Operations consulting, also referred to as operations management, is defined as advisory and/or implementation services that improve a company’s internal operations and performance in the value chain. Operations management consulting projects create more effective client operations by advising on and supporting with the implementation of changes to target operating model, functional business processes, management systems, culture and other elements part of the value chain.
A key characteristic of operations consulting, is that, across the board, it is more resilient to economic conditions than other advisory segments. Consulting demand in strategy consulting is, for instance, strongly linked to growth strategies, while M&A Advisory / Corporate Finance leans heavily on a buoyant economy and acquisition appetite and IT Consulting is, to an extent, reliant on economic conditions that shape capital investment budgets. In contrast, operations management can be used to improve company performance under favourable as well as unfavourable market conditions, either enabling revenue growth plans, or supporting downsizing and efficiency agenda’s.
The market for operations consulting and management services consists of eight disciplines: Organisational Operations, Sales & Marketing, Supply Chain, Sourcing & Procurement, Finance, Business Process Management, Research & Development and Outsourcing.
Organisational Operations focuses on improving the performance of all aspects that support the organisation’s structure; including organisation design, governance (across functions and departments), roles and responsibilities, and employee performance. Typical activities relate either to the implementation of organisational strategies, such as workforce optimisation or the redesign of employee roles, or are prompted by an event or crisis situation, such as a merger or a transition as part of a broader corporate restructuring effort.
From a functional perspective, operations consulting aims at boosting the processes, ways of working and underlying systems across a broad range of areas, of which Sales & Marketing, Supply Chain, Sourcing & Procurement, Finance and Research & Development are the largest areas in terms of size. Sales looks into how sales operations can be improved, including boosting channel management, professionalising the level of customer support (i.e. from call centres to specialised helpdesks) and advancing engagement with clients, commonly referred to as customer relationship management (CRM). Other areas that fall under Sales include the optimisation of account & promotion management, Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP), and improving workforce effectiveness. Marketing encompasses, among others, the fields of customer & market research, marketing intelligence, product design & engineering, category management and customer experience & loyalty.
As operations management is at the heart of the majority of management issues the overlarge share of ISF Operation Consulting provide services in one of the six key service areas.
ISF offers both as a ‘pure-play’ operation focusing exclusively on operations as well as one of the functional areas and ‘operations practices’ (especially Banking & Financial Services) as a service line of a generalist consulting providing operations services.