GEA's Global HVAC Technology Blog Blog

GEA's Global HVAC Technology Blog

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Using Expert Consultants Effectively

Posted February 24, 2016 1:00 AM by geanorm
Pathfinder Tags: expertise hvac industry trends

The availability of consultants to address virtually any problem or situation in life has increased exponentially during the past decade and is still continuing to grow. Large companies, including the Fortune 500, augment their staffs by engaging 10% to 50% through outsourcing selected work to consulting companies or by hiring temporary help. More recently, we are seeing Small and Medium size Businesses (SMBs) increasing their competitiveness by also learning how to access and utilize this expertise in many critical areas of their businesses.

Today's Competitive Landscape

To be competitive, today's HVAC companies need high levels of expertise in diverse and complex technical specialties. Yet, many SMBs have found it impractical to keep permanent staff for each specialty through times of fluctuating business and market conditions.

Today's business model has a core organization which provides business and organizational skills, financing, and needed continuity along with a group of seasoned technologists in the various areas of expertise needed to support today's business and market needs. These expert consultants can be located anywhere. And, when the project has been completed, they magically disappear until the next urgent need arises for his/her expertise.

Some clients maintain an open channel to key expert consultants and use their on-call availability to provide added competitive advantage while only paying for time actually spent supporting the clients' calls. This is a very efficient arrangement.

Advantages

Quite simply, it is high value for your money due to increased productivity at lower cost. Consider the following advantages of using "part-time" consultants in place of full-time employees (or doing without).

  • Extends the capacity of the organization for short term urgent work (i.e. Opportunities)
  • Gets the very highest level of talent quickly.
  • Provides an independent viewpoint. Brings objectivity and detachment to the problems encountered
  • Work on an "as needed" basis (as requested by client)
  • Provide specialized skills not available within existing permanent staff
  • When existing staff cannot be made available in a timely manner
  • Allows you to hire a level of expertise that you might otherwise not be able to afford
  • Typically able to start quicker than trying to free up in-house resources
  • Solve problems such that client's people will be able to solve these problems in the future.
  • Most consultants bring years of industry experience in addition to their technical expertise which allows teams to make better and quicker decisions with confidence.
  • Provide alternate opinion (counter "Group-Think")
  • Experienced technical consultants can often provide professional expert witness services
  • Provide immediate global experience for your company to draw upon

Formula for Success

Expert Consultants generally cost less on a project basis although hourly rates are often higher than similar in-house resources. Expert consultants use their expertise and experience to make better decisions, quicker and more reliably reducing the time and expense for the project team while achieving a higher success rate than teams lacking these capabilities.

To achieve this operating efficiency companies need to plan for it. This includes finding, in advance, expert consultants in the key areas of importance/opportunity for your business. Having your key experts prescreened and approved in advance allows you to bring them in on short notice for urgent situations as they arise.

In some industries, there are consulting firms that specialize in providing expertise pertinent to the industry. For the HVAC Industry, GEA Consulting provides such a range of experts that can be available on short notice to support clients' urgent needs as they arise. Clients see this as an extension of their staff at their disposal, ready to go.

This use of expert consultants necessitates special skills of managers. in assembling the "talent" for a specific project. Success also hinges on the need to get consulting resources in your budget in advance so you can be ready for action.

Just as there are revolutions going on in other industries (Uber in transportation, AirBnb in the lodging industry, autonomous driving in auto/transport industries),your company can be a leader by selective and strategic use of key expert resources to create and maintain competitive advantage.

Visit the GEA Website for more ideas to improve the performance of your company. We'd also like to hear from you about your ideas and success stories.

Editor's Note: CR4 would like to thank GEA Consulting's President, Larry Butz,, for contributing this blog entry, originally appearing at http://www.gea-consulting.com/hvac-blog

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