Internal consultants can help a business with technical issues, production issues, streamlining, modernizing new business models and almost anything else a business may need help deciphering. Once-in-a-lifetime business decisions don’t require long-term consultant oversight, but many business decisions could benefit greatly from insiders with expertise in a given area to ensure the business stays focused, streamlined, sound, productive and relevant.
Smaller businesses may have difficulty justifying the added cost of an inside consultant; for larger companies, it may be an advantage, depending on what you hire the consultant to do. If your business has many facilities and all can benefit from the findings of the consultant, each division or unit can absorb a piece of the overhead, making it much less painful to the bottom line. Manufacturing companies often keep an internal consultant on staff to continuously review processes and stay abreast of new technologies. Businesses that deal with foreign countries or sensitive materials may find it of value to keep an international law consultant on hand.
One of the biggest hurdles consultants face when they come into a business is the people themselves. Employees get territorial and will avoid an external consultant, but if you hire that same person into the company to do the same job, employees will see him as a team member and not an ax man. To affect change in an organization, the employees must buy into and embrace the change. This is often much easier done with an internal consultant, as he can continue to push change and follow through to make sure the process doesn’t stagnate.
At times, having an internal consultant on board can be a huge benefit when it comes time to undertake a dramatic change, roll out a new product line or streamline the organization. The consultant can become the project manager, overseeing other outside consultants and contractors. By having your consultant on the payroll, you ensure that she keeps your best interests in focus at all times.
Technical consultants understand what it takes to deliver a product in terms of unit cost, manufacturing difficult, raw material costs, staffing and facilities. As businesses rely more and more on networking, customer interaction and business transactions online, every minute the server is down or the network is locked up costs money that cannot be recuperated. Having a consultant on hand who understands your system and can respond instantly to get it up and running may be the most valuable person on your staff.
- Noel Hendrickson/Photodisc/Getty Images