(Source: Witzel, M. (2016) Management Consultancy, Routledge.)

Kassel Dieselmotoren is a maker of diesel engines based in the German city of Kassel, in the state of Hesse. The company makes diesel engines for a variety of purposes including marine engines, for the German market and also exports to Poland, Hungary and several other countries in central and eastern Europe. Last year it had a turnover of €440 million, but profits had slipped to just €5 million and the company’s private shareholders are alarmed. Your consultancy firm was called in to advise on a turnaround strategy.

The engagement went smoothly. An expert project team was assembled, complemented by two young managers from the client side. Data were quickly gathered and analysed, and the team working together came up with three recommendations to present to the final meeting of the board:

1.      strong investment in an increased sales and marketing presence in Eastern Europe in an effort to boost sales.

  • a move into Scandinavia, where there is believed to be significant market demand, also with a strong investment in sales and marketing to establish the brand there.

3.      cost reductions including several hundred redundancies at Kessel’s German

operations so as to improve margins.

The two managers from Kassel agreed that they would make a preliminary presentation to the CEO and report any feedback. No feedback was received, so the engagement manager assumed that the CEO was happy and no amendments were needed.

The day of the presentation came, and the team presented their findings to the assembled directors. After the presentation was over the board sat in silence. The CEO,

Please answer the following questions in an academic essay format.

  1. What steps could the consulting team have taken to avoid this situation and deliver a better outcome for the client? Please consider the key elements of a consulting process and building adequate client-consultant relationship. Make sure you demonstrate your knowledge on the concepts from the class, think the current situation critically against the concepts, and develop sound arguments based on literature review (not limited to academic research paper but can include industry reports, newspapers, etc.)
  2. Suppose that the consulting team managed to repair the relationship with the customer. The customer requested adding one more thing in the next presentation. The customer said “You know, we are a diesel engine maker, and we are under quite some pressure with all green energy initiatives especially with our car maker customers. We are being asked to provide evidence to show individual car consumers are still interested in cars with a diesel engine. Our car maker customers are especially interested in understanding individual consumers using a machine learning technique. Could you propose one? How reliable would it be?” Develop your solution using your choice of a machine learning technique. Make sure you demonstrate your knowledge on the proposed method and its applications in similar contexts and develop sound arguments on the values that your proposed solution can deliver. Don’t forget to think about limitations of your method.

Machine learning technique =  (How can it create value)

  • Regression
  • Sentimental analysis
  • Artificial neural network

The mark will reflect your understanding and ability to use and apply the concepts covered in the class and academic readings. Higher marks will be given to essays that apply the ideas provided in the literature to the situation you are analysing, rather than just reviewing or describing the ideas in the original papers.

Please note that marks will be awarded for a direct answer to each question, so avoid general or too broad coverage of topics. Please also use good signposting to indicate the purpose of each section. Be aware that all essays will be checked against plagiarism; so be careful to cite your sources properly.

Please consider the below suggested structure

  1. Introduction

What is the situation? What will you write about in your essay?

  • Literature Review

What does the literature say related to a topic? (e.g., consulting framework, problem solving toolkit, machine learning use in a specific domain in business, etc.) Avoid simply listing prior literature. Use relevant literature which can help your analysis. Use adequate sectioning and avoid a long paragraph to best discuss existing knowledge from the literature.

  • Critical Analysis and Suggestions

Compare and contrast the situation against the concepts and ideas that you found from your literature review. Add your own critical evaluations and formulate suggestions.

  • Conclusion

A summary of your key analysis results and suggestions.

Relevant Concepts

Recommended Reading:
– Witzel, M. 2016. “Management consultancy,” Routledge
– Garrette, B., Phelps, C., and Sibony, O. 2018. “Cracked it! How to solve big problems and sell solutions like top strategy consultants,” Palgrave Macmillan.

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