A friend of mine is a do-it-yourself home repair guy. He wanted a new deck, so he built one. The vinyl siding on his house needed cleaning, so he rented a power washer and spent his Saturday on a ladder. His son knocked a hole in the drywall, so he taught himself how to repair it. His workmanship is pretty good, but I have no doubt a pro could do it better. Build a nicer deck. Make the siding really sparkle. Patch the drywall without leaving a baseball-shaped bulge.
It’s the same thing in my business. Many organizations take a do-it-yourself approach in a number of areas where they may not have focused expertise – building safety programs from scratch, asking the HR professional to wear compliance, safety and wellness hats in addition to everything else they do, and so on.
For example, we recently met with the leaders of a large defense contractor and suggested providing a free audit to see if we could save them money on their shipping costs (one of our business advisory services.) They were quick to tell us they’d just conducted an internal audit and were able to save 20 percent on their annual shipping spend. We were happy for them, but suggested we could still perform the audit to validate their approach and possibly turn up more savings. They agreed.
We ended up saving them an additional 33 percent. Like my buddy, that company was pretty good at do-it-yourself work. They found a decent amount of savings on their own. But because cost management consulting is a part of our core business, we were able to more than double their savings without changing shipping vendors. How? We knew what to look for. We knew where the shipping vendor could be more flexible and we helped our client negotiate lower rates.
Just don’t ask us to build a deck.