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Choosing The Right Engineering Services Firm

Engineering consulting firms provide engineering services and expertise to owners in need of a specialized skill-set. Normally any consulting service company would have experienced engineers who are able to offer technical consultation and advice for a fee. They are known as consulting professionals who work with a variety of clients and help them devise solutions to problems and determine and recommend to their clients the best course of action for defined problem. Working with an Engineering consulting services company will help you save time, effort and money when you do not have the sufficient knowledge or expertise in dealing with specific tasks.

When you choose the right consultant for your business, it creates a huge impact on the success of your project. You must understand that while every firm will offer their own competitive advantages, there are numerous benefits of considering a specialty engineering firm for your next project.

When you are looking for an engineering consulting firm, you must always focus on qualification based selection because that is the only proven process for retaining their. Shortlisting a few options and then selecting the best firm using a set of qualitative criteria is step one. Step two involves negotiating a fair deal with the engineering firm by looking at the scope of its services and your requirements.

A common but incorrect approach to choosing a consultant is hiring the cheapest available option. This could however, be counter-productive in the longer run when you look at the overall scope of the project. You need to look at the overall picture at what the engineering firm is actually providing.

  1. Need
  2. Majority of large corporations have internal resources that they can use for project engineering. In case they do not have internal resources, they need to take the advice of a consultant. As a business, you need to determine whether a consultant would be able to add value to your project. In large organizations, the management makes a decision whether to delegate the responsibility to an internal resource or outsource it.

    Start-ups and small organizations would not have the necessary expertise for the product development process. Hence, in such cases hiring a consultant would be the best move.

    It is common pit fall for large corporations to rely on the available resources neglecting the fact that not all engineers have the project execution expertise or skills required for successful project implementation. The logic to use resources just because they are available and economic is the worst mistake a firm could make. It would keep some people of your firm occupied with work, the end results may be unpredictable! Even more often the results exist and no one ever suspects anything went wrong. This is common is organizations with a rigid hierarchy and layered management structure in which the top most management executives are separated from the technical team and the technical team cannot comment about the financial decisions.

    A consultant can offer his expertise in varied facets and areas and add value to your project that could not happen with your in-house resources. That is why outsourcing part of a project or whole engineering service to an external agency is beneficial because that capability or skill would not be found internally!

  3. Factors to be considered for selecting the right engineering services provider

    • Domain knowledge and Past project & relevant experience
    • For best value, it is recommended that client should select a consulting engineer based on qualification and not price. Consulting engineers design and provide management services for large expenditure items, such as equipment, buildings, environmental services and land use planning. If you want to succeed, you must choose the right services from the top engineering services consultants.

      One of the main factors that you must keep in mind when deciding on engineering services is their time spent and their experience in the industry, their reputation in the market and their previously completed projects. If a company does not possess relevant experience in the type of project you require be it industrial, residential, commercial etc, it will obviously not be able to adequately meet your expectations and project needs.

      What does qualification based selection mean?

      When you select talent based on:

      a) Their experience doing similar projects

      b) Their technical skills and certification

      c) Their availability

      d) Their past records and performance

      e) Their location

      f) Their local knowledge

      g) Their values, dedication and professional integrity

    • Integrated Plant Design Approach
    • For best project execution, select an engineering consultant who use an integrated approach to plant design throughout the project. Integrated design environment eliminate design errors, clashes and any interferences between Mechanical, Electrical or Building elements of design at any point in the project- AVOIDS REWORK. With integrated walk through 3D model- your project can have inputs from Operation, Maintenance & Construction team in the early design phases which AVOIDS RE-WORK AT FIELD AND RESULTS IN SMOOTH START-UP.

    • Location/Nearness
    • You should always choose a consultant that is nearby to your facility being constructed. Consultant’s nearness to your facility will allow ease of co-ordination during engineering phase as well as during construction resulting in time saving and transportation cost.

    • IP/CDA security
    • Whether your invention it is a brand new product idea or process improvement you want to have you interests protected. Note that your will not be able to apply for Provisional Patent before you have discussed all the tangible and practical aspects of it with your consultant. And when you do it, it will be the first time you will be disclosing all the details of your idea. So always remember to sign a non disclosure agreement by talking to your legal adviser.

      Licensed and reputed engineering corporations treat every information received from the client with utmost precision and care just as they treat their own private information. Professional engineers also choose to have signed all the legal documents before they enter any discussions. Always get the legalities completed so that the consultant knows that you are serious about your business association and will value your ideas. You should look for consultant’s credential like ISO certification (e.g. ISO 27001:2013) for information security.

    • Software tools
    • Make sure your consultant is using latest licensed software tools used for design and validation helping you to save time and cost. You should seek information on software tools by visiting the premises of the consultant.

    • All engineering discipline under one roof
    • One of the key factors that you should keep in mind that your engineering consultant has all engineering discipline capabilities in house. Consultant with all the project core functions of engineering, procurement & sourcing, scheduling, construction management & start-up support under one roof helps to take quicker decisions in the benefit of the project to ensure a smooth, cost-effective and a timely execution.

    • Exposure to statutory and compliance codes (Engineering Standard)
    • It is essential to check whether the firm you have been in talks with is complying to national and international standards (e.g. NFPA, ASME, ANSI). All the projects must abide by the codes and standards prevalent in the industry. What happens when your construction project is not in compliance with standards? You can anticipate fines and serious issues in the long run. Hence it is always a better option to do a contract with engineering services that not only comply with standards and codes, but also go beyond them!

    • Software License
    • One must also check if the engineering services firm you are thinking about for your project have a required software license to carry out these activities. A good company will have all the license software required to carry out the engineering design. If the service provider us using pirated software and any license check at service provider’s location may hamper your project work.

    • Resource Availability/Workload
    • When you select a consulting service, check whether the firm has adequate manpower to carry out your project to its minutest details. Also check whether they follow industry standards and complete their projects within a given budget and deadline. Find out about their past projects and commitment towards work. Moreover, see whether the staff has sufficient work experience for your given project.

    • Quality of service
    • Quality of work is quality of the designs and deliverables provided by the consultant. The major factor in providing high quality of the work is knowledge and experience. With wrong attitude and inattentive behaviour, people deliver low quality services.

      Although the same engineer does not necessarily have to carry out the whole project activities, but it is often beneficial for the project if the core design team members do not change during the project execution.

      Some large companies are so busy they do not have time to address every call or your query, particularly when you are looking for response at very crucial phase. Unlike large consulting companies small or midsize companies usually work on two or three projects only, usually they have small design team where communication is not a problem, where working hours are flexible and often accommodated to the customer, and where success of the project is taken personally.

    • Rapport Check
    • You and your consultant will be working closely together. Both sides have to feel comfortable having open discussions. Chemistry is important to help the flow of ideas, positive criticism and ability for each side to influence decisions particularly if you are working with a mid size consulting company. When you work with a large consulting firm, you will most likely have met your project leader and staff like the engineers and designers once or twice.

      If you believe it is in their best interest to select an engineering consultant through a formal procedure, you should complete the following steps in sequential order.

      • Define project and scope of services required
      • Short list 2-3 consultants
      • Request for detailed proposals
      • Visit the consultant offices/previous project execution site
      • Select preferred consultant
      • Execute agreement

      At the end of a project, high-quality engineering services represent only a small percentage of the overall project cost, yet they can significantly affect and influence the cost of construction, the ability of the project to meet the owner’s objectives, and long-term operational costs.

      Since inception, SES has developed a reputation for providing high-quality engineering services. Over the years, we have partnered with many organizations to help them achieve their project engineering goals while also helping save construction and ownership costs. We welcome the opportunity to assist with your next project.