Consulting firms: What are the challenges of resource planning ? (2022)Advice
The issues of resource planning in consulting firms
THE resource planning is at the heart of the partners’ concerns. Since we sell brainpower time, it is essential to manage availability and skills to optimize the availability of consultants. A brief overview of the issues and the responses that firms provide to these problems.
resource planning is a particularly critical subject, because it is key to the profitability of the firm and can be very complex to carry out well. Here are all the parameters to take into account:
THE pipe and the workload to manage
To know who to staff, you must first know the needs. In one way or another, we must have the complete vision of the needs of the current missions. That is to say: recent proposals won and those presented to prospects and their chances of success. And for each of these projects, the needs must be identified (number of days, seniority, particular expertise, etc.)
Availability of consultants
This is obviously the major point. We must first have the information: who is available today to work on a “propale”? Which junior will be available for 3 months starting next week to work on the mission we just sold? We must collect the most up-to-date and reliable information to know the safe and expected availability (a mission 70% sold for example) of each person.
The skills required
Certain missions require specific expertise. An Excel master to carry out a financial mission, a rail expert to work at the SNCF, etc. Remembering all the missions and skills of everyone in the firm is not always easy, especially if you have many colleagues. But you have to do your best to find the person who will best convince your prospect to choose your firm, and who will carry out the project with the most efficiency.
Certain missions must be able to take precedence over others, and for several possible reasons. For example, a mission can be strategic for the firm, because if it is small or has been poorly sold, it can open the doors to a second, much more substantial and profitable mission. The missions for which the ADR are higher can also be prioritized for example.
The desires of consultants and the management of their career
The last two elements to take into account are firstly the desire of the consultants (someone who spent 4 years in Brest at Orange perhaps wants a change of scenery), and the management of their skills. To prepare young people to be managers, they must have seen a certain number of missions of different types, and be able to handle presentations and Excel, short missions and long missions, etc. Following the history of each person and the gaps to be filled in a course makes it possible to adapt the resource planning in this sense.
The processes generally put in place
Consulting firms have implemented different models of resource planning . They are supported by ongoing processes and strong moments of resource planning like the aptly named weekly meeting “of resource planning ". Here are the practices identified by Stafiz:
In this case, a limited number of people, generally the general manager or the 2 or 3 partners of a firm, make the decision on assignments. These people must therefore know each of the employees well.
All partners and managers of a firm can assign someone to a mission. If a consultant is available, it is possible to staff them directly without validation. THE resource planning is accelerated, but this includes risks: overestimated workloads, proposal not yet sold, etc. In some firms, the consultants themselves have control over their resource planning . This accountability does not exclude control, which the partners can do constantly by consulting the ERP data.
In a centralized process, it is possible to write sheets expressing the needs of resource planning . Created when a mission is launched, or when a rework needs to be carried out, they include the basic information of the request. This information is: seniority, profiles, dates, position, specific skills. These sheets are then reconciled to coordinate needs and availability and find the best combination
The meetings of resource planning :
Most firms organize meetings (weekly or bimonthly) to discuss face-to-face on the resource planning . These meetings generally begin with a summary of the pipe and proposals won and last one to two hours depending on the decisions to be made.
The contribution of software:
Most consulting firms still use Excel to manage their resource planning . However, new technologies bring indisputable advantages:
- Collaboration: everyone can, depending on the authorizations given to them, see and modify the information that interests them. For example, a junior will only be able to have access to the visualization of his own resource planning , while the partners will be able to modify the resource planning from everyone.
- Information reliability: Data can be changed 24/7, and anyone can change the data they have access to. This army of contributors makes it possible to have a resource planning reliable day to day. If a resource planning is not up to date, several elements will in some way force the manager to update it: for example, it could be his partner who asks him, because he himself needs to take stock of the activity. The partner can also modify the resource planning so that it is up to date. Juniors too can see that their resource planning and request an update if necessary. Finally, the manager himself is alerted, if his resource planning forecast is incomplete. Its margin rate will be false and its management of the mission degraded; he will therefore be encouraged to update the data.
- Real time: no need to call all your colleagues, or run through the corridors to find out the latest information, just log in (on your mobile for example) to get the latest information. resource planning live.
Stafiz is a software for resource planning which helps you manage your resources and pilot your projects. Benefit from real-time visibility on your employees' workload and their schedule. Search and allocate your resources to your missions with more simplicity. Optimize the workload of your employees to ensure their retention!
To find out more about the Stafiz platform, visit the dedicated page.
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