The paper The Service Revolution by Deloitte “research” is an average white paper which has some interesting numbers about service parts along with quite a lot of fluff to reach its 13 pages. I would recommend it to skim rather than read. It reminded me that I recently wrote an article on the low quality white papers that seem to fill the internet that are primarily focused on gaining business rather than imparting any knowledge.
However, while Deloitte was able to put together a middling white paper, are they the right consulting company to use for your service part solution needs? This is Doubtful. Aside from some strategy consultants who “dabble” in service parts and (can give good presentation), and a number of consultants who have been working on Cat and Ford on SPP, it’s very difficult to see how Deloitte, a company that fakes an aftermarket presence with a few white papers every few years, should be selected over consulting firms that really focus on the aftermarket. There are quite a few reasons why I came to this conclusion.
How Many Times Can a Company Bomb?
The answer for large monopoly consulting companies like Deloitte is unlimited. Deloitte has bombed on 100% of the projects that I have followed them on, which is now around five, including one where I worked with them while they were still on the project and getting close to rolling off. Not only do they bomb, but after they leave, the workers at the client tend to have developed a number of terms for them that include one swear word or another, followed by the name “Deloitte.” Another client had basically banned the use of the work Deloitte, and would insert some other word to describe them.
I used to have to deal with this animosity when I worked for them, and its nice to no longer have to deal with it now that I am independent. Often I was put in the position of having to compensate for the fact that the Deloitte had been failing to meet expectations for quite some time before I would show up on an account. I noticed the higher-ups at Deloitte never thought very much about this, but would usually tell me that the client “was their own worst enemy.”
But at Deloitte, there is a simple rule, everything rolls downhill. The partner is never to blame, they blame the Sr. Managers, the Sr. Managers blame the Managers, and so on. The vast majority of the Sr. Managers and Partners at Deloitte have these tremendous egos and extreme type A personalities, however, what they can’t explain is if they are so talented and know how to staff and manage projects well, why is it that the majority of their projects are in the ditch? The Sr. Managers and Partners are also deeply deluded about the lack of corruption that exists in the major accounting/consulting firms. I was once told by two Sr. Managers out of the Cleveland office that the Andersen Consulting involvement with Enron was “built up” by the media, and what Andersen did there was “not a big deal.”
How to Misconfigure the Wrong Solution
At the client where I worked with them Deloitte had chosen the wrong solution for them, and then had not taken down requirements properly, and right before go-live the Deloitte consultant’s answer to the problem was to leave the project and then to leave Deloitte. Interestingly, the software selected never had a chance of supporting the business requirement, but Deloitte recommended it anyway.
Obvious Failures with SPP
Deloitte is associated with not only failing on projects generally, but has failed specifically on at least three SPP implementations that both Deloitte, SAP and the clients are hiding from the public. These are at Cat Logistics, Ford, and the US Navy. Part of the reason is that Deloitte is the implementation partner. However another reason is that the SPP solution is not yet ready to implement. There are many obvious things that Deloitte could have done to bring those projects live. One would have been to understand the weaknesses of SPP, that it was a beta product with functionality that did not work, and to blend it with a best of breed solution. However, they did not do this because they have no independence from SAP. I discuss SPP’s implementation mistakes in this post.
It makes little sense to hire a consulting company that is simply controlled by a major vendor. The entire concept behind hiring a consulting firm is that you are buying independent advice in addition to the bodies. The fact that SPP, a beta product, has been recommended by the large consulting firms without describing SPP’s limitations to their “clients,” is a clear demonstration that Deloitte puts itself before its clients. To see how SAP remotely controls the advice given by the major consulting companies see this post.
Inability to Partner with Best of Breed Vendors
The problem for clients with bringing in Deloitte to implement even a best of breed solution is that you will end up paying for Deloitte consultants that the vendor is then required to train and have on the project. Secondly, no best of breed service parts planning vendors requires or wants Deloitte or any other consulting firm for that matter to implement their solution. They all maintain consulting practices and they can implement far better independently. The main things a consultant can do is perform a software selection, and other activities during the project such as business process work, training and integration to ERP applications. However, neither Deloitte nor the other major consulting firms will be satisfied with this role. Vendors would always prefer a direction relationship with clients rather than being controlled by some corrupt major consulting firm. Unless it is a major vendor like SAP or Oracle, major consulting companies will strongly tend to abuse the relationship with any best of breed vendor to benefit the consulting company over the client or the vendor. Secondly, this control will take place behind the scenes and will not be apparent to the client. As all of the real service parts planning solutions are best of breed, this of course is a serious problem for selecting any major consulting, including Deloitte company to manage your service parts project.
So do yourself a favor if the Deloitte white paper on the service business, skim the paper for the data that is presented. The rest of the paper is mostly filler, designed to get business. It has some useful statistics, although Deloitte is not above faking statistics to make a case, so I am not sure how reliable they are. However, skip contacting them, because they are not suitable to help you select or implement service parts solutions. There are however plenty of good boutique firms that are better choices.