About Us

Hindsight Consulting, Inc. is the Michigan-based company representing the skills and experience of its founder, Mike Allen—an expert with almost 30 years of experience helping manufacturing and warehousing & distribution companies realize huge savings in expenditure.

Mike's mission is to simplify and streamline your processes, improve your throughput, eliminate your waste and reduce your costs. He provides evidence-based analyses and solutions that just work, slashing operating expenditure while reducing capital expenditure, so that you can enjoy significant rewards on your bottom-line.

As a one-man operation, you are assured of his laser-focused personal attention to your needs—your problems will not be delegated to inexperienced recent graduates or summer interns nor will they be off-shored to faceless consultants overseas. He will go above and beyond to ensure that you realize the maximum benefit from his interventions. Furthermore, for your peace of mind, the quality of his work is guaranteed.

His career started in the UK in 1986, first as a software developer, then as a consultant, for what is now Lanner Group. While there, he enhanced the pioneering See Why and Witness simulation products and developed a buffer allocation tool for the Ford Motor Company.

Following graduation from Sheffield Hallam University in 1988 with a Bachelor of Science Honours Degree in Systems Modeling, he spent eight years based at Land Rover with the Rover Group. His first project alone, a three month work-in-progress reduction exercise for the Range Rover Final Line, yielded savings that covered the entire cost of his employment with the company many times over. During this time, he analyzed every aspect of automotive manufacturing at each Rover site: from predicting customer demand for various vehicle options through to distribution of finished vehicles to dealers and customers; from on-site component manufacturing to the sourcing of external parts from the supply chain; from vehicle order processing to line sequencing; from parts logistics to routing & control rules; from manual operations to wholly automated material handling and robotics processes; from powertrain, stamping, body-in-white and paint to final assembly and after-sales parts supply. In addition, from Rover's then partnership, he also learned a great deal about Honda's approach to vehicle manufacturing.

As a result, he gained an extraordinary breadth and depth of understanding of the complex automotive process.

In 1996, he joined Dürr—a leading automotive system supplier currently based in Bietigheim-Bissingen, Germany. At the beginning of 2002, he was transferred to Dürr's Detroit office (from their Warwick, UK office), initially to provide analytical support for a $0.5B contract with General Motors, and has been US-based ever since. Dürr provided Mike with the opportunity to work with and advise a diverse range of manufacturing companies throughout Europe and North America, including Bentley, BMW, Chrysler, Ford, Fiat, Freightliner, General Motors, Harley-Davidson, Hyundai, Jaguar, Kia, Mercedes, Nissan, Opel, Peugeot, Renault, Rolls-Royce, Toyota and Volkswagen. Simultaneously, he developed a detailed knowledge of the different solutions each company had adopted to the problems of manufacturing.

During his time in this industry, he identified some common themes:

  1. Industry accounting practices are crazy. To save $10K off a project so that it comes in under an arbitrarily-determined budget, project managers will quite happily incur an extra $1M in additional annual operating expenditure. After all, they will be penalized for going over budget, but it's the plant manager's fault if the resulting process is costly to operate. Total cost of ownership is rarely a consideration. True, capital budgets are constrained by cash-flow, but cash-flow is constrained by operating expenditure.
  2. Local optimization is the root of all evil. Too often, the managerial structure adopted by an automotive company creates independent fiefdoms that work against each other—and against the company's interests—rather than with each other. This is exacerbated by the imposition of poor performance metrics. In turn, this leads to each fiefdom optimizing its processes to improve their production metrics without any consideration for the impact that these optimizations have upon the whole process. In a classic case of the tail wagging the dog, the constraints that drive these optimizations are typically trivial and irrelevant on the grand scale. Removing these constraints adds some cost—but, overall, the resulting system typically operates at significantly less cost and is far simpler too (meaning that it costs less to implement).
  3. You cannot intuitively predict with any accuracy how a complex system will respond when you change it. The only way you can do that is to use sophisticated analytical tools, such as simulation. He has given up trying to predict which of a variety of options will work better in practice and now relies entirely upon his simulation models to provide objective evidence to identify the best option.

In 2008, he joined robotic warehouse startup, Kiva Systems, and relocated to Boston to work on improving Kiva's Mobile Fulfillment System. This provided Mike exposure to a variety of warehousing and distribution problems—and also to the company's unique culture. Kiva, which was bought by Amazon for a reported $775M in 2012, employed some of the smartest people he had ever worked with. Indeed, at one point, out of around 120 predominantly Ivy League-educated employees, there were 17 with PhDs!

In October 2010, Mike returned to Detroit and fulfilled a life-long ambition by founding Hindsight Consulting.

You can call Mike to discuss your requirements on +1 (313) 451-4001.

Mike is a long-time member of the UK Operational Research Society, and recently completed serving a second consecutive elected term on the Steering Committee of the Michigan Simulation User Group. Mike is also a member of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS), as well as the INFORMS Simulation Society. Mike is a member, and Hindsight Consulting is a corporate member, of the Engineering Society of Detroit.