Vic is a highly experienced consultant who also held operational CFO and CIO roles in Fortune 1000 global firms. He has been called into complex growth or over-leveraged situations to accelerate performance, and to restore operational and financial stability in various industries.
He has worked extensively with company leadership providing strategic advice, analytical insights and “sprint” solutions, organisational design, cost optimisation, working capital improvements, performance management, budgets/forecasts for executive management and board members.
Highly accomplished in digital finance - helping the office of the CFO create insights from the increasing volumes of data flowing across the enterprise, Vic has deployed technology enabled, performance and financial management solutions in organisations leading to rapid return on investment.
We interviewed Vic to learn more about his commercial experience and achievements throughout his career.
Most recent project:
My most recent project involved helping a private equity portfolio company streamline its contract manufacturing process and improve its working capital structure. The nature of the programme was complex, we were dealing with over 4,000 suppliers with sub-assembly and manufacturing in 3 different Asian locations and one Canadian plant. The complex nature of the transactions, quality control, supply sources and cost and delivery times over water, were just some of the issues that the client was seeking assistance with. Customers were notoriously fickle as the product suite was highly commoditised with a distribution channel that was not loyal. We were able to consolidate manufacturing into one Asian location and obtain trade terms and guarantees for two years from key suppliers. The change management that I helped construct allowed better on-time and custom manufacturing with minimal time ‘on-water.’ The forecasting design improvements to meet customer selling cycles allowed my client to reduce its order-to-cash by 10 days, its procure-to-pay improved by 5 days with a commensurate decrease on its bank revolver dependency to fund working capital.
What makes a project successful?
A successful consulting project starts even before the ink on the contract has dried. The relationship begins with a level of trust established by good references, a demonstration of an understanding of the client’s needs, very good listening skills and a facility for language that is not typical consultant-ese. Clients like to know that you have the background in what you are about to deliver but more importantly, that you understand their particular situation, stage of evolution and culture, quickly. Then scoping the engagement correctly, setting the right expectations, being flexible and finally meeting and exceeding certain aspects of the project are all necessary for a successful project.
Most significant accomplishment:
I worked as a consultant for a services company who was entirely focused on growth; processes, systems, people were all secondary. Sales led the company which held itself out as being an operationally effective firm. People were working feverishly to support the sales cycle and had little concern over cash management, employee burnout, supplier retention or services delivery. The company suddenly faced competition from a splinter group of its own employees and did not react quickly leading to a downturn. I came onboard for a multi-pronged rescue of their business. We (my team of 6 and I) embarked on stabilising the cash hemorrhaging by instituting strict cash controls, worked at the procure-to-pay cycle by whittling down suppliers, regional favorites, and a supplier portal. We improved order to cash by 30+ days which was nothing short of herculean and dramatic. We streamlined the entire finance team to focus on operational excellence supporting business and achieve accolades. The final accomplishment was that we worked with sales, finance, operations to close a large government contract to prove the programme manager playbook we had designed!
Best bits of being a consultant?
Working at many firms with many situations and cultures is very interesting and there is never a dull moment. Being able to insert yourself into a process, seamlessly and provide value is an art-form that I enjoy and it takes a tremendous amount of experience to do it well. The travel is okay, but the more important rush is seeing the value of your work take hold in a relatively short amount of time. When you have enabled your client to achieve the impossible, made heroes and heroines of your client partners and maybe, just maybe, be referred to as a trusted advisor, well that my friends is the ticket! After 25+ years of professional services work, that still drives me to excel every day.
Why work with an independent consultant?
Consultants have typically worked at a number of different clients and bring a unique perspective that is valuable to any company; i.e. the external perspective that is so important to better solution building. Given this multifaceted experience set, we bring new and innovative ideas, insights or possible challenges that help clients look “around corners”. Also, consultants often serve as temporary, highly skilled employees augmenting gaps in our client’s talent roster. We stay above office politics, are resilient and quick learners and onboarding us is easier. Finally, and most importantly, companies hire consultants to gain access to specific talent that might not exist internally. By engaging us, our client’s get access to a group of professionals that have a wide skills base, are often experienced consultants from larger professional services firms and possess tool-kits that client employees tend not to have well organised. The combination of short, targeted and effective, lasting solutions delivery is difficult to pull off internally.
If you are interested in Vic Datta’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.