A workflow consultant is a professional who provides advice to companies on how to improve their operations. These consultants may visit the office, plant or manufacturing area and examine the processes of production and operation. After they've gathered this information, they evaluate the overall efficiency of the company and how it may improve. Once they've compiled all data, the workflow consultant can present it to the management or owners of the company and advise them of ways to improve the workflow and reduce costs.
While there is generally no specific degree offered for this occupation, a management or business degree may be helpful. If a student intends on directing her consulting toward one specific type of business, it is generally a good idea to have an educational background and/or experience within that particular industry. It is common for a workflow consultant to specialize in only one or two business types and not take a generalized approach.
A workflow consultant will typically need to have good spatial management skills. The ability to envision how an area should be set up for better production is normally very helpful. Organizational skills are also generally useful, as the consultant will be helping a company with its organization. Along with obvious skills, these professionals also commonly have a creative side, which allows them to think of solutions others had not. A workflow consultant may be able to pinpoint problems and solutions that were not already evident to the business management.
Consultants may work for a consulting firm or on a freelance basis. Normal hours, especially if freelance consultants are involved, are generally determined by the number of clients and their needs. Some clients will be in a hurry to improve their costs and profits, and the workflow consultant may be rushed or work long hours to meet deadlines. Others may only be looking for ways to perform business more efficiently, allowing the consultant a more relaxed schedule.
This profession is generally a lucrative one, and income normally increases as the consultant gains experience and time in the business. Freelance workflow consultants have the ability to charge the fees they wish, but it is generally recommended that they stay within their local market rates to remain competitive. Once a consultant's reputation in her area begins to grow, she may be able to charge fees higher than competitors'.
As businesses continue to look for ways to increase production and efficiency and reduce costs, the need for workflow consultants will most likely increase. It is a skilled profession that may be directed at any area of industry. Consultants typically have the luxury of some job security knowing that as long as companies exist, they may need workflow consultants.