During a graduation period, tests in consultancy, at Supply Value it is possible!

In February 2018, my graduation project started at Supply Value: a growing consultancy firm that combines an informal atmosphere with a strong ambition. Supply Value gave me the opportunity to combine my master thesis with a first consultancy project and receive feedback from consultants who are busy with process improvement and supply chain management on a daily basis.

This project was aimed at providing insight into barriers for a continuous improvement team at a large organization in the mobility sector. How can these barriers be removed? And should the current level be maintained by constantly coming up with new measures or is improvement still possible? Possible barriers may include strategic barriers, cultural barriers, knowledge barriers, technical barriers or market-related barriers.

From my study Business Analysis and Modeling (BAM) at Radboud University, I learned to visually map a system in which this team functions, for example, by means of a model. A team within an organization is seen as a system from this perspective. The continuous improvement team is not only influenced by factors within the company, but also by external factors such as the government or the dependence of partners in the chain.

The system boundary is determined by determining the purpose of the model. In this case, the goal was threefold: gaining insight into which barriers are experienced in the team, gaining insight into the coherence of these barriers and turning knobs determine how these barriers can disappear or decrease. The internal and external factors that exert a significant influence on (in this case) the effectiveness of the team must be included in the model. Once these factors have been mapped and no more important factors are missing, it can be said that the system boundary has been reached. Whether or not there are still factors is determined by the knowledge of the group. For this it is essential that the good people are involved in the project.

To determine the coherence of the factors, the whole is mapped by mapping out causal links step by step. In this project, this was done with the help of Group Model Building (GMB). GMB is a participative method based on the assumption that the effect of an advice, for example Supply Value, is determined by the quality of the advice and by the acceptance of the advice. If either is low, the effect will also be low. That is why the system and the barriers experienced by the improvement team are mapped out using this method in collaboration with the client by organizing two GMB workshops.

The Supply Value consultants offered me access to the right stakeholders for these workshops from their network. This ultimately led to a model that provides insight into possible barriers and how to deal with them.

After completing my thesis, I then got the chance to further develop GMB as a method. Now it is also part of the supply value proposition. This means that this method is available for clients of Supply Value.

As a result, I immediately learned more about the working method at Supply Value. And for me personally: it is a nice work-in process before I start as a consultant at Supply Value. Because that is the approach of Supply Value: graduates who grow into a role as a consultant.

Bram Stevens

Master thesis internally Supply Value

Do you also graduate and get to know the consultancy world directly? Or looking for a starter job as a trainee? Look at our vacancy page or contact Vincent Abbenhuis, v.abbenhuis@supplyvalue.nl or 06 11 03 06 25.