Does anybody remember that old muffler commercial from last century? I scoured YouTube – could not find a copy of it. The gist of it was this: some guy comes driving a subcompact car into a garage because his car needs a muffler. “No problem,” the guys at the counter say, “We got you covered.” Next thing you know, the mechanic is hauling in a muffler that’s probably more suited to a Peterbilt than the 2-seater the customer drove in with. The customer asks the guy “Are you sure that you’ve got the right part? It looks huge!” And the grease monkey replies, in deadpan fashion, “Don’t worry, we’ll make it fit.” And you see his assistant carrying a sledge hammer that would put Thor to shame.

We see the same thing in our daily world, too. Customers come to us with the parts and pieces they own, asking us to integrate it all together. Their dream is to save a few bucks by possibly recycling what’s on hand. I’m not saying that the parts we’re shown are old, bad, or broken. My point is that, sometimes, even a “best in breed” item won’t get the job done right. If your goal is to reach the moon, I don’t care how amazing that lightweight, carbon-fiber canoe you have is, it’s not gonna cut it.

If you have a specific end in mind, especially if this is in an audited field such as Medicine/Health Care or Finance/Banking, find yourself a consultant who has done this sort of work before. Once you’ve got the right person, trust them to come up with a functional solution for your situation. Use their expertise and experience to help bring you across the finish line. Sure, you can always offer that you’ve got X or Y in-house, and ask if can they be sensibly used in this project. A reputable consultant will evaluate the all of the options and should report back to you whether or not they can sensibly use what you have. If they can use those existing parts, they may show that there’s additional costs if they are not the most optimal ones for the job to be done. Then you have do decide whether to spend that extra money in human labor or just get the parts that are called for.

No one person can know everything. Make sure that you’ve got a strong partner to work with, someone who dovetails your knowledge with their own. Talk often to your partner – it helps build a stronger tie between the two of you. Teach them how your business works and what laws you have to comply with. At the end of the day, the more time you invest in this relationship, the more you’ll be able to get out of it. They may even know a reputable place to get your muffler fixed at a reasonable price!

-Jeffrey Bromberger, Consultant & CISA, CRISC

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