Q&A: Why work with a polymer consultant?

Q&A: Why work with a polymer consultant?

When expert knowledge is required, contacting a consultant can be a very cost and time efficient option. Whether you are in the early stages of developing a product, need advice about a potential new market, or require an expert witness’s opinion in a legal dispute, consultancy can offer instant access to experienced external help.

What is a consultant?

A consultant is someone who practices in a specific field and, having built up vital experience over a number of years, is able to provide independent advice and guidance. They will usually have worked across a range of industry sectors and are therefore able to bring new ideas, best practices and a fresh perspective to any given project.

Consultants are there to provide a high level of expertise in these instances, assisting businesses achieve their goals by problem solving and providing direction.

What are the benefits of working with a consultant?

The benefits of working with a consultant can be significant, from reduced lead time and risk, to gaining valuable input for projects, consultants can step in to play a vital role in a fast paced, high pressured environment.

One of the main reasons people employ an external consultant is to obtain an independent expert opinion on the project at hand. Consultants have the ability to bring industry knowledge on technologies and materials that may previously have been unknown to the project team. Consultants are able to bridge the gaps in an organization’s skills, understanding and processes. 

The expense of a consultant is always something that is considered before a hiring decision is made. Many believe the initial outlay may not be worth the expense. However, when you consider that a consultant can provide access to levels of expertise that wouldn’t be financially feasible to retain in-house on a long-term basis, the cost of hiring a consultant is far outweighed by what a company will receive in return.

What problems would a consultant be able to help with?

From product conception, through to design and production processes and into product distribution, a consultant can offer practical advice, vital guidance and meticulous direction. They can provide practical solutions on issues that clients have little experience in an efficient diagnosis and resolution of faults and failures.

Other problems consultants can assist with include:

  • Improving manufacturing production efficiency
  • Cost downs of components and products
  • Regulatory compliance and qualification in industry areas such as medical devices, automotive and aerospace
  • Design to prevent failure
  • Materials selection and specification
  • Maximizing/predicting service life
  • Creating or modifying polymer material formulations and advising on raw material manufacture
  • Meeting the requirements of regulations for industries like medical and packaging
  • Supporting companies with requirements for automotive component homologation
  • Updating or implementing quality and environmental management systems, especially for plastic and rubber related industries.

What are the most important attributes for a consultant?

Hiring a consultant that doesn’t fit with your team is unlikely to be effective. It’s important that your consultant understands your business and knows what you’re trying to achieve, while having experience specific to your requirements. They must be good communicators, have a positive, problem solving attitude and be extremely thorough in their approach.

You’re looking for an extension of your team. Someone who can be confident in their opinion and expertise. Someone who is not afraid to share their point of view, even if it may differ from the rest of the team.

That is why you hire a consultant, for their ability to draw from previous experiences and apply that to the current situation. To ensure a project runs smoothly, has no unforeseen costs or legal issues and is successfully completed on time, a consultant is often an essential appointment.

Find out more about the technical consulting of polymer materials that Smithers provides.