Selecting the most suitable industrial engineering firm for your project is a decision which can have far-reaching, long-lasting ramifications. In the short term the industrial engineering firm used will directly impact the timeline, quality, and budget of the project. Whereas in the longer term the work done by the industrial engineering firm will impact your company’s operating costs, efficiency, comfort and environment, and ability to expand and adapt as needed. Thus, choosing the best, most suitable firm for your project is crucial. The following is a discussion of several major attributes to look for in an industrial engineering firm.
Experience and Background
The experience and background of the industrial engineering firm that you are dealing with is one of the most important factors in the success or failure of the project. Experience is an easily understood factor in skill level and naturally you will want the most skilled firm available for your project. However, experience helps out in other subtle ways too, such as how well the company is able to overcome setbacks, how efficiently they work, and how well they communicate with you. Experience also helps from the standpoint of the industrial engineering firm having developed the resources and industry relationships that it needs to make a project thrive on a set timeline and budget.
The background of the industrial engineering firm is also very important. It will influence how they approach project-specific challenges and what types of solutions they come up with to meet these challenges. It also ensures that the engineering firm is well versed in the particular needs and expectations of a given sector.
Area of Focus
Closely related to the overall background of the industrial engineering firm is that firms specific area of focus. What types of projects do they typically work on? What sectors are their clients from? Do they focus on small-, medium-, or large-sized projects? The answers to these questions will help ensure a good fit between the engineering firm and its clients.
As an example Polaris has spent much of its history working in the refining and petrochemical sector doing projects such as refinery refurbishment and emergency design. Our business model also focuses on projects that are small to medium in size. This area of focus allows us to bring out even more value to clients in this area because we are so familiar with the needs and concerns of these types of projects.
A strong area of focus and a wealth of experience from a given background are extremely important. However, it is also important that the engineering firm offer comprehensive services that are able to fit the full spectrum of project needs. For example process engineering consulting services and design services go hand in hand with typical engineering services. A comprehensive, full service approach benefits clients by fulfilling more of their needs with the same firm. It also ensures that the engineering firm has the competencies needed to see the bigger picture.
EPC in One Place
Directly related to a full set of comprehensive services is the ability of the engineering firm to also perform construction and procurement services. Engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) are closely related and having one firm undertake them all offers a wide range of important benefits. This allows the same engineering firm to take the project from the early stages of conception right through to its eventual start up. This deep familiarity with the project allows the engineering firm to identify problems and challenges sooner and to capitalize on and maximize benefits and advantages. It also creates a great deal of synergy between the engineering and construction disciplines, allowing greater quality, efficiency, and cost reduction.
Accelerated Project Sequence
The accelerated project sequence is designed to allow the work to flow smoothly between multiple departments so that the different teams can collaborate and work simultaneously. This is in contrast to the traditional project sequence in which work is completed in distinct phases and all project files are passed back to the client to be sent on to the next phase. As the name implies the accelerated project sequence is a much faster approach that allows for lower engineering costs, faster schedules, and greater assumption of responsibility for all phases by the firm. This approach also alleviates much of the stress from the client.
The qualities listed here are meant to act as a beginning checklist for companies looking to hire an industrial engineering firm. Naturally the specific needs and priorities of the company in question may alter the value and emphasis they place on each aspect. A final important consideration is how compatible the engineering firm is with the client’s company. It is essential that a close working relationship with clear, effective communication be established.