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Engineering behemoth Siemens is canning contracts with external management consultants in order to cut costs.

Peter Löscher, chief exec of Siemens, told managers last month to cut contracts with external consultants as quickly as possible. Staff should use internal consultants or seek sign-off from the group's chief finance officer, according to the FT. Any such exceptional projects will need to prove a return on investment within the year.

The German engineering group hopes to save about a “middle three-digit million euro sum”. Contracts with the likes of McKinsey and Accenture are likely to be early targets.

Cutting consultants and contractor staff is often the first step for firms looking to cut costs. For companies which don't have many consultant staff but need to cut costs, the usual procedure is to hire some in at vast expense to tell you who to sack.

Siemens had 425,000 staff around the world on 31 December 2008 - three thousand less than at the end of the previous quarter. ®

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