There are a multitude of supply chain and material handling system design consultants out there. And they offer a lot of different services, including process and operations assessments; supply chain network strategy; distribution center design; last-mile delivery optimization and location modeling; implementation support; and more.
But how can you be sure the consultant is actually working for you? By partnering with one who is neutral when it comes to their solution recommendations.
By “neutral” we mean a consultant who is both brand and solution agnostic and does not represent (or work for) an original equipment manufacturer (OEM). Instead, a neutral consultant’s singular motivation is to help your operation identify its problem, and to propose a variety of possible solutions that best fit your needs.
Customers receive maximum value from independent, neutral consultants because they are free to leverage different types of solution options — including people, processes, and technologies approaches — to achieve strategic goals within the budget and timeframe. Proposed solutions are not tied to a specific brand of equipment or automation technology. Rather, they present a selection of design alternatives and recommendations that can be assessed solely on their ability to achieve desired business results.
How Does KPI’s Neutral Consulting Practice Work?
When we each operated our independent consulting practices (Precision Distribution Consulting and Commonwealth Supply Chain Advisors), we both considered solution provider neutrality to be the linchpin of our work. Now that our companies are part of the KPI Integrated Solutions family, this foundation remains the hallmark of KPI’s Consulting Practice.
Indeed, Matt — who leads the Consulting Practices — reports directly to KPI’s CEO Larry Strayhorn. This organizational structure was put in place to assure consulting clients of our group’s independence. Unlike other integrators and OEMs whose consultants are equipment sales-driven; delivering the best solution for your operation is always our exclusive goal — whether KPI’s System Integration division is engaged to execute the project or not.
KPI’s Consulting Practice also ensures neutrality in the following ways:
- All consulting projects are structured solely to solve a customer’s problem; selling equipment is never the end goal.
- The recommended solution does not always require an investment in technology or automation. Sometimes the optimal solution simply requires adjustments to existing staffing, processes, or facility layout.
- Our consulting division accepts consulting contracts that may prohibit KPI’s Systems Integration division from bidding on any subsequent integration project that results from our recommendations.
- Request for Proposal (RFP) engagements solicit proposals for possible design approaches from other solution providers and OEMs with the customer’s optimal outcome in mind.
- We work with customers to assess proposals and design alternatives from our systems integration group and others against a list of priorities and trade-offs to determine the optimal solution, regardless of the source.
- KPI’s System Integration Practice is also independent and brand agnostic. KPI does not manufacture material handling or automation equipment. Instead, we solicit bids from multiple suppliers to find the best means to achieve our customers’ strategic goals.
Ready to engage a consultant who’s focused solely on your operation’s best interests? Both Matt and Ian are happy to answer any additional questions and discuss how KPI’s Consulting Practice can enhance your operational strategy. Contact us today.