“We needed this urgently and Colin turned it around very quickly for us. I would have no hesitation in recommending him for this type of work”

From Dr Sharon Clark,

QBI/HSE Director

Chemring Energetics UK Ltd

(Chemring is a global business that specialises in the manufacture of high technology products and services to the aerospace, defence and security markets )

“Colin was quickly able to outline how he would satisfy our requirements and went on to produce a very professional, concise and easily understood statistics-based report. We needed this urgently and Colin turned it around very quickly for us. I would have no hesitation in recommending him for this type of work”

Practical Statistical Process Control

Practical Process Control Book

The tools and technique used in Statistical Process Control have been used around the world to monitor and measure process variation and allow real positive changes to be made.

The majority of engineers and scientists have had some exposure to this important technique but in many cases this has been badly taught and they fail to see the usefulness of it properly applied.

This book has been written with the authors 30 years experience in practical Statistical Process Control and is aimed squarely at practising engineers and scientists rather than statisticians and mathematicians.

Practical Statistical Process Control takes a graphical approach using a software tool called Minitab.

The author concentrates on each step of using the technique with explanations along the way of each decision point.

Readers will find this guide both practical and useful, with copious screenshots of the software in use and clear precise explanations. The emphasis is on understanding the technique and being able to use it in real world applications.

Key points:

* Provides tools and techniques for practical business and process improvement.

* Introduces screenshots and explanations for each step of SPC including the importance of assessing the measurement system and constructing control charts.

* A worked example, using Minitab sample data with clear explanations of the variables and analyses.

This book will be extremely useful to engineers and scientists who want to solve quality, process and manufacturing problems quickly and easily.

8 Reasons Why You Should Consider Using Business Consultants

The Use of Business Consultants

The Use of Business Consultants

Many businesses, particularly those companies with many employees, fight shy of using business consultants and consultancy services generally. In reality this may be short sighted and I want to look at 8 reasons why it can make sense to use a consultant.


business independence

If you are a company of any size then you’ll have a large number of employees. Each one of these will come with their own view of what the problems and issues are within the company and many will not hold back in voicing that opinion.

The problem here is that being employed within the company will mean that they may have an axe to grind and have specific personal motives for a course of action.

A good consultant will be completely independent and will not be swayed or influenced by internal politics and opinions. The best ones will use data that they have verified in order to make decisions and recommendations.

Experience and Skill in Resolving Business Problems

business consultants

Most good consultants have experience in a wide range of businesses and industries. This will give them a view of business issues and problems that is simply not available from employees and staff internal to a business unit. They will be able to dissect a problem quickly and efficiently and then propose solutions that are pragmatic and measurable. You can read our skills and experience by clicking here.

Augment Existing Employees

augment existing employee

A number of companies are going through change processes and this can be painful for all those involved. There are certain senior jobs that need to be done but they don’t want to employ someone on a permanent basis and carry the employment costs. In this scenario it can make sense to use a consultant to ensure the role continues. They will be able to hit the ground running, being experienced and skilful, and also have no predetermined negativity to the changes being made.

Manage the Politics for a Major Change

reach agreement

Businesses make changes in an attempt to improve efficiency and profitability. As a result there may be redundancies or large-scale operational changes and these will inevitably be met with resistance. This resistance might come from employees, trade unions or even layers of management.

Using consultants can therefore provide a way to “sell” the required changes in a neutral way, which will take the sting out of the effect on team’s and individuals. The message might be “Consultants XYZ have examined the issues and presented their recommendations. We believe that these should be fully implemented to achieve the desired results”

Provide best practice

best practice

Many business consultants have vast knowledge and expertise in a particular function or industry. This experience often extends to many different businesses and therefore they are ideally placed to offer best practice. Sometimes the solution to a business problem has common attributes across different business sectors so the consultant’s knowledge and ability can ensure that the problem is resolved quickly and with minimum pain to the business.

Intellectual Horsepower

hardwick consultants ltd

Sometimes a company might not have the skills internally and they recognise that they have to buy the expertise, albeit on a temporary basis. You have to recognise that the larger consultancies will bring breadth of knowledge whilst the smaller consultancy will likely bring depth of knowledge.

A Different Perspective

business consultants

You may think that the solution to a problem is just “common sense” but very often common sense is not so common! In these cases a fresh pair of eyes can add lots of value, particularly since existing employees may have fallen into a daily routine that lacks objectivity and analysis.

Adding Skills to Existing Employees

teach employees

Consultants are transient by the nature of the job. In many cases they can train and develop existing employees so that when they have completed their work the business can continue the improvements. Some consultants also provide mentoring for existing employees who may lack specific skills. This is particularly good value since a good consultant will spend time with the employee and then leave them with development tasks to discuss when they next meet.

Finding a Consultant That Meets Your Needs

find business consultant

It’s important to find the right consultant since the wrong one may do more harm than good. Consider the issues you want the consultant to address, the clearer you can make this the better your chances of finding someone who can add value to your business.

If you are not quite sure and simply want to discuss the issues in more detail then the better consultants will certainly be able and willing to have a telephone conversation or even pay a visit. You should not expect to be charged for this since it’s normal business development activity for them. You can request a free telephone consultation by clicking here.

Once this initial meeting has taken place you will have a much better idea if they can help you and also if they have a personality and demeanour that will work in your organisation. Don’t be afraid to talk to a few consultants, firstly over the phone and then, for the ones that seem to be a good fit, invite them into your business for a more in depth discussion.

If you know of someone that has used a consultant recently and is willing to recommend them then take a good look since this is an excellent way of finding someone to help.

Failing a personal recommendation, try a Google search that accurately describes what you are looking for in simple terms. As an example you may want someone to look at your global supply chain so use this as a search term – “global supply chain consultant” and see what you find.

google search

Another useful way is to look on the various consultant body websites:

The Institute of Consulting


Chartered Institute of Management Consultants


You’ll find that the right consultant will focus on value. Yes, the fees sometimes appear high when compared with staff salaries but remember that you are paying for knowledge, skills and, most importantly, the ability to make a real and measurable difference by taking action.

“His knowledge and experience is second to none and his style is pragmatic and direct. More importantly he gets results!”

From Dr James Routh,

Group Business Development Director at Diploma PLC

(an international group of businesses supplying specialised technical products and services)

“We regularly call on Colin and Hardwick Consultants Ltd to resolve important and urgent quality and customer issues and also to ensure that our business processes are robust. His knowledge and experience is second to none and his style is pragmatic and direct. More importantly he gets results!”

“They Produced the Desired Results………Also Had a Profound Impact on Culture”

From Russ Brown, 

President, HKX, Inc., Seattle, Washington, USA 

(The industry’s leading provider of auxiliary hydraulic kits for excavators)

Our work with Colin Hardwick of Hardwick Consultants Ltd. aimed to reduce our Customer Complaint ratios by 50% over a nine month time frame. Every functional department in the company has an impact on customer satisfaction so existing processes had to be examined in detail to determine the root cause of customer complaints. Future performance objectives were developed and Improvement Teams were formed and trained in structured improvement tools and techniques.

Not only did Hardwick Consultants help us to achieve our goals, but they also assisted in improvements to our Sales and Engineering processes which has resulted in enhanced customer satisfaction and profitability improvement for our company.

What we most appreciated about working with Colin and Hardwick Consultants was the fact that they produced the desired results but also had a profound impact on the culture at our company”

“Highly Recommended and We Have Been Delighted By Your Work”

From Rob Machray,

Engineering Director, Nuvia Ltd

(programme management, consultancy and radiological protection services to commercial clients, government bodies and international agencies)

“This is a short note to thank you for the excellent work you have completed recently for Nuvia Ltd in the field of nuclear quality systems. You took the initial work we had completed on our quality journey and moved process mapping and standard improvement teams forward in the business. Your approach was inclusive, professional, measured but firm and decisive. As such, you were able to help the management team take our team forward towards their quality improvement objectives this year. As is the case with these aspects – and our aim – the Nuvia team have now adopted these systems and are proceeding with improving them.

I expect we will work together again, you came highly recommended and we have been delighted by your work. Thank you.

Please feel free to use this feedback as an endorsement and the next time we need some professional quality support, a call to you will be at the top of our list”

Rob Machray

consulting testimonial from Nuvia Ltd

“skilled at taking on board the needs of the client and tailoring solutions accordingly”

From Andy Gordon

Safety and Assurance Director – Nuclear Rolls-Royce

(world-leader in nuclear submarine systems and support services incorporating design, procurement and operation)

“Colin can be relied upon to provide well informed and pragmatic solutions to a wide range of problems. He is skilled at taking on board the needs of the client and tailoring solutions accordingly”

Management Consultancy Supporting Key Pillars of Economic Growth

Despite the economic gloom still prevalent in the UK, latest reports show that the UK Management Consulting sector has outpaced the wider economy during the last two years. Many companies are turning to management consultants to assist them in their recovery and growth aspirations.

Levels of optimism amongst management consultants have increased dramatically, with around 63% of all firms feeling positive about the health of the industry and future prospects.

The Management Consultancies Association (MCA) Industry Insight Centre said that management consultants have been “supporting key pillars of growth and helping rebalance the economy”

Skills shortages have become evident, particularly in the digital economy. Graduates able to write code and programme are in short supply and this is having an impact on digital consultancies.

Alan Leaman, CEO of the MCA said:

“Growth now looks set to continue. Interviewees report strong order books and pipeline growth. Of course, there are still significant issues. One interviewee observed that it is taking longer for some clients to authorise projects than before 2008, with CFOs and other internal governance actors heavily involved in sign off.”

Demand for consultants in the public sector is also starting to rise. The governments new buying framework, called “ConsultancyOne”, appears to be slow off the mark with few niche, emergent and specialist consultancies reporting that they have secured work through the framework.

Alan Leaman continued:

“The MCA has contributed to the development of the ConsultancyOne buying framework. It is vital that it starts to gain momentum – both to ensure best practice, but also so government gains access to a wider range of skills and expertise from specialist consulting firms.”

Read more here

The consultancies profession is also seeing skills shortages and is responding in a number of ways including starting to recruit apprentices. Existing employees are also experiencing more opportunities for training and development as firms seek to retain key talent.

Terms and Conditions



Terms of Use

It is a condition of use of this site that you accept and agree to the following terms and conditions of Colin Hardwick and Hardwick Consulting. No other terms shall apply unless stated below. By continuing to use this site you agree to be bound by the following terms:



The site is controlled and operated by me from the United Kingdom and complies with, and shall be governed by the laws of England. The information contained in this site may not satisfy the laws of any other country. If you access the site from outside the United Kingdom, you do so on your own initiative. I am not responsible for compliance with any applicable local laws and any liability arising in respect of those laws. The English courts shall have exclusive jurisdiction over any dispute arising out of your use or non use of this site.



The site and all copyright in it is owned by Colin Hardwick unless otherwise stated. You may not copy, reproduce, publish, transmit, modify or distribute material from this site without prior written permission from Colin Hardwick. I can be contacted via the “Contact Me” page.



I reserve the right to alter or delete material from the site and may, at any time, revise these terms. You are bound by any such revision and I therefore recommend that you visit this page to review the current terms each time you revisit our site.


Accuracy of Information

The information contained in the web site is not comprehensive. I use reasonable efforts to include accurate and up-to-date information however, I do not warrant or represent that this site, its content, down loaded material and any linked site:

  • will be uninterrupted or error free;
  • will be accurate and that any errors will be corrected;
  • are free of any type of virus or other harmful code or compatible with any specific computer system or third party software.

I assume no responsibility for any errors or omissions in the content of the site. Information about my services are illustrative only and should not be relied upon.



Material downloaded or otherwise accessed through the use of my web pages is obtained entirely at your own risk and you will be entirely responsible for any resulting damage to software or computer systems and/or any resulting loss of data even if I have been advised of the possibility of any such damage.



This site includes links to other web sites – These are completely independent of this site and I accept no responsibility for and do not endorse or approve the content of these web sites.



To make sure my website functions correctly I use cookies.

A cookie is a small file which asks permission to be placed on your computer’s hard drive. Once you agree, the file is added and the cookie helps analyse web traffic or lets you know when you visit a particular site.

Cookies allow web applications to respond to you as an individual. The web application can tailor its operations to your needs, likes and dislikes by gathering and remembering information about your preferences.

I use traffic log cookies to identify which pages are being used. This helps me analyse data about webpage traffic and improve my website in order to tailor it to your needs. I only use this information for statistical analysis purposes (and I’m an expert!).

A cookie in no way gives me access to your computer or any information about you, other than the data you choose to share with me. You can choose to accept or decline cookies. Most web browsers automatically accept cookies, but you can usually modify your browser setting to decline cookies if you prefer. This may prevent you from taking full advantage of the website.

How to delete cookies

Please be aware that deleting cookies will impact on the functionality of this website.

This site will not use cookies to collect personally identifiable information about you. However, if you wish to restrict or block the cookies which are set by this website, or indeed any other website, you can do this through your browser settings. The Help function within your browser should tell you how.

Or you can visit www.aboutcookies.org which contains information on how to remove cookies from all the major browsers.

Cookies used within our website

This is a list of the cookies set by our website, and what each is used for.

Google Analytics – Used to understand how users navigate through this website, the service is provided by Google Inc. I then use the information gathered to compile reports to improve the functionality and user experience of this website. All information collected is anonymous.

Statpress – Used to understand the number of visitors and other trends in visitor information.



All implied warranties are excluded to the fullest extent permissible under English law. By using the site you agree not to rely on any of the information contained in it. Under no circumstances shall I, Colin Hardwick, or Hardwick Consulting be liable for any direct, incidental, special, consequential, indirect loss or damages that result from the use of the materials on the site or the materials in any web site linked to the site or any services offered on the site.

Colin Hardwick

1st July 2013

Practical Design of Experiments

Practical Design of Experiments

The tools and technique used in the Design of Experiments (DOE) have been used around the world to solve seemingly impossible problems in science and engineering.

The majority of engineers and scientists have had little exposure to this important technique and this book has been written with Colin’s 30 years experience in practical design of experiments aimed squarely at practising engineers and scientists rather than statisticians and mathematicians.

Practical Design of Experiments takes a graphical approach using a software tool called Minitab.

Colin concentrates on each step of using the technique with explanations along the way of each decision point.

Readers will find this guide both practical and useful, with copious screenshots of the software in use and clear precise explanations.
The emphasis is on quantifying the effects of a number of variables before optimising them.

Key points:

* Provides tools and techniques for practical business and process improvement.

* Introduces screenshots and explanations for each step of designing an experiment, carrying out an experiment and then analysing the results.

* A worked example, again explained step by step with advice from the author at each step.

This book will be extremely useful to engineers and scientists who want to solve quality, process and manufacturing problems quickly and easily.