Two minutes with Rob, a strategic finance independent consultant

March 2, 2018 Nicki Burns

Rob is a strategic finance executive with deep experience and proven success in leadership roles in distressed situations. Consistently able to define and implement initiatives to streamline operations, cut costs, and increase profits by gaining a deep understanding of the business to earn trust at all levels of the organisation.

 

We spoke with Rob to know more about his recent projects, his most significant achievement and why he enjoys working as an independent consultant.

 

Most recent project:

My client, a division inside a larger organisation, lost a customer accounting for 40% of its sales volume for good after an accident inside the customer’s plant caused a permanent shutdown.  A manufacturer with significant open capacity, I was tasked with helping management determine a viable strategy, generating a business plan, and executing on the strategy change to avoid a shutdown of its own. 

 

Functions were realigned, and processes were modified or created throughout the entire organisation, from sales to manufacturing, fulfilment, accounts payable and procurement that allowed for the achievement of the new plan.  Daily and weekly results were made highly visible and managers were held accountable for monthly results. The organisation adapted, and processes were constantly refined to meet the needs of the transforming company. Incrementally profitable sales on the spot market were identified and the plant continued to produce very near capacity. 

 

Gradually those spot sales were replaced with more profitable contracts. The additional cash flow generated from operations was invested back into the business on a targeted basis to enhance the profitability of the new strategy further. Ultimately the division was sold, preserving value as a going concern and avoiding what would have been significant shutdown costs.

 

What makes a project successful?

A transformation project can only be called successful if the changes permeate through the company to create a long-lasting positive outcome. Establishing a coherent vision that can be fully articulated by management, achieving buy-in from the top to the bottom of the organisation, creating visibility and accountability, and enabling each employee to be successful are the broad steps to making that happen.

 

Most significant accomplishment:

While I’ve been able to work with much larger clients since, an early project that ultimately launched me onto this career path was as the CFO of a small retailer in need of a big turnaround. I didn’t know what I was doing at the time and had few resources, but I had a lot of energy. I also made a lot of mistakes that I was able to learn from. Ultimately though, I was able to completely overhaul the finance function of the company, partner with and incentivise managers to understand and take control of their own product P&L, reshape the balance sheet out of court, and stabilise the company after an extremely rocky beginning.

 

Best bits of being a consultant?

I never stop learning.  While there are recurring frameworks, playbooks, and tactics, each project has its own unique opportunity to learn more about an industry, a company, best practices, individual employees, etc. I’m curious by nature and that helps as I dig into new companies and new industries.

 

Why work with an independent consultant?

An independent consultant who brings a different perspective and the willingness to ask questions that challenge some basic assumptions can break an organisation out of a rut in its thinking about its own strategy and operations. If an organisation has been in stagnation or in decline, it’s likely that some complacency has set in. Revitalising and refocusing the team with a new mandate to transform and continually improve is paramount in today’s world but often difficult to do without a new voice.

 

If you are interested in Rob’s profile or consultants with similar experience, contact Talmix today and see how we can help solve your company’s business challenges. Talmix – the home of independent business talent.

Previous Article
In-demand consulting skills - February 2018
In-demand consulting skills - February 2018

Independent consultants can help with these specialist areas of expertise - pricing, transformation, market...

Next Article
Meet Adrian, an independent financial consultant for some of the largest investment and corporate banks
Meet Adrian, an independent financial consultant for some of the largest investment and corporate banks

Learn more about Adrian, an independent consultant with a strong finance background