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Frequently Asked Questions
How do we start?  Our typical process starts with a phone call, followed up by an initial meeting if appropriate.  During this initial consultation, which will last from ½ to one day, we work with senior management to specify their major concerns with respect to meeting financial (i.e., growth, profitability), and customer expectations, and review key performance metrics (trends) related to these expectations. 

We also review the key priorities and initiatives the company has undertaken in its major functional areas (i.e., Sales & marketing, Operations & supply chain, Technical, Organization), the investment in time and resources, and how those investments support the business strategy.  Finally, we try to understand the organizational and resource constraints that prevent the Company from meeting their expectations.

If, at the end of this meeting, Management wishes to retain our service, GordianKnot will prepare a consulting proposal that details scope of work, analyses to be carried out, time required, and deliverables.

Cost of Initial Consultation: Reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses with no mark-up.

What is the process for General Business Consulting?  During a general business consulting engagement, GordianKnot carries out a detailed, “tops-down” analysis of the areas of concern identified in the initial consultation.  Depending on the issues of concern, the consulting phase could include a number of different analyses for the business unit including:

  • Financial analysis – Macro characterization:
  • Market segmentation analysis;
  • Customers and products/services segmentation (Pareto analysis);
  • Cost structure analysis;
  • Supply chain structure and cost;
  • Processes and Systems;
  • Organization Structure analysis

The proposal for the engagement will specifically detail the tasks involved, and the time expected for each task.  Gordian Knot will be very flexible in working with the client to prepare an engagement process that meets the specific needs of the customer.  In many cases this may involve one to three phases with review points at the end of a phase.  Depending on the complexity, the consulting phase is generally completed over a 2-4 week time frame. It consists of a series of interviews with key managers, follow-up discussions as needed and analysis using GordianKnot analytical tools. GordianKnot also provides to the client both summary data and the detailed data that supports the analyses.

The consulting engagement deliverables consist of a review meeting with senior management to discuss the analysis and recommendations, a report detailing the results of the analysis, and recommendations that are practical, real world, and implementable.

What is the GordianKnot process for Supply Chain consulting?  The approach for a Supply Chain consulting engagement is similar to general business consulting; however, the analysis is more narrowly focused on the structure and cost of the supply chain and products/services.  The engagement will include an analysis of the Business unit objectives, the make-buy structure, in-house and supplier cost structure, product mix, process flow, and systems. From this analysis, GordianKnot will identify specific changes to the supply chain that can significantly improve the operating and financial performance of the business unit.  These recommendations may include systems improvements, supplier changes or consolidations, material re-sourcing, or domestic or offshore outsourcing.

In the situation where outsourcing is applicable, GordianKnot will work with the Client to develop a customized Outsourcing Plan that provides realistic and attainable benefits and timelines for implementation, and matches the Client with pre-screened and qualified outsourcing partners with the required process capability, capacity, and systems.

As a result of this process, GordianKnot can assist the customer to mitigate or eliminate the most common outsourcing problems, including focus on solving the wrong problem, supply disruption, unrealized cost savings, and disillusionment with outsourcing partners due to unrealistic expectations.

What about Implementation?  The GordianKnot principals understand that successful implementation of change is the ultimate objective of a consulting engagement, not a consulting report.  We also understand how important it is that your employees accept the need for change, and willingly help create and take ownership of the implementation process.

GordianKnot will help assemble a cross-functional Solution Delivery Team consisting of Client managers and employees that are most impacted by the contemplated changes and have demonstrated leadership ability.  The client staff provides the visible leadership and deep company experience. The GordianKnot role is behind the scenes; acting as experienced advisor, change agent, coach, strategist, analyst and hands on implementer based on what is needed for the Solution Delivery Team to deliver success.

Our role is to help develop the Plan with specific timelines and tasks, keep all Team members apprised of progress and problems encountered, and keep the team members on track by any and all means.

How much does the Phase I engagement cost?  The costs depend on the scope and duration of the work. Our professional fees range from $2,500 to $3,000 per day depending on the resource and nature of the work. We charge for out of pocket expenses at our cost and without any markups.

How do I contact GordianKnot? The best way to reach us is via phone or email. We are based in Palo Alto, CA (San Franciso Bay area) and in Dallas, TX.  Feel free to contact Robert Benson at 650-520-1060, or Chris Dietemann at 214-282-5828, if you would like to discuss your issues and how we may be able to help. (See  " Contact Us " for further details, maps and directions.)

What is the origin of the GordianKnot name? Our name "GordianKnot"  is a metaphor for an intractable problem, solved by a bold stroke ("cutting the Gordian knot").  The myth notes that the Gordian Knot, tied by Gordias (King ofPhrygia, a small kingdom in Asia Minor) was held to be capable of being untied only by the future ruler of Asia.  Many people tried to untie the knot and failed.  Alexander attempted to untie the knot. When he could find no end to the knot, to unbind it, he sliced it in half with a stroke of his sword, producing the required ends

This is a metaphor for the approach that Gordian Knot brings to intractable business problems.  We will cut to the heart of the problem and with bold strokes produce the required solution.


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