Outsourcing may be picking up pace on the continent but it’s still got some way to go, if an anecdote that reaches me from la belle France is anything to go by. A pair of consultants from one of the usual big players (yawn) was on site at an engineering firm which has commissioned their organisation to look at possible transformations and efficiency programmes. Apparently nothing is off the table – assuming compliance with France’s notorious employment legislation of course – and in fact the top brass at the client company have encouraged the consultancy to think very radically as they seek to steal a march on their competitors.
Unfortunately for our consultants the aforementioned top brass had omitted to discuss this with the management of the plant being visited; when the advisors introduced themselves and explained the purpose of their visit they were treated to an increasingly terrifying tirade from the site boss, who then summoned some of his team to join him in pouring invective upon the heads of the hapless consultants who were accused of, among other things, coming to take everyone’s jobs away and “industrial treason” (neither of the two in question are French, it should be noted). This ugly scene culminated in both being frogmarched off the premises to the jeers and hisses of various employees. Their thoughts when they were informed a few days later that the situation had been cleared up and they were to return to the plant are unfortunately not fit for publication here, though my source tells me that their second visit passed frostily, and without incident – other than the letting-down of the tyres on their hire car at some point during the afternoon.