What does a management consultant do?

Management consultants can be engaged for a wide range of activities. They bring with them technical skills, a breadth of experience, and the ability to deal with the vital human side of change management and implementation.

Typical assignments for management consultants include:

  • Reviewing an organisation's corporate objectives and strategy
  • Reviewing an organisation's structure and staffing
  • Appraising, selecting, and determining the remuneration structure for executives
  • Preparing and implementing development programmes
  • Improving revenue and profitability
  • Increasing cost effectiveness
  • Introducing new or better management techniques such as information technology, personnel incentives, asset management, and re-engineering
  • Planning and controlling the execution of projects which are outside the normal experience of the organisation's staff.

Consultants have developed their services to meet these and similar needs, when the skills, knowledge, and experience of the organisation are nor appropriate, nor currently available for the concentrated effort needed, or not sufficiently independent for the task.

Management consultants advising the New Zealand Government

In New Zealand the Government's role in providing some infrastructure and services is greater than in some countries because of insufficient scale in the private sector, smaller capital markets and historic political support for government service provision.  New Zealand governments do, however, hire in expertise to complement the advice of professional public servants.  While management consultants contribute to policy and strategy development the Government tends to use management consultants for strategic review and for strategy execution.  There is a distinction between management consultants (who generally provide advice and fixed deliverables, often for a fixed fee) and professional contractors (who work for an hourly or daily rate providing specialist services.  Official figures from 2007 to 2009 show annual expenditure of about NZ$150 -NZ$180 Million by the NZ Government on consultants but this is understated See: http://www.ssc.govt.nz/sites/all/files/cab-paper-review-of-cap-core-govt-administration-2.pdf para 16.  
While multinational consultancy firms provide advice on major projects and in specialist areas the majority of management consultants providing advice to the New Zealand government are sole practitioners or members of small consultancy practices. The range of services provided is large covering change management, strategic review, project and programme management, procurement, organizational design, etc.  IMC provides the opportunity for experienced management consultants to work with fellow CMCs collaboratively to provide advice to government agencies on larger projects.

Management consultants offer a range of qualities which are valuable to managers:

Knowledge: Consultants usually specialise in an identified area of business, such as strategy, Total Quality Management, or marketing. They may also practise in a specific industry, such as food processing, utilities, or tourism.

Experience: Most consultants have had experience as managers and this, together with their consulting experience, makes them highly valuable as advisers.

Objectivity: Consultants can bring to your business an objectivity that you may not be able to achieve with your own people.


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