Even though Maria Chen is seemingly the focal point of the case, she in fact just serves as a proxy to the bigger issues that were present during the engagement.
The Deloitte team was made up of five members. Two senior leads of the group, David Hendry, and Annette Wattley-Davis, had extensive experience both with the Consulting Company and the automotive industry. Given the complexity of the project, and especially the urge for delivering concrete quantifiable results within relatively short 12 week engagement, it seemed as a sound strategic decision to enforce the consulting team with these high-profile experienced employees.
The other three members, Ben Rohan, Maria Chen and Ramesh Patel, were the most critical part of the engagement. Of this group only one, Rohan, was a senior consultant with extensive prior experience in procurement and manufacturing. He also had been on three different engagements while with Deloitte. On the other hand, Maria and Ramesh did not have enough relevant experience, especially in client-facing situations.
The three team members were supposed to do all the actual legwork in interacting with the client on daily basis, collecting and analyzing data, finding, presenting, and helping with the implementation of the solution to the client’s inventory problems. It is obvious that their outstanding academic credentials and technical skills were a great asset for the team, and given the right guidance from the senior managers they were capable of tackling the problem at hand.
However, this did not happen. David Hendry was only nominally involved with the project and provided a very high-level oversight for the engagement. Due to his other very demanding responsibilities as a partner at Deloitte he was not physically present at the engagement, except for the milestone meetings with the client.
Annette Wattley-Davis was the one to lead the...