What is it that makes you want to buy a loaf of bread from your preferred baker’s or why is it that you prefer to go to the same local pub to wash away the dust after a day? Whether it is quality, price, ambiance, service or something else, there’s often something that makes your favourite baker’s shop or watering hole stand out among its competitors. However, if you can’t quite put your finger on why it is that you’re always returning to the same places, could it be that your regular baker or pub don’t offer excellent quality or service but that you’ve simply grown accustomed to going to the same address?

At Prove Engineering we’ve asked ourselves why potential clients in the chemical, food and pharmaceutical industries would consider contracting our engineering services, when they may have been hiring a different engineering contractor’s services for years. Properly answering such a question should probably inspire us to ‘identify our core competences’, ‘define our vision and mission’ and ’embed these into a keen marketing strategy’. As we’re down to earth engineers, however, we’ll settle for ‘calling it as we’re seeing it’.

Having had a fair number of dealings with engineering contractors whilst working for manufacturing companies ourselves, the metaphor best describing our experiences would be ‘whipping a dead horse’: Working with a slow, inefficient, and bureaucratic group of people that manage to invoice you for even every half hour they have spent in internal meetings with questionable output. Talking to our partners and other players in manufacturing industries, the perception that engineering consultancy firms write their invoices with a fork rather than a pencil appears to be widespread.

Some of us even have inside experience with the inefficiency in engineering consultants: the frustration of being funnelled into a narrow field of engineering, slow iteration processes and the relentless focus on registering every half hour on a particular project and shifting hours between projects to make the budget.

We haven’t mastered the engineering sciences to waste our talents filling out time-sheets. We’re resourceful multi-skilled engineers that own a project and take pride in appreciating, if not mastering all aspects of it. The less time we loose, filling out useless sheets, the more time we can spend on engineering, research or knowledge transfer: the work that you would contract our services for in the first place. That’s why we invoice our services based on day-rates rather than on hour-rates. As we understand that the value external engineering adds to your business is output-driven and not effort-driven, we’re also more than happy to take on a fixed price contract on a project engineering package, like a basic engineering or detail engineering package, provided there is a defined scope and budget. Whereas external engineering tends to be a project expense account that overruns, a fixed price engineering contract will provide more security for you that a project will remain within budget.

Maybe next time when you’re at your local pub pondering over a pint on the prices and quality of work you’ve been getting from your usual engineering consultant and you’ve got a new project coming up, you should consider giving us a call.