Operations Talent: Diego Discusses his Approach

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The appeal of using independent talent on-demand is often the willingness of the consultant to not just plan, but to quickly drive the implementation forward. When it comes to improving operations from planning to implementation, this approach is increasingly sought by Private Equity funds. We talk to Diego, who describes how connecting the people, systems and processes is a key part of delivering success to portfolio businesses.

Q. When you’re at a networking event, how do you describe your independent career status, and where you focus your work?

I define myself as like a doctor, since we have a lot of patients with different illnesses (complex problems to solve), and we need to gather quickly plenty of data and information to make a diagnosis and to decide the way to cure. It is very important to listen and understand the issues, as going fast in the wrong direction can be very inefficient.

Q. What are the specific benefits that you, as an independent, offer to the operating teams/portfolio company leadership? How do you explain the value your expertise brings?

The benefits from our work are various, but the most important is that we can quickly become operational by connecting the systems, people, and processes. We will make a clear diagnostic of the issues, and propose a solution by steps (quick wins, initiatives with great impact and less investment need, and long term project needing investments and longer pay-backs).

Q. Why do you think there is increasing demand for independent expertise with PE operating team?

The increasing demand for independent expertise is linked with the fast changes in the current business, and the need to bring experience and innovation together. The independent expertise comes as a complementary help, and not as a magical solution. It brings momentum, structure, and an original way to make progress in challenging situations where there is no time to structure a project in the traditional way.

Q. Describe a recent or successful assignment in terms of scope, duration and any particular highlights in the outcomes.

A PetFood company required improved production capacity to meet customer sales demand. As a PMO, I led a project to develop and implement process changes to improve production planning. I analysed customer requirements; developed a strategic and operational plan; defined IT development needs; devised a new production forecasting process; and implemented changes to move from weekly to daily review planning. I succeeded in aligning production with sales demand, significantly reducing inventory by 20% within 3 months, and improving stock profile to meet customer demand.

Q. What advice would you give to anyone about to embark on an independent career as to how they can provide the best results for a client, while fulfilling their own career path?

I would say that THE success factor on an independent career is to be engaged 100% as if it was when we are doing a long career in a big multinational company. The people around you will notice this, and will respect it, and they will trust and refer you as an ideal candidate for future missions.

Operations expertise with strong project management skills are the backbone of many a business, especially when firms are trying to maximise efficiencies in their portfolio companies. If you'd like to work with talent like Diego, then post a project now to start the process.

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