Earlier in the month a small -- in the scheme of things -- but important sourcing and supply chain consulting merger happened across the pond in Europe. According to Procurement Leaders' coverage of the BrainNet and SMG (Supply Management Group) merger, "The consolidated company will employ 220 members of staff around the world and have a turnover of €30 million. The BrainNet Supply Management Group will operate from ten offices spread throughout the world's key procurement markets." I look at this deal as continued proof that there is a rising role for boutique firms in the Spend Management world -- let alone the consulting universe in general. An annual 30 million euro turnover is impressive indeed. Granted, while it is still a fraction of the sourcing and operations practices at firms like AT Kearney and McKinsey, it's a significant amount of revenue nonetheless. In the US, boutique firms such as Archstone, Censeo Consulting, The Claro Group, Denali, Palladin Associates, Source One and Tenzing Consulting continue to thrive alongside bigger name rivals. In general, the advantage of boutiques are not lower costs -- in some cases, there is a cost advantage over larger firms, but not always -- but expertise and focus. In addition, boutique firms tend to have less of a pyramid structure with greater involvement of partners and senior managers in day-to-day client and project management.
- Jason Busch