Many of you may not be aware that the very first tram service to run in NSW was established in the late 1800s for the International Expo held in Sydney and was used to commute visitors from Sydney station (now Redfern) to the Exhibition Centre in the Crystal Palace on Macquarie Street near Bent Street.  The service consisted of steam tram engines towing one or two passenger coaches and with the largest and most powerful form of street transport then seen in this country.  It was for that reason that the new trams were given the name “Juggernauts”.

Interestingly today we have been made aware of the fact that there is now a significant dispute between the Government and the head contractor with the amount in dispute being somewhere in the vicinity of $1.2 billion.  As is classically the case in this country the issue is engulfed in political warfare over endeavouring to determine who should be blamed and thus whose scalp may be collected.

Problems are not new to this State, in fact many years ago during the construction of the Sydney Opera House a major dispute arose as to the practicalities of both its design and its structural completion.  Whilst much was played out in the media of the day the designer left Australia and the State Government pull together a team of engineers from both State and Federal Government agencies to form a singular body that was to oversee the expedient completion of Sydney’s new and soon to be cherished Opera House.  These engineers were at the time existing employees of governmental departments, I know, because my father was one of them.

Today as many of you are aware there has been, over recent years, a steady increase in the quantum of and value spent on external consultants.  What should be of greatest concern to those who are in business is not really knowing which political scalp should be taken, but rather which consultants failed!  It appears that their expertise has seriously missed the mark. These deficiencies have now left this contract in such disarray, that there are now many businesses suffering inexplicably in the path of extended completion delays, dust, and confusion. Each business regrettably with insolvency ever looming as a reality on the horizon.

Regrettably these days there are many who are focused on the ‘sale of the opportunity’, ‘the obtaining of the right to bill’, and far less on the technical capacity and true strength or weakness of their own operations to deliver what not only is being asked but which a true professional should reasonably predict as possible difficulties that may arise.  Too often those buying services will not properly focus on the issues that are truly the crux of the problem at hand, but more on the pomp, pizzazz, or merely, a name as the necessary credence that someone can do the job.

This became so obviously the case recently in looking at the circumstances of a very distressed client where almost $0.5 million was invested in a consultant who was full of “promises of things to come”.  Predictably when the crunch finally came the consultant failed to deliver.  Circumstances like this are particularly evident when people are facing financial distress; this should simply not happen when you have sufficient funds to ensure that a proper review can be conducted.

Choose consultants wisely, and ensure that you properly consider their skills, experience, reputation and most importantly their ability to think of things or see things that others have ignored. Failure to do so will simply mean that you had not in fact employed a consultant, rather a juggernaut that will flatten you as it bulldozes through any planned future you may have.

Always act with caution and preciseness.