Why Resource Scheduling Solution Is Crucial For Consultancy Firms

May 4, 2021

Over the years, the consulting industry has grown substantially. As per Business Wire,

“The global management consulting services market is expected to expand from $819.79 billion in 2020 to $1201.06 billion in 2025 at a CAGR of 8%.”

With the growth of the sector, the value for its resources/consultants has also increased multifold. They are one of the most valuable assets in the consulting industry and contribute significantly to organizational success.

As most of the consultants work on an hourly basis, their overall billable time becomes very expensive for the clients. So firms must use them efficiently. However, most firms fall short when it comes to effective resource scheduling. They rely on spreadsheets or homegrown solutions for scheduling resources. These solutions can not prevent the idle time of these external resources and unnecessarily increase the cost.

In this blog, we discuss how consultancy firms can benefit from a robust resource scheduling solution.

But before digging deep into it, let’s understand everything about consulting firms and what they do.

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1. What are consultancy firms?

Consulting firms are business entities that offer professional advice, ideas, and solutions to companies undergoing crises that their in-house resources cannot solve. In simple words, when a company requires a specialized skill to address an immediate problem, it contacts a relevant consulting firm to provide a quick solution. These firms play a crucial role in providing strategic direction to businesses across various departments such as manufacturing, sales, and marketing, or human resources.

Consulting firms provide industry-specific personals or subject-matter experts, known as consultants, to analyze a specific problem at hand and find multiple options to provide a solution. The following are some of the ways how consultants can help a business:

  • Construct business models.
  • Assist with problem-solving.
  • Provide cost-effective solutions.
  • Predict risk and innovate products
  • Strengthen talent management processes.

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2. Types of consultancy firms and what they do

Consulting firms are present in more or less for every industry. Here are a few examples:

IT consultancy firms

IT Consulting companies help clients businesses to design and implement information technology (IT) systems and infrastructure. The objective of seeking IT consulting services is to provide guidance in simplifying various business and technology functions by introducing robust software and solutions.

Audit and Accounting consultancy firms

Audit and accounting consultancy firms help organize and manage the company’s cash flow to avoid issuing money into unfavorable ventures. They also conduct regular audits annually to investigate all financial aspects of a company’s business. Also, these firms advise on tax obligations, the implications of new tax legislation, and tax mitigation strategies.

Engineering consultancy firms

Engineering consultancy firms provide engineering services and expertise to companies in need of a specialized skill-set. Generally, they have experienced engineers to provide short-term technical advice for a fee. These firms have expertise across many sectors, including civil engineering, rail, telecommunications, energy, automotive, space, and defense.

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Construction consultancy firms

Construction firms help companies construct a wide variety of buildings, developments, housing, path, pavement, roads, motorways, and other types of construction projects. They offer extensive analysis of the environmental factors to ensure that the structure is durable, sustainable, and functional.

Law firms

A few experienced lawyers come together and form a law firm to engage in the practice of law. Law firm consultants advise clients about their legal rights and responsibilities. These consultants even represent clients in civil or criminal cases, business transactions, and other matters in which legal advice is sought.

Now that we know the different consultancy types and functions, let’s understand how resource scheduling is necessary for consultancy firms.

3. How is resource scheduling different for consultancy firms?

Most consultancy projects are of short duration, and clients are billed on an hourly basis. Thus, the managers need to keep track of every resource and where they are spending their time. Otherwise, it will result in poor resource utilization.

For example, let’s assume a client hired a lawyer for a specific purpose. As per the agreement, the lawyer would work for 3 hours on the project. Now another client booked the same lawyer for a much larger project with a demand of 6 hours per day.

Now, the lawyer hired for the two projects spends much of his/her time on the larger project and does not provide attention to the smaller project. It results in poor utilization and client dissatisfaction. Moreover, it leads to poor productivity, and the firm loses its money and reputation.

A resource scheduling solution enables you to track resource utilization and optimize resources as per requirement. It also lets you see all the consultants with clear visibility of their skills, location, availability, cost, and other relevant information for competent resource allocation.

Benefits of resource scheduling

4. Significance of resource scheduling for consultancy firms

Consulting firms cater to multiple clients at once. They need to have transparency on their resource profiles, project demands, and more. This is why resource scheduling is critical.

A resource scheduling solution provides data-driven foresight into various resource metrics like resource availability, capacity vs. demand gap, utilization, and more. Based on this, managers can implement the proper resourcing measures and eliminate potential project challenges.

Besides, it shaves off large amounts of time wasted collecting, analyzing, and presenting the data. It reduces the stress that managers experience in dealing with large amounts of information that can often become confusing.

It also improves the overall communication of the company’s consulting staff by presenting resource plans and data in a way that is simple yet powerful to understand.

5. Benefits of resource scheduling solution for consultancy firms

Here is a rundown of the top benefits of a resource scheduling solution for a consultancy firm:

Gain complete visibility across the organization

As mentioned before, a consultancy firm may have competencies spanning numerous countries. Based on that, resources can have multiple reporting lines. For multidimensional scheduling capabilities, firms need overall visibility across the enterprise.

Resource scheduling solution integrates all resource-related information on a centralized system. It keeps one informed of all allocations and availabilities and manages the whole process effortlessly. Also, it captures the updates when employees take a vacation, family leaves, or public holidays.

Moreover, 360-degree visibility helps to identify and leverage cost-effective global resources across boundaries. You can access every data, be it project-related or non-project-related.

Deploy right resources to right tasks

As every resource data is available on a single platform, one can assign competent resources to practical tasks. You can find the right resource using advanced filters such as skills, qualifications, experience, location, availability, cost rate, and so on.

Moreover, it maintains real-time competency information to match skill set proficiency with the right task. Employees can even update their competencies themselves, and supervisors can validate the authenticity of the same.

You can distribute resources based on the requirement of the projects. Resource scheduling enables you to replace high-cost local resources with low-cost global resources. That way, you can facilitate the best resource allocation for maximum profitability.

Importance of resource allocation in project management

Maximize billable and strategic utilization

Consultants charge their rates on an hourly basis. Thus, billable utilization is a critical KPI for a consultancy firm to ensure profitability and sustainability.

A resource scheduling solution can help track resource utilization. Managers can get a comprehensive view of the actual number of hours logged in by the employees against the planned ones. If there is an anomaly, they can take remedial measures to control the situation.

Furthermore, it can forecast billable and strategic utilization of the workforce ahead of time. You can also compare the actual utilization rates against forecasted ones and take remedial actions such as mobilizing resources from non-billable to billable work.

Moreover, resources can view their utilization and increase their productivity accordingly. The resource heatmaps provide them with a glimpse of their usage. Also, stakeholders can view utilization rates and make data-driven decisions to improve the organization’s health index.

Deliver projects within the deadline

Assigning the right person with the right skills is crucial for a project to finish within budgeted time without disrupting the quality. A resource scheduling solution lets you foresee the project demand. So, with enterprise-wide visibility, you have the chance to allocate a competent resource at the right time, ensuring timely delivery.

A resource scheduling software negates the chances of allocating under or overqualified resources on tasks. Underqualified resources feel frustrated and often delay delivery timelines. On the other hand, overqualified resources experience boredom and feel deprived. In both cases, employee engagement and, subsequently, productivity are adversely affected, resulting in project overruns.

The centralized solution enables managers to consider the employee’s skills and interests before task allocation. It maximizes the chances of successful delivery within the duration.

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Optimize resources through leveling and smoothing

In a consultancy firm, you are unlikely to have resources all the time. But it would help if you made adjustments to cater to the numerous client demands. The client requirements also can change suddenly.

A resource scheduling solution can help you optimize resources based on the needs. For instance, when a project has a specific deadline, you can exercise resource smoothing. By assessing the resources’ workload, you will be able to know if they are overutilized. This way, you can redistribute their workload or pull in additional resources to balance it out.

Otherwise, if the project deadlines are flexible, you have the liberty to move around the timeline to match the resources’ schedule. That way, you can level the work as per the resources’ schedules and guarantee optimal utilization.

Minimize project costs with real-time reports

A dynamic resource scheduling solution can track critical financial indicators for a project, like resourcing cost, revenue, profit margins, and overheads. You can take control of project costs ahead of time with forecasted cost reports, forecast vs. actual utilization reports, and so on. Also, you can assess current financial conditions and take corrective actions.

By implementing a resource scheduling solution, managers can drastically reduce project costs. Here’s how:

  • Eliminate under/over skilled resources on projects and reduce excess cost.
  • Utilize cost-effective global resources without compromising quality.
  • Reduce unplanned attrition with corrective schedules.
  • Improve productivity by multi skill-building through job rotation strategy
  • Minimize last-minute hiring costs with visibility into pipeline project demands

Frequent hiring/firing creates a negative image for the organization. It takes up a lot of money and also affects the existing employees’ morale. Forecasting enables proactive smoothening of project workload and reskilling employees. That way, you are saved from making last-minute hiring/firing decisions.

Importance of resource scheduling for project Managers

6. Conclusion

Resource scheduling system can enhance the productivity of the consultancy firm’s resources through effective allocation. It helps in improving billable and effective resource utilization for the profitability and sustainability of these firms. Moreover, it helps in the successful delivery of projects, thereby enhancing client satisfaction and market reputation.

7. SAVIOM Solution

SAVIOM has over 20 years of experience helping multinational clients manage their resources efficiently and effectively. With over 20 years of experience, this Australian-based MNC has a global presence across 50 countries and has helped 100+ clients meet their specific business goals. Saviom also provides tools for project portfolio management, professional service automation, and workforce planning software. So, SAVIOM can help your business to establish an efficient system geared towards your specific business challenges.

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