An organization hires management consultants when it needs:
- Skills or experience that are not available in-house
- External objective advice and independent facilitation skills
- Help with work it cannot do itself
- Help managing change or solving problems
In general, they:
- Understand and set the objectives and scope of the organization’s problem with the client
- Define the nature and extent of a project by gathering data and information. This may include interviews, observation, file reviews, and external research. This helps to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of current management policies and procedures. It also identifies gaps to address.
- Analyze the data collected
- Develop recommendations that enhance strategic direction and align operations, methods, systems, or procedures
- Present their recommendations to the client organization
- Help implement their recommendations, if needed
Sometimes, clients put out a Call for Proposals that includes their needs for a project. Management consultants then submit a Statement of Work (SOW). If the client hires them, they work within the parameters of the SOW.
Most management consultants have specific experience in 1 or more areas, such as:
- Education and training
- Identification and analysis of management problems
- Materials management
- Solution development
- Strategy implementation
This experience may translate into one of several specializations.
Finance consultants provide advice on matters such as financial feasibility, pricing securities, business valuation, and economic forecasting.
Human resources consultants provide advice about recruitment practices, compensation and benefits packages, pension funding, workforce diversification, and employee-development programs.
Marketing consultants work with companies seeking innovative ways to understand customers, pricing, and competitors. They analyze how feasible it would be to market new or existing products or services.
Operations consultants help organizations increase productivity by improving business processes.
Organizational change consultants work with clients going through basic changes in the way they operate, manage, and lead the organization.
Quality management consultants help organizations measure and improve the quality of their products and services.
Strategic consultants help organizations create strategic plans for the foreseeable future. This may include developing a change or growth strategy, restructuring, marketing internationally, buying or selling assets, or revitalizing leadership.
Technology consultants help organizations implement new technologies. For more information, see the Information Systems Consultant occupational profile.
Valuation consultants work with lawyers to develop case strategies and financial evidence, and to provide economic analyses.