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  so you are a consultant, now what?

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Author Topic:   so you are a consultant, now what?
barb butrym
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posted 22 July 1998 07:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for barb butrym   Click Here to Email barb butrym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ok after visiting a couple other sites and reading posts about consultants and advisors, and adding my notes about trainers, I see there is much confusion in the world about what these people do out there..each consultant has a niche and calls themself what they will. Even Quality Engineers are different from place to place.

Lets discuss job descriptions and see if we can standardize some terms...if only for ourselves here on this forum.... and for kicks and giggles.

What is a consultant? Describe the involvement (role, methods, etc) with a typical ISO 9000 implementation from start to finish.

How does that role correlate to the $$$ charged?

What can the client expect when he deciedes to call in a consultant?

What does the client need to know, and how can he tell which consultant (method)is best for him?

I will now go away and contemplate this, Put on my consultants cap, and return later this evening to provide a response. Anyone else?

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Marc Smith
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posted 23 July 1998 04:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Marc Smith   Click Here to Email Marc Smith     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You lied. You didn't come back this evening.

But - it's late/early and I have to hit the pillow for a few. I'll put my 10 cents in shortly.

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Marc Smith
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posted 23 July 1998 04:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Marc Smith   Click Here to Email Marc Smith     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You said:

"Ok after visiting a couple other sites and reading posts about consultants and advisors..."

Do give us a list of the other sites you visit so we can check them out...

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barb butrym
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posted 23 July 1998 07:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for barb butrym   Click Here to Email barb butrym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
sorry...I did come back but I was too hot to come up with a good answer.....I was beginning to think no one was listening anyway.

I didn't mean sites...i meant topics...here...again I'm sorry.

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barb butrym
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posted 23 July 1998 07:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for barb butrym   Click Here to Email barb butrym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I will pickone option....

1st step is a Gap analysis.....report the results and do an awareness training showing what is required how to meet the requirements of each element. (trainer role)

2nd step is work with each element team/owner to set the policies, make any needed improvements,direct them in writing the procedures, etc (facilitator role)

3rd step is train the auditors (trainer again)

4th step is proof reader

5th step....preassessment (auditor role)

6th step prep for "real' audit (coach role)

day of audit (observer)

CA response (facilitator again)

Step 2 is where the difference in fee comes in to play......the involvement here is variable. I charge heavy for my poor typing skills to discourage it..BUT it doesn't seem to work

Am I a consultant or Advisor?

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Marc Smith
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posted 23 July 1998 10:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Marc Smith   Click Here to Email Marc Smith     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A consultant is a piano teacher. The goal is to teach the client how to play on their own. A good piano teacher does a good job. A bad piano teacher can cause irrepairable (spelling...) harm.

Costs? Fees? Mine range from US$50/Hr to US$1500 a day. So many considerations. How many days? Local or travel? International? Size of company? Systems complexity?

The client's first problem is to decide what s/he needs/wants. What is goal. Financial position/expectations. Clients should expect in large part what they communicate that they need/want to the consultant.

I guess I'm far from any answers here for most of these because every client is different. From prices to requirements... And as time goes on I find myself taking different directions to deal with different road blocks. Methods are different with diffrent customers. I have had some customers which wanted me to 'stay in town, just in case'. Others expected me to be out there writing process documentation. Every day a new challange.

On the other hand there are Excel or Perry Johnson types. Very structured and regimented.

I do in general go along with your list as a general implementation roadmap.

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barb butrym
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posted 24 July 1998 07:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for barb butrym   Click Here to Email barb butrym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree that each job is so very different...trouble I find is the client rarely knows what they want...they think they know...but in the end...they really rely on me to tell them what they need and should want.

My fees are the same ... usually figured out as a project total....except for some repeat clients (that want me hanging around) that pay me for invoiced time.

All in all as my box of tricks gets bigger, the job gets easier...I am more effective and I find I spend less time doing the project....ergo more $$ for actual hours spent...

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barb butrym
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posted 24 July 1998 07:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for barb butrym   Click Here to Email barb butrym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I do enjoy the teaching role best...so naturally my speciality is training....Each in-house session is painstakenly tailored to the client. Each public session is tailored for "use"...in that delegates will use what they learn....during the sessions...to bring home the concept.

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barb butrym
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posted 24 July 1998 02:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for barb butrym   Click Here to Email barb butrym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Its cooler today...i can think

Now for the next approach: A group of companies want a low cost approach to implementation, so they group together in a collabrative. (reimbursed by most state governments for nearly all costs)

The consultant holds periodic workshops breaking down the standard into hunks..a couple of "on site" advisory days....charges a fee for each company..rakes in a bundle and gets 'additional consulting ' time cause each company takes him aside and says "help me, i'm lost" And ZERO guarantee. Runs 10 groups at a time.....10 companies to a group...a fast, ummmmm lets do the math 8-10 K each...times 10...100K times 10 at a time..800K-$1 million for 10-15 days work a month.10 months....really???? What is the cost excluding labor for something like that...copies of handouts, and a couple disks. Space may or may not be a factor.. I know some that do the workshops on site at each of the 10 companies..as part of the 'on site time' and the company picks up lunch !!! Worse case.....100 a day...or 1000 a group for space...lunch optional.

A little tough on the consultant wasn't I? sorry ...saw too many fallouts from this approach....No doubt a product of a lousy teacher or a company not set up for this type of method, not the fault of the approach.

I actually like the approach, just have not seen success unless the company is a company that would have done well anyway, and just needed focus .....it needs the right combination of people.....teacher and company..and NO-ONE I have seem addresses that. I do small adaptations, as I will take a couple of my clients and group them for certain sessions if I think they may benefit from each others input..and some sessions work better with a larger group.

What is the general opinion of this approach out there? PRO and CON..show me some success stories......

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scumaci
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posted 20 October 1998 09:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for scumaci   Click Here to Email scumaci     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
No one has had any consulting questions for awhile, so I will broach the subject again. Having been project manager on two successful ISO-9000 implementation project, a family friend, owner of an decal manufacturer, has asked me to review their quality system. My question is, what type of considerations should I raise prior to accepting this paid role (off-hours and weekends). I want to be truly fair to him and myself. Thanks for the input (advise?)

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Marc Smith
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posted 20 October 1998 11:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Marc Smith   Click Here to Email Marc Smith     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ranges from US$400 a day thru (and probably above with some of the biggies) US$1700 a day. I typically charge in teh 850 to 1250 range.

That what you wanted to know?

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barb butrym
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posted 21 October 1998 09:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for barb butrym   Click Here to Email barb butrym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
me too.....thats about fair, base the hours on bang for the buck...don't make them pay that for a learning curve....you should be able to breeze through the project at those prices.

Gotta consider who is responsible for what...and the measures to be applied.

Pay for planned hours,,,ie project, or actual invoice for time ?

Tough working for friends.....somehow its not the same...certainly not as profitable.

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Marc Smith
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posted 22 October 1998 11:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Marc Smith   Click Here to Email Marc Smith     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'll try to finish off this thread - time to start a new one.

I generally give a range and talk to a client about their involvement. For example one client I bid US$15K to US$30K - depending upon how much they did internally. What I typically run into is good intentions - which later becomes 'We're too busy to do that'.

I invoice for time.

The following is sorta how I respond to a request for info. And as I said, I explain that each project is different. I can give them a fixed price (and don't hesitate to do so) but I put a lot of stipulations in the quote.

-----snippo-----


I am going to first refer you to /services.html for some general info.

I cannot cite specific prices as most of my work is company specific. For example XXXX wanted me to be around every day, month in and month out, so for about 14 months I was either in xxxx or xxxx. Or where ever. I got 'home' every 2 weeks for a weekend. XXXX did the same thing - be in xxxx every day during the week. Contrast that to a company up the road from me 8 miles with only 14 employees where I visited them for 2 days every month for 6 months. Some companies want someone there every day. Some companies just want direction. Every company's needs are different as is how they want to approach the solution.

With regard to your question on specific quality services, Cayman Systems can address about any issue - we are not limited to QS and ISO implementations. I have been called in to help with problems with DoD requirements. I have designed quality systems from scratch. I have written specialty databases for companies for tracking many things from nonconformances and corrective actions to a couple of document control databases (I don't program anymore, but I have and can...). Of course today most bigger companies are using enterprise tools like SAP and Oracle but they lack most quality related modules.

Sometimes an associate takes a contract because of his/her specialty - for example I do not give statistical courses personally - an associate does those. If a company manufactures electronic equipment and wants a process evaluated I am the focus as I've been through the electronics gauntlet from the now defunct Mil-Std-2000 soldering to clean room evaluations. I don't typically author documentation any more - an associate normally does that unless a customer specifically requests my personal involvement.

When I bid time is an important factor but the most important is What Do You Want Done? XXXX wanted training, help with systems and procedures, etc. - I sat in with the steering committee and helped guide their overall QS9000 implementation effort. XXXX, on the other hand only wanted basic training on ISO and basic help with their systems procedures.

A last factor is what I do at my office as opposed to at a client facility. For example, XXXX is a current client. The have chosen to take on most of the internal work. I visit once a month for a week. We communicate by e-mail most days - they send me systems procedures and related procedures for review and such. I comment and such.

Training is tailored for each specific client.

-----

The below rates do not include: Air fare (and related taxes and fees) and rental vehicle (or mileage if its close enough to drive) and hotel/motel. We pay our own expenses, such as meals, other than those three items. We typically stay at the hotel/motel the client recommends.

Our basic in-house consulting rates are from US$600 a day to US$1400 a day. If you want me to stop in for one day it's the high figure. For long term contracts we typically bid in between US$600 and US$850 a day.

Training rates are generally US$850 to US$1250 a day pus US$60 per attendee for course book and such. Depends upon the specific course. Courses are in Powerpoint and the client gets a copy of the file or files. In this way each client has the materials to do with what they please after the actual training - many companies (such as xxxx) use them to set up their own internal course or courses.

Our rate for 'In-Office' review of documents, systems, etc. is typically US$60/hour.

We do not charge for time on the telephone. Most companies take good advantage of this and in fact most of my clients and I conference call every week or two for an hour or so to address issues and status. I'm not a lawyer - Got a problem? Give a call. No charge for telephone time.

My basic rate for Internal Audits is also adjustable with consideration to the size of the project, but typically is between US$450 a day and US$850 a day.

There are several associates who work with me. If I start your project, I will be with you until the end of the contract. If another associate takes the project, s/he will remain until the contract is complete - we do not 'switch' personnel on companies because we take a personal interest in the project and its success.

I would suggest you give me a call. We can talk about your specific situation and scenario as well as your perceived needs. Every company is different so it's hard to set firm prices with so little information about your company and specifically what you want to achieve during your ISO registration process.

If you would like references, please let me know! I'm looking forward to hearing from you!

[This message has been edited by Marc Smith (edited 10-22-98).]

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admin
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posted 16 June 1999 03:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for admin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
and for kicks and giggles.
OK Barb, where are the kicks and giggles??

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barb butrym
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posted 16 June 1999 05:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for barb butrym   Click Here to Email barb butrym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
was that me? must have been dreaming

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