backed up by Cross-training on every level in human capital and effective successions planning for upcoming retire employees. This method will work effectively because many employees were working in the organization over years like a family – they need to pass down their knowledge, experiences and skills.
Alternatively, all the member of the organization can be involved during the design of the suggested solution to address the underlying problems. In this strategy, all the members should be allocated roles to play, and the results should be evaluated to make sure all members have complied accordingly. Those members who achieve good results can be commended and those who do not perform well should be motivated to improve.
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Develop communication strategy
A communication strategy can be developed to improve the relationship and collaboration between the client and the consultant. This will involve sharing of responsibilities for implementation, action planning and the results. Collection of data should involve both parties, so the level of involvement as well as understanding can be improved. The consultant should help design a level of management to develop and implement action plans that will make the organization more effective, including the plants floor plan.
Follow-up or evaluations strategies
A follow-up strategy to ensure that the project is executed successfully should start with definition of the objectives of the evaluation, followed by selection of a suitable evaluation strategy. Then, the tools required for strategy execution should be developed, for example surveys and observation guides among others.
This is followed by implementing of the strategy as well as collection of data as earlier planned. The data should then be amalgamated, scrutinized and summarized, and finally the results reported and recommendation made, based on the results (Greer, 1992).
Greer, M. (1992). Project management: Tools and Techniques for Instructional Designers and Developers. New York: Educational Technology.
Harvard Business School. (1996). Deloitte & Touche Consulting Group. New York: Harvard Business School.
Kerzner, H. (2003). Project management: a systems approach to planning, scheduling, and controlling. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall.