Metrics Blog

The Blog for Business Performance Improvement

What is Operations Consulting and Can It Help My Business?


What is operations consulting, what do operations consultants do, and how might it benefit your business? If you have questions, we have answers. Here’s your operations consulting FAQ.

What is operations consulting?

Operations consulting, simply put, is a discipline designed to improve your company’s internal operations and processes, making them more efficient, streamlined and ultimately, profitable.

What does an operations consultant do?

Operations consultants are outside experts who can look at your operations with a fresh set of eyes. If your business has a problem or obstacle you can’t solve — a slowdown in throughput, trouble on the line, machinery problems, supply chain issues, demand outweighing supply and more — it’s time to bring in an operations consultant. Operations consultants will first look at your current operations model, systems and day-to-day processes of getting the job done. They talk with front-line workers, executives and everyone in between. Listening is a big part of the job. They employ methodologies like Lean Six Sigma, SIOP, the Five Ms and other tactics to uncover what’s bedeviling your operation and create ways to solve those problems. Learn about this in more depth in “With Fresh Eyes, Consultants Can Help Improve Organizational Efficiency.”

Are all operations consultants the same?

No. Some operations consultants are advisory consultants, or “boardroom consultants” who perform a two- to three-week study and provide a book of recommendations to help you out, and then hand it to you and go on their way. Implementing consultants, like USC, roll up their sleeves and work with a company’s internal teams for as little as 12 weeks to upwards of around 40 weeks depending on the scope of the project to help affect change, and ensure those changes will stick.

What areas of discipline do operations consultants work in?

A wide range of disciplines and departments, including organizational operations, supply chain, sourcing & procurement, maintenance, finance, business process management, research & development, distribution and logistics, and outsourcing.

How does an operations consultant differ from my internal teams?

Operations consultants provide an outside, unbiased viewpoint and utilize experience from both in-industry and out-industry to address inefficiency gaps and improve production. That’s not to say internal improvement teams aren’t important. But they can run into roadblocks like overwhelming work demands, flawed operational objectives and reactive rather than proactive workflows. The right operational consultant can enhance the effectiveness of your internal teams. Read more about it in “How USC Consulting Group Enhances Your Internal Improvement Team.”

When should I hire an operations consultant?

Common reasons for bringing in an operations consultant:

  • When your operations are struggling.
  • If your operations are performing well, but you want to get more out of them.
  • For planned shutdowns, turnarounds or outages.
  • When you need to reduce operating costs or improve throughput and efficiency.

How much are operations consulting fees?

That depends on the project, its scope, length and many other factors. But you should know that there are consulting fees for the project, and also expense fees like airfare and lodging. At USC Consulting Group, we’re upfront about our fees, so clients don’t have any surprises at the end of a project.

What industries use operations consultants?

A wide range of industries use operations consultants, including manufacturing, forestry products, chemical processing, oil & gas, transportation & logistics, mining & metals, food & beverage, life sciences, private equity and others.

It is beneficial to note that there are plenty of consultants who work in a variety of fields. These sectors include IT, financial, engineering, design, strategy, and others. These consultants’ expertise is separate from operations consulting, but all are valuable depending on the specific needs of your business.

Do you still have questions about whether bringing in an operations consultant is right for your business? We’d be happy to talk with you about it. Contact us today.

Need more horsepower for your change management project

Back to top ↑