As of today, M3 Consultancy has joined Argon & Co! Now that we’re at the dawn of a new era, it’s time for a short trip down memory lane and a preview of what’s yet to come. In this article, M3’s founders Erwin Matthijssen and Martin Mommersteeg share their story.
M3’s roots: cracking puzzles and proposing solutions
“Consulting is close to our hearts because we enjoy working on the complex, non-mundane problems our clients struggle to solve,” says Erwin. Back in 2008, that was the main reason he and Martin established M3 Consultancy. An increasing number of clients wanted to hire the two self-employed consultants for bigger projects, so they needed a team.
From the very start, M3 liked to crack intricate puzzles rather than act as process consultants. “We peruse the numbers, make calculations, study the organization’s goings-on, and form our own opinion about the situation,” Erwin explains about the approach M3 has used for years. “We identify the issues and propose potential solutions. Then, we provide clients with guidance on their decision-making process.”
But, Martin explains, all of this is done in close consultation with the client: “We adopt a collaborative approach from A to Z. We don’t ask them to solve issues — we share concrete solutions. Not by simply presenting them with a report, but by discussing the consequences of every possible decision. We actively involve clients every step of the way.”
The importance of inquisitiveness, trust, and growth
To come up with the best solutions for clients, M3 has always maintained an open culture. Erwin says, “We’ve always been a group of inquisitive, solution-oriented people. Trust and growth are key. Hierarchy is not.”
Martin agrees. “Everyone should have the opportunity to work on their own development. We’ve created an environment where people support each other in that endeavor. Sometimes a junior consultant proposes a better solution than their senior co-worker. That should be acknowledged!”
“Everyone is driven by a motivation to solve the client’s problem,” Erwin adds. “Egos have no place in that. So, when assessing managers, we’ve always considered the degree to and speed with which they train new consultants.”
Great minds think alike: M3 joins Argon & Co
Although M3 grew steadily, Erwin and Martin observed that the growth pace and opportunities of their small company somewhat limited their employees. Erwin explains, “We hired two or three people a year, and it was difficult to have ambitious team members work on major (cross-border) projects.”
“We also noticed tenders and other comprehensive projects were usually granted to larger consulting firms,” says Martin. “In these cases, opting for a smaller firm like M3 posed a bit of a risk.”
So, it was time for the next step. M3 received several acquisition offers a year. For a long time, Erwin and Martin weren’t interested. But recently, they picked one that looked particularly interesting. “With Argon & Co, we quickly saw there was a match in terms of philosophy, approach, and projects,” says Erwin. “Like M3, they used the term ‘supply chain strategy,’ which isn’t common in our industry. And they also double down on digital solutions. Moreover, it’s a fast-growing firm that’s already much bigger than M3. Our employees can draw from a wealth of knowledge and experience and grow faster.”
Reaping benefits fast: what to expect next
The acquisition will be very interesting for existing and new clients, as M3 is joining a more global team with a wider range. “It’s easier for us to work on cross-border projects now,” says Martin. “There are significantly less geographical limitations.”
Erwin adds, “We’re getting access to a wealth of knowledge and experience, which allows us to deliver better results faster and tackle new challenges, such as sustainability. The latter topic has always been close to our hearts, but it is difficult to develop expertise on it from scratch. Argon & Co, however, has a track record in this area, so we can finally jump on the sustainability train the way we’ve been wanting to!”