Lego, Ikea and Disney consulting

Just as the ongoing digitalization is dramatically altering the face of business life around the world, so too is the need for strategic advice changing. I recently heard from a supply chain director at a multinational recently who’d been talking to a consultant from a leading firm. “We only get projects of between EUR 50,000 and 100,000 nowadays,” the consultant complained. The supply chain director, who himself had previously been a consultant, confided to me his expectation that the glory days of consultancy projects worth millions are gone for good.

By Martijn Lofvers, publishing director & chief editor 

Companies now prefer a so-called ‘scrum’ approach: an iteration of small, short-term projects to find out as quickly as possible where they can achieve the biggest gains. I call this quick trial-and-error approach ‘Lego consulting’.

Another supply chain director called me recently to discuss his need to improve his sales & operations planning process. Rather than having to bring in various consultants, he just wants insight into how his company should put S&OP into practice. He has a clear need for what I regard as ‘Ikea consulting’: give me the assembly instructions and the materials and I’ll do the rest myself.

I’ve heard from yet another supply chain director that his company wants to start working on its supply chains for 2025. He is looking to organize a series of five workshops for him and his team so that they can shape a future-proof supply chain strategy. In a varied series of interactive workshops, the company wants to develop visuals that outline the various future scenarios and the role of the supply chain within them. It’s as if the company is organizing a number of creative sessions to develop a screenplay, only it’s not yet clear whether it should be a Pixar animation, a Marvel superhero movie or a science fiction film like Star Wars. All three of those are Disney brands, by the way, which is why I like to call this ‘Disney consulting’.

One thing is clear: in these times of disruption, companies are looking for new types of strategic advice. The consultancy firms would be wise to meet this new need for Lego, Ikea and Disney consulting.