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How independent do you expect your Management Consultants to be?


Impartiality and Objectivity in Supply Chain and Logistics Consulting


Let me explain the background to this question…

I’ve been in Management Consulting now since 1994.  And I have run my own consulting business since 1997, that has since developed into a group of businesses.  So I think I understand the consulting industry.

But there is one thing I don’t understand, and never have understood.

I frequently come across management consulting companies that:

  1. Also sell their own software to their clients.
  2. In addition to designing warehouses for clients, then sell or rent the client a warehouse based on commissions from Landlords.
  3. Have ‘alliances’ with external software vendors and receive commissions for sales leads.
  4. Have ‘affiliations’ with suppliers to their client industries that encourage sharing leads and networking.
  5. Receive commissions for providing clients to freight companies.

I’m sure you can see where I’m coming from with this?  How on earth can a professional management consulting company offer objective and  impartial advice to clients, if they are in some way being rewarded to not be objective and impartial?


How does that work?

Or do the clients of management consulting companies not expect to get objective and impartial advice anyway?

Sorry, but all our clients do expect it, and receive it.

Do please feel free to comment below if you think I’ve somehow got this all wrong.

I’ve lost count, but it would be interesting to know how many times I’ve been approached:

  1. By a 3PL asking how they get onto our ‘preferred supplier’ list.  (Note. have not been asked in Australia)
  2. By a 3PL asking to meet with me, so I can better understand their services, so that I can then promote their services to our clients.
  3. By a software company asking if we will promote their products to our clients on a sales commission basis (the most frequent request)
  4. Numerous ‘lame’ sales staff asking to meet so that we can ‘collaborate’ on generating sales leads.

By the way, if you are a supplier to the Supply Chain and Logistics industry, and were planning to contact me with one of the approaches above, please don’t.

Firstly, I will say No.

and secondly, you will be damaging your reputation, in my eyes at least.

If you have something totally ‘left field’ and innovative that you think will pass our ‘ethics committee’, then by all means let me know.  Because that would really be innovative.


Contact Rob O'Byrne
Best Regards,
Rob O’Byrne
Email: [email protected]
Phone: +61 417 417 307



P.S.  Don’t think I am anti collaboration in our industry.  But if your ‘job’ is to give objective and impartial advice………make sure you do just that!

P.P.S.  This blog post is under the category of ‘opinion’.  Please feel free to ‘take a shot’ at mine in the comments below.

P.P.P.SI’ve had 2 of these calls already today, before midday.


After Note

Having made a statement regarding my view on cosy alliances between consultants and service providers I have received some interesting feedback off-line regarding my thoughts on speaking at sponsored events so I thought I might share them with you.

Those of you who know me well, know I like nothing more than sharing knowledge about Supply Chain and Logistics.

As well as doing this via our consulting businesses and education businesses, I have enjoyed speaking at public and private events for many years. It’s a great opportunity to meet new people in our industry, but mainly, for me at least, it’s about sharing knowledge and helping others do well in their careers and businesses.

A few years ago I was speaking at up to 12 or 15 public and “closed door” events each year, both here in Australia and around our region, many of these “closed door” events being hosted by IT suppliers, 3PLs and a host of other organisations.

I have a very simple and clear view to my public speaking: Speaking at event whether public or private does not imply that I personally, Logistics Bureau or any staff of Logistics Bureau endorse or support the organisation hosting the event. This also applies to any of our Senior Staff and who respond to similar requests.

Business commitments have sadly led to me cutting my event speaking back to 5 or 6 events per year now and you can appreciate that given the number of speaking invitations I get each year it really does depend on work schedule and my travel program.

But if you have an interesting event, and think that I might add value speaking or facilitating a workshop at the event, by all means feel free to contact me (Email), or my PA Rose (Email) knows my availability.


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