Published: 18 December 2000
Analyst(s): Kevin O'Marah
Any big consulting firm worth its salt has a supply chain practice. Normally this means a small SWAT team of specialists whose real mission is to market their skills to colleagues owning client accounts. True P&L lives in these accounts. For clients, this means thin expertise on the ground and hit-or-miss results. Andersen Consulting (AC) does not fully break the model of an account based P&L organization, but it overcomes the usual weakness of horizontal practice areas with brute force. The company is fielding a direct report team of 600 consultants, who are reviewed and promoted within the supply chain practice. This allows the widely-used approach of dotted line resources to actually work. Counting all bodies who work in the supply chain area, Andersen claims a total of 5,600 supply chain professionals. Usually, SWAT teams leveraging dotted line resources fail because the knowledge transfer is too spotty to take hold. But Andersen Consulting's six hundred specialists--even spread across 5,000 people--works because they achieve critical mass. More convincing than the numbers is the depth of the engagement, which includes extensive current client examples, genuine technology vendor alliances across dozens of leading players, financial investments in many emerging supply chain ventures (watch out for conflicts of interest) and compelling thought leadership in research and writing. They even host exchange applications for many clients just like an ASP. Whew!
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