What Do Engineering Consultants Do?
These specialist engineers assist with design and construction projects and are usually engaged via a variety of means including working with a consulting firm, large engineering companies who undertake EPCM (engineering, procurement, construct and management projects) or they may be individuals who elect to work on their own. Usually they work as a specialist in the area of their engineering degree or provide general engineering support for a variety of clients in a broad area.
These consultants can work on issues such as deign or in the alternative undertake problem solving and analysis of situations to determine either improvements or uncover problem areas in a production system. So they focus on providing outcomes for their clients. Projects can vary in size for example designing a more efficient heating system to very large construction projects where they might provide design, construction advice, project management, planning and scheduling expertise etc.
Demand Trends for Engineering Consultants in Australia
In Australia just about all sectors outsource some part of the engineering work that forms the basis of this industry. This includes the government sector and private businesses who outsource their engineering departments/services and as such good engineering consultants are in demand. However, the international nature of this business means that more than ever before we are seeing specialist engineering consultants forming alliances around the globe. They basically follow the work internationally, as big business invests heavily overseas. For example, Africa is a growing mining economy and as such large amounts of work are moving into this area as various projects are progressed.
What Key Services Are in Demand?
Currently, we are seeing design, project management, construction management, engineering for infrastructure projects, environmental projects and industrial processes and equipment design in high demand. These assignments include provision of advice/analysis, technical assessments, design work, feasibility studies, undertaking and preparing implementation plans, reviewing existing projects and management services in the area of project delivery etc.
What is Driving the Demand?
The mining and resources sectors in Australia are clearly leading the economic activity in Australia with more than A$149bn of mining projects underway and further A$232bn under consideration. The key growth supports are Asian strength, high commodity prices, terms-of-trade boost, capital investment boom, and housing and commercial construction lifting. By State WA, QLD and NT have the fastest growth rates in the next few years, followed by SA. Vic, NSW and Tasmania are likely to have growth rates below the national figure.
The strongest growth outlook is LNG, coal and iron ore mining, construction and exports, followed closely by mining construction and equipment and engineering services. These services also support the increasing infrastructure, rail, road, water and power projects being undertaken by both Federal and State Governments.
Advertising Your Engineering Consulting Business Successfully
This sector relies heavily on word of mouth recommendations, usually based on technical competency and ability to meet clients’ requirements.
However, a successful advertising strategy can also be important, giving customers and clients an understanding of what your business does and why it should be chosen. Some key issues to remember include:
Understand your customer needs: If the engineering consulting company understands its market, ie who will purchase its goods and services, it can create a campaign to focus on this. Without understanding the market, a large amount of effort and dollars could be wasted. All advertising should be targeted at your customer base.
Consistent messages and build brand: The key to this aspect is the building of brand and brand loyalty. This requires that the advertiser clearly states who they are and what they do. The branding is about the business image and, if done consistently, will be remembered by their market.
Go after your target clients/customers: Design your campaign to your niche market – i.e. the core group of businesses/people who will use your services. If you aim at this group you are likely to get excellent results. Whereas if you target generally you may miss your market as you will give a very general message. You need to make sure your message grabs your target market – i.e. state what is important about your service, how you can benefit them, or how you might improve productivity.
Highlight your competitive advantage/factors: This is about clearly demonstrating what you have to offer and how this might vary compared your competitors.
Spend some money on advertising: You have to spend money to make money (but this expenditure is likely to be tax deductible).
Test your campaigns: Vary or amend your messages and advertising if they are not working. Where it is working, increase your focus and expenditure. Monitor your adverts to see which ones are working and which ones generate more business.
Diversify: There are lots of methods of advertising, try more than one method. Advertise in the right places and advertise in lots of places.
Online marketing - Search Engine Optimisation: If you use online marketing you will need to develop a strategy for SEO, as this is the core to any local business marketing strategy. It is important if you are going to create a website that social media networks, blogs, etc all tie in together if you are going to optimise your business. It is important to have a focused, yet diversified SEO approach to your business. If you do this successfully, you will generate traffic to convert to sales.
Delivering Customer Service
Remember customer service can make or break your business as customers are the life blood to your success. A good customer service culture is one where your customers come back and refer you to others. If you deliver good customer service you will usually get positive feedback and repeat customers.
The following are key facts to developing a successful customer culture and delivering good customer service:
- build relationships
- don't make promises you can't keep
- be reliable and honest
- listen to your customer and aim to solve their problems
- be helpful if you cannot specifically help them by assisting them if you can
- train your staff to be helpful, courteous and knowledgeable about your services
- go the extra mile
- manage to agreed timeframes
- re-visit thing that did not go as well as you expected
- follow up
- say thank-you for your customers business as this I the last thing they remember about you
- build customer loyalty
- remain competitive