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When did smart thinking become commoditised

Adam Boughton | Transport, Infrastructure & Logistics Lead, Brisbane | 19 June 2018

Significant value to clients is delivered by taking the time to invest in front end thinking that clearly identifies business objectives, key risks, and scope of work.

In the past ten years the engineering industry has been experiencing change ranging from volatile commodity prices driving a boom and bust cycle, to massive infrastructure development across the world, to the increasing number of quality engineers available in developing countries. 

Our clients have been changing too with many adopting the implementation of more stringent project management processes to provide governance and therefore prevent large project blowouts. This governance hasn’t always had any discernible impact. Procurement has played an increasing role in many businesses to enforce strategies designed to save cost, not necessarily improve value.

Early phase work, wherein value added is usually intrinsic, is being poorly defined due to a lack of business overview, a misunderstanding of the risks, and/or a team that misrepresents both when delineating the scope of work. In some instances, the service providers themselves are offering highly discounted rates to secure more lucrative FEEDs- an opportunity that many clients cannot refuse.

We believe that front end consulting in any sector must be driven by clear business objectives and mitigation of key risks. In many cases, some of these risks are discounted because they are non-technical (and presumed easier to solve?!). We need to move away from this type of inherent organisational bias and focus on how to make the right decisions. In some instances, this may mean stepping outside of our technical work comfort zone and focusing on choices/strategies/efforts that relate back to what we (the collective client and consultant) are trying to achieve.

At Advisian, we have a unique set of cross functional and sector skills to support clients in moving their projects forward and focusing on fit-for-purpose processes that bring clarity to key decisions that influence the business, not just the project – whatever the sector.  We believe that by refocusing business objectives to front end thinking we can bring significant value to our clients, and remind everyone that taking time to think smart is always worth the effort.