Companies are sometimes hesitant to call on a consulting firm. Are these objections justified? On what basis can one choose an expert firm in Supply Chain? Do large international groups provide more guarantees than smaller but highly specialized firms? What can you ask of a consulting firm? How far can his support go? And what can we expect from him in terms of return on investment?

“What can we expect from a consulting firm in Supply Chain Management?”. This was the theme of the round table organized on June 22, 2022 by Supply Chain Village and in which Olivier Dubouis, Partner and Managing Director of DIAGMA participated. The opportunity to review some fundamentals of the Supply Chain Management consulting profession and its contributions to companies.

The 3 contributions of the consultant

For Olivier Dubouis, the role of the consultant has three key elements. He must provide expertise, added value and insight that the client does not necessarily have internally. He must also bring an external vision that challenges, with benevolence. Its role is indeed to broaden the horizon, sometimes to make the customer consider things he had not thought of. And third element, he must help to move from the idea to its implementation, to transmit his expertise in the operations.

Missions most requested by clients

Four types of assignments are on the rise at the moment according to the CEO of DIAGMA: “We see a lot of Network Design, network studies to define the number of production and/or distribution sites, depending on whether we are manufacturer or distributor. The development of e-commerce and omnichannel is indeed challenging distribution networks a lot”. And to continue: “A second type of mission relates to the mechanization of warehouses, driven by e-commerce and the need to reduce hardship, as well as the need for labor, because it is becoming rare to find. in certain employment areas”. Transport, with the consideration of environmental impact, is a third type of highly requested missions. Finally, Olivier Dubouis notes a renewed interest in S&OP (Sales & Operations Planning) in recent years, to implement this process and the forecasting/planning professions or to develop them.

Cooperation with companies’ Supply Chain centers of excellence

“I have the feeling that Supply Chains teams in companies have gotten bigger and they can take on more things. On the other hand, they may also not have sufficient teams for certain transformation projects” , observes Olivier Dubouis. Hence the fact that some clients ask consulting firms to accompany them until the implementation. While others prefer to implement the cabinet’s recommendations themselves. Similarly, companies’ Supply Chain cells are not always in competition with consultants. The latter can indeed supplement their tools, their skills, their resources, train them…

The importance of advancing Supply Chain teams

“I think that training is important and that it is more of a beginning than an end in itself, adds Olivier Dubouis. Teams progress when we can support them. Thus, when we lead an S&OP process with managers for six months, it’s a form of learning that is worth all the training!”, he believes. “Another axis on which we play, and which is fundamental, is that of HR and skills. This is not the main activity of DIAGMA, but we are able to support our clients in the search for talent externally. , when they do not have the skills or the capacity to evolve internally”, adds the DIAGMA Partner.

A general difficulty for firms to recruit

Despite the diversity of the missions offered, Olivier Dubouis recognizes however that Supply Chain consulting firms are struggling to recruit talent themselves. “This is the big difficult point at the moment! Everyone is fighting to recruit talent. And for the first time, Syntec’s annual report focused on recruiting and retaining talent”, relativizes- he.

Transformation and support professions

Be that as it may, supply chain consulting firms are still widely called upon for their expertise. They contribute to increasing the economic, social and environmental performance of companies through the transformation missions they carry out and the benevolent support they provide to their customers.

DIAGMA, consulting firm specializing in Supply Chain with 50 years of expertise


DIAGMA, a human-sized supply chain consulting firm,