Consulting and diversification – the specificities of working as a Consultant for Antaes by Pascal Lhuisset
What is a consultant for?
Clients wanting to change/achieve something or improve, may need help to solve this problem: When it occurs, they call on Antaes, and one of our Managers can propose an expert consultant on vast subjects of improvements in terms of reorganization, productivity/quality.
The consultant provides expert advice, analysis or recommendations, based on his or her own expertise; he or she brings a fresh look, a neutral and unbiased perspective, uninfluenced by inter-departmental political wrangling.
After this strategy definition, he or she can manage the project, with a team of direct or transversal resources, until a final goal with measurable results is reached.
The mission often requires training or coaching: an upgrading of the consultant, who can then increase the skills of his team at the same time.
Why did I become a consultant?
Like some people, I had fallen asleep for years working for a company in repetitive roles; I looked for other opportunities to reach higher, to progress and to find my limits.
As a consultant, you can control your destiny and direct your career strategy.
To accept to be a consultant is to face the challenge: “Humanity has been able to walk on the road of progress thanks to transgression and risk taking”.
To face the challenge of the new, is to put oneself in instability and to take risks, in order to succeed in evolving. The job of a consultant is not always easy: as a Quality Project Manager for an equipment manufacturer, I had to confront the Quality Director of a famous German car manufacturer.
The consultant has to listen a lot: “To listen is to be able to detach oneself to be available to the other”. One must examine in depth the company to understand its real needs, to study the possibilities, to provide adequate strategic advice on the best way to manage the project.
One must also anticipate project/process risks, due to too quick validations and underestimated issues: This implies a lot of investigation and listening to the environmental constraints, company values and hidden needs of the project.
It is necessary to take advantage of one’ s experience and level of expertise, of one’ s understanding of the sector and of one’ s methodological capacities to be a force of proposal, by offering valuable advice to customers, or by finding solutions together. Sometimes, these problems are unique and require personalized solutions, but they are often common to the industry and the consultant can help because he or she has already helped other companies to solve this type of problem.
We must convince our client with an effective communication: they validate your orientations, with their history, their values and their own stakes.
The customer remains the master of the project, and the consultant must help them to surpass themselves and progress through and after this project management: It is very gratifying when members of your customer team, or a supplier, tells you that they have progressed a lot while working on the project together.
The consultant is an expert, but one who is always learning and adapting to new trends in his sector.
For their projects, the methodological and technological watch is an advantage appreciated by the customers because the consultant can get relevant ideas. He or she can look at the world with mimicry, and stay informed of the latest innovations, which are perfectly suited to the project in progress, or which can be perfected through development. New concepts can appear as very audacious, implying complementary simulations of argumentation, but often lead to winning breakthroughs in performance.
Project needs naturally require acquiring new knowledge and skills, both at the technological and business level: You can test other functions, without making a final commitment.
Without consulting at Antaes, I would never have seen myself in a role as a project manager, leading IT/automation qualifications during the weekend with a dozen people.
Depending on the areas covered and levels of responsibility, it allows you to diversify your career path, both horizontally and vertically, with a variety of experiences that can fit a wide spectrum of future assignments.
Teamwork is often the DNA of the industrial consultant, because of the need for general consensus and multiple skills on ambitious projects. The participative involvement of multi-departmental resources, during brainstorming or collegial analysis, is beneficial for the federation of all to the project, especially during the collective discovery of the “perfect solution”.
My last mission with a colleague from Antaes, involved tripling an assembly department of 3000 m² with a complete reorganization: it is an understatement to call this project a team work.
You have to be the driving force of the project, always positive with your team; it was sometimes difficult to be always enthusiastic in front of the difficulties, but you can always be positive with a little humor, and the “small steps” method.
Joint problem solving, or less formal external relationships, consolidate your “internal” network, to efficiently manage future project needs.
Using multiple project management skills on a regular basis has its benefits: excitement, gratification, full days, creativity that takes shape!
Antaes has given me access to rewarding assignments with leading industry players, in cutting-edge sectors, with the will to change and the means to realize my ideas.
As a consultant, I have been able to work with incredible clients of all sizes and types of industries! Each client has different needs and expectations, products and services, so a consultant can oversee a wide variety of projects, with a range of tasks.
In the last mission where my manager positioned me, I was able to tackle:
– The redesign of the production strategy of an entire workshop, with optimized re-dispatching of processes, and optimization of the supply chain by automatic transitic
– The realization of a computerized concept of ultra-fast order preparation
– Installation of a fully connected automatic picking warehouse, with WMS-WCS developments and qualification test strategy
I was able to find myself with unusual levels of responsibility, despite my outside position as a consultant for Antaes: With the installation of the automated warehouse, I was required to coordinate about 20 internal/external departments and suppliers.
This role of conductor required a lot of involvement and rigor, often stressful but leaving an inimitable satisfaction: the first scores of a new machine.
And then the role of consultant puts you in the front line to accompany the future challenges of the industry, such as sustainable development, digital transformation, PLM life cycle, industrial relocation, etc…
As a consultant at Antaes, I have been able to accomplish some feats, approaching my limits, but I am always looking for opportunities to consolidate my skills.