I worked on a 360° steel purchasing engagement for an automotive client based in Brazil. Focusing on identifying cost reduction opportunities around steel sourcing and analyzing data to understand price fluctuations, supplier quotes, and other cost levers, we were able to identify significant cost optimization on steel purchases and steel scrap for our client.

Adapting to a new-to-me culture

This was the first project I ever worked on in Brazil, which presented an opportunity and a challenge of interacting with people from a culture I didn’t have a lot of experience with and who spoke a language I didn’t speak. My ability to build trust with my client despite these cultural differences was critical to the success of the project.  ­

Fortunately, my team created a support structure that enabled me to fully contribute. For the project’s technical aspects, AlixPartners offers a library of trainings and other resources to help us consultants bolster our data analysis skills to derive actionable insights from complex data sets that drive a lot of our recommendations. I also benefited from easy access to subject matter experts from across the firm who could provide me with deep dives on everything from the steel sourcing market in South America to Brazilian policies and regulations.

But having my team help me navigate the cultural aspect of the engagement was just as important. The other members of my team had extensive experience working in Brazil, and with their guidance, I never felt out of place. At every step, I understood the client’s feedback, expectations, and needs, and I always felt confident that I was making an impact on this engagement similarly to the others that I’ve been a part of.

­Working in tandem with the client

Since we develop and implement solutions side-by-side with our clients, establishing connection and trust is critical—knowledge sharing, collaboration, and brainstorming occurs organically, and the implementation process is more seamless. Having a more engaged client almost always leads to a great result.  

This project was memorable because it was the first time I felt added pressure to establish that bond with my client counterpart. I am grateful that my team went the extra mile to make sure I could contribute at my full capacity.

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