Buyers must prove themselves when buying consultancy

1 March 2013

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1 March 2013 | Anna Reynolds

Buyers should improve their offering to stakeholders to get involved in the purchase of consultancy, according to the head of supply chain at Anglo American.

Speaking at the MCA Consultancy Buyers Forum event in London yesterday, Bruce Crane, group head of supply chain at Anglo American, encouraged buyers to participate with stakeholders when engaging with management consultants. Purchasers at the event had raised concerns procurement is not always valued in the buying of management consultants, it is a task normally performed by CEOs.

Crane said: “There tends to be limited involvement from procurement but there is an opportunity for the buying side to think ‘how can we position ourselves and influence our organisation’. Improve the offering you can give to your internal stakeholders to prove you should be involved in the consultant process. Understand what it is your stakeholders are looking for and identify niche consultancies that provide specific services.”

Crane said it is important buyers know what questions to ask and understand what consultants are out there. Further, procurement should get actively involved in interviewing. “You need to know past experience and level of competency. Once the team has been selected don’t let the consultants tell you what to do, buyers need to be part of the process.” He also advised continual engagement so there is the opportunity to get a project back on the rails if problems arise.

Speaking from his own experience, Crane said consistency is important. “I expect that once a team of consultants has been selected, each of them stays working on the project,” he said, and added that requesting feedback from consultants is also important, as is best value.

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