As companies grow leaner and the workforce older, it seems the use of highly qualified quality management consultants would be an attractive alternative to hiring full-time regular quality managers. Below are thoughts along with extractions from insights shared by experts and practitioners on the advantages of hiring part-time consultants to do the quality work.:
- Absolute objectivity: A consultant is free from control or manipulation from managers in the organization, due to naturally maintaining this unfamiliarity in his/her relationships with the organization’s employees.
- Cost management: When organizations are faced with budget constraints which prohibit the addition of regular employees, consultants can be brought in under a separate professional services budget. Consultants can be contracted with on a project basis or on the basis of specific deliverables.
- Focused effort: Part-time consultants are much less disposed to becoming sidetracked by tasks other than those described in their contracts and are better able to stay focused on completing critical objectives. A consultant could be the key to more timely and cost-effective completion of crucial projects.
- Change agent: The consultant is naturally detached from the influence of informal or pre-existing cultural biases in the organization. Consultants are capable of overcoming complacency and resistance to change by not worrying about maintaining relationships with employees who might otherwise be obstacles.
- Entrepreneurialism: Seasoned quality consultants are entrepreneurs who have had experience in effectively managing risk in order to survive. They can be a great match for a bureaucratic organization striving to reconnect with entrepreneurialism through improving its risk management within its own culture.
- Troubleshooter: Unlike regular employees, consultants do not rely on archived organizational knowledge for successful results. So, consultants are generally quick in identifying and recommending creative or new solutions for situations in which the organization has become vulnerable to; problems that might be due to missing or poor procedures, ineffective training, or business requirements that have changed but have not yet been properly integrated into the organization’s way of doing business.
- External accountability: Consultants depend on endorsements from previous and existing clients to attract new ones. The consequences of inappropriate behavior by a consultant extend beyond the organization for which the consultant is working, and can impact the ability of the consultant to secure new clients.
- External credibility: The consultant’s long-term working relationships and the mutual respect built with major customers can be very beneficial when the consultant is requested to support tasks involving those customers.
- Proven decision maker: Consultants must be very cautious and wary of the risks associated with decisions they are endorsing. Consultants rely and build on a track record of positive past decisions to gain and maintain the confidence of those acting on their decisions.
- Long term success: The documentation required to establish an effective quality management system (QMS) or to periodically audit it comprehensively serves continuous success on a longer term basis than that required to support a QMS on a day-to-day basis.
- Body of knowledge expertise: Expert quality consultants in areas such as auditing, process improvement, problem solving, regulatory and legal affairs or risk management are typically the best resources for achieving effective training and implementation. Expert consultants can also ensure continuity of new and improved concepts by training in-house trainers and performing periodic retraining to keep the knowledge base state-of-the-art.
- Blame bearer: If a project has a low probability to succeed, the organization can better ensure potential project success and have somebody else to blame if the project fails by hiring a qualified consultant. Out of fairness to the consultant, when one is hired for this specific reason, the low probability of success should be clearly acknowledged in the contract and a provision made for the consultant to be paid regardless of outcome.
Adapted from www.asq.org