It's amazing how much more you learn when you're on the ground and working directly with the client. I can now appreciate why it's so important for consultants to spend so much time onsite with their clients (and I'll try to keep telling myself that when I'm travelling a bunch next year in my new job).
Our team has come such a long way in just four days of working with our client. We spent seven weeks trying to prepare for this visit, but we couldn't possibly have provided as valuable and relevant of a recommendation without visiting in person.
After our first day in the Inkasign office with the owner and designers, we ventured out to one of the production facilities on the second day (Wednesday). This was our first trip outside of the nicer areas of Lima. We finally got a chance to see a more realistic side of Peru and see the people whose lives are most affected by Inkasign's ability to grow and create more opportunity.
We also gained a more intimate understanding of how exactly the product is made. I can't say the machines were particularly new, the plant particularly cool or the smell particularly sweet; but the conditions definitely weren't terrible. The owner of Inkasign is good to his employees and seems to pay a fair wage, but the entire area where the goods are made is below a poverty level that we see in the US.
On Thursday, two other members of the our team headed to an even poorer area with dirt roads and a small, enclosed cinder block production room to see a contractor who also makes Inkasign's goods. I stayed behind to work on other project research but wish I would have gone.
So things are really starting to come together. We presented our rough draft to the group today and have decided on our recommendations. Now we just need to polish things off.
Tomorrow it's off to Cusco and Machu Picchu for the weekend!