How To Choose A Good Consultant

J

jvasqu01

#1
I was wondering if anyone had any referrence literature ( referrably online ) that delineates good practices for hiring a ISO consultants. :agree:

Thanks
 
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Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#2
Reference material? You don't need no stinkin' reference material. You call me! ;)

I'm sure there will be a lot of people who will give you some opinions here - and there are several threads where consultants are discussed. But - for some quickies, starting at http://Elsmar.com/Imp/sld100.htm there are several slides with some 'food for thought'.
 
E

energy

#3
I was waiting!

Heck of a question to ask here!:bonk: I would have been honored to have Marc at my place. My cheapskates wanted somebody closer. We did it. Ask me if I'm a happy puppy!:mad: I hear the weather in Miami is fantastic. Almost like the Caymans :biglaugh: !jvas is an Engineer on a mission. jvas, I recommend the Cheech. If I had had got him, there would have been some serious as-k-cking going on around here and we would be farther along than we are now.
 
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Kevin Mader

One of THE Original Covers!
Staff member
Admin
#4
From my perspective, you need to have good interviewing skills and a good understanding of what it is you are hiring for. Hiring a consultant is the same as it is for hiring for any other position with a few other mitigating factors to consider (time to budget).

If you need to throw a dart, throw it Marc's way. Aside from getting a good consultant with a boat load of knowledge and know-how, you get wisdom and character to boot. The other peripherals, such as the Cove Forums also allow you to access him easily and from just about anywhere. This is pretty important to me for this fact. Our consultant (hired before I took employment) made 5 visits over 5 months and did a cursory review of documentation to the tune of $14,000. Easy money!! And as for getting my answers to my many questions: delayed phonecalls often received after I had figured it out for myself. Accessibility is a key NEED in my opinion.

Regards,

Kevin
 
E

energy

#5
I know him!

Originally posted by Kevin Mader
Our consultant (hired before I took employment) made 5 visits over 5 months and did a cursory review of documentation to the tune of $14,000. Easy money!! And as for getting my answers to my many questions: delayed phonecalls often received after I had figured it out for myself. Accessibility is a key NEED in my opinion.
Regards,
Kevin
Kevin,

I think we got the same guy!:bonk: :vfunny: :smokin:
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#6
Originally posted by Kevin Mader

Accessibility is a key NEED in my opinion.
This is also true of registrars.

> Our consultant (hired before I took employment) made 5
> visits over 5 months

Five 1 day visits or were they multi-day visits?
 
E

energy

#7
You talking to me?

Originally posted by Marc
This is also true of registrars.

> Our consultant (hired before I took employment) made 5
> visits over 5 months

Five 1 day visits or were they multi-day visits?
So far, 3 one day visits....up front payments=13K+ with promise to stay to completion. Another 6 visits due:vfunny: Lots of telephone and e-mail correspondence. Faxed and e-mail files submitted for "approval":ko: :smokin:
 

Kevin Mader

One of THE Original Covers!
Staff member
Admin
#8
Marc,

Each of the visits was a 1 day visit. I should clarify that I didn’t really need on site presence nearly as much as accessibility to them by phone or email. I was after feedback to documents and answers to questions more than on site presence to drive the program (my job after all).

Accessibility is the power of the Cove: a place for your clients to go beyond the length of the contract to ask questions and get answers. It is a place where the novice ISO coordinator/Management Rep can go to and gain confidence through extended learning and sharing. The management rep needs to be well versed on how the standard should be interpreted.

I agree with your point of accessibility of the registrar. As this relationship is typically longer (3+ years) perhaps additional screening might be appropriate.

On a side note: our registrar has a Q&A forum like the Cove. Unfortunately, it is not well monitored, moderated, and the format is less inviting. Anyone in Marketing would tell you, presentation is almost everything. And from a customer/user perspective, accessibility (availability and ease) are extremely important.

energy,

Sounds like if not the same group, the same deal anyway. Get your money's worth, best you can. Since I wasn't involved in the highering of our consultant, I never felt obligated to push for 'value'.

Regards,

Kevin
 
E

energy

#9
Blast from the Past!

Originally posted by Kevin Mader

energy,
Sounds like if not the same group, the same deal anyway. Get your money's worth, best you can. Since I wasn't involved in the highering of our consultant, I never felt obligated to push for 'value'.
I cannot blame the Consultant today anymore than I could blame him when I posted this in another thread on April 26, 2001:

"David,

When you read this, you will find it very hard to believe. Believe me, I lived it. As I continued to get quotations from various consultants, we wanted a local consultant to reduce mileage/expenses (orders from on high), it appeared no one was seriously interested. Out of the blue, “on high” says to call this particular consultant. This is when it starts to get interesting. This consultant was utilized in the past when we were all together in a previous company. We never did our assignments, put all the responsibility on one person, did all the wrong things and never even got close for a gap assessment. Our company closed operations in our area and we all went on our merry ways. Now, we are back together again in a new “start up” company doing pretty much the same work that the old company did.

When I contacted this particular consultant, he finally made the connection between us and that other company who never gave a s—t. This was after I reminded him that we were a previous client under another name. We paid him in full in 4 months and continued to attend sessions for another 4 months, and someone pulled the plug. It didn’t matter because nobody contributed to the cause anyway. The main thing to remember is that the Executive decision maker is the same person, then, as we have now.

The consultant, in my opinion, did it right. Knowing our history, he emphasized teamwork, management commitment, etc. He got the CEO, not the decision maker here, to verbally commit and say those things to the troops that brings everyone together for a noble cause. The fact remains, he trusts the decision maker to call the shots, with full confidence.

No it’s not the consultant. This collection of personnel would challenge any consultant’s ability to get the job done. If the consultant did it all, his or herself, we would have a better chance. We went dirt cheap, hence the amount of homework assignments, and you get what you pay for.

The question is: Why didn’t they learn from the last time? The answer: They never had a clue the first time.

Now, you be nice to me. I’m a Project Manager, with no measurable authority, (Mgt. Rep, too) charged with managing a project that will probably go about 18 months-2 years, or never, due to lack of interest. Don’t weep for me. I find my solace here in the forum engaging charming personalities such as your self."

Update:
We are right where I thought we would be, in spite of the Consultant's assurance to our CEO that we would be ready for Registration by Easter.:biglaugh: Unless everybody begins to take this seriously, we will be lucky to get our first "Majors" in the Fall or later. Of course, I am being held responsible to ensure that the projected milestone plan remains on schedule. "I want names. You have my support" if we start to fall behind schedule. The consultant has received his last check, so let's take it from here. Maybe, now, he will say it like it is. :bonk: :smokin:
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#10
Other Resources On The net

The implementation / consulting business is weird. It's not rocket science, obviously. The problem is it can be hard to agree on what is needed, who will do what and such. I have had clients like Harley and Motorola who wanted me there just about every day. Those were big jobs, but I have also had smaller clients who wanted the same. That's why I addressed a number of related issues in the implementation files (see above link).

That is one thing that makes it hard to quote. Some want you to write all their documentation whilst some want 'guidance' for the most part. Most aren't sure what they want - except cheap.

With one major client it got real interesting. Their system requires specific 'deliverables' to be stated on the purchase order. 'Consulting Services' was not acceptable. As I told them - you figure out what you want and write it out. The paradigm was the PO had to address specifics - which is more applicable to parts. To be honest, I can't even remember what exact words we finally agreed upon, but basically it ended up reading "...consulting services as needed..."

Other posts in this thread address failure modes quite well so I'll leave out other related comments.

I must say I don't really see forums like this one as an acceptable alturnative to person-to-person if only by phone. These forums are nice for many people but each company is so different.

Anyway, as to the original question: "...Other Resources On The net..." I would recommend just doing a Google or Dogpile Search for ISO 9000 or ISO 9001 and consultant as key words. There's probably a thousand or more sites that consultants have put up but I know of no independent site(s) that specifically address what to look for in a consultant.
 
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