Ken VanOverberghe
Ken VanOverberghe

five for five

5 trends driving the e&c market in the next 5 years


Here are five trends E&C firms should address to set themselves apart from the competition and increase profitability.


Big Data – People’s confidence in their judgment and intuition is often at odds
with the reality of a situation. It is very common for organizations to measure
the wrong thing because “that’s what we have always measured” – for example,
revenue as an indicator of profit. Firms that break out of their ‘conventional thinking’ paradigm and leverage their internal big data for fact based decision making will improve performance and increase profits.



Focused risk management – Risk management is one of the critical elements of successful project delivery, yet often only considered quarterly, or worse ignored after the initial register put in place. Proactive identification, analysis, quantification, mitigation and monitoring are critical as the market pushes more risk onto designers and contractors. As the risk pendulum continues to swing  towards the designers and contractors, firms that have a sound risk management  protocols embraced by execution teams and integrated into their delivery  methodology will consistently achieve higher profitability and fewer claims.



Dynamic pricing – The engineering industry is notorious for lamenting how customers treat their services like commodities. Architect and Engineering services, like other licensed professional services, have an inherent value based on the experience required to complete a task and the complexity of the project. Successful firms will adopt dynamic pricing, factoring in several inputs such as the relative value of services provided, customer’s status within their portfolio and availability of resources. This will lead to greater focus, increased client satisfaction and improved profitability. 


Operational efficiency – Many E&C firms took a short term view and cut their way to profitability over the last several years, crippling portions of their execution capacity. While growth alone will not drive value creation, distinctive capabilities will. Firms with optimized delivery processes throughout their value chain that efficiently deliver projects on budget and schedule will reap higher profitability and  greater market share. What worked in the past is no longer good enough today and will not be in the future. Systems can be easily replicated – establishing a structure for sustainable and predictable execution is the key to achieving superior performance in a crowded marketplace.



Talent development / retention – It is said that as many as 70% of employees may be seeking new employment opportunities. This is a staggering number, though not surprising given the recent economic downturn and waves of downsizing. While the number of employees ‘looking’ will vary from company to company, the key focus for talent retention is giving employees a reason to stay. Tailored employee development opportunities for growth and removing obstacles for success are critical. However, trust trumps everything and with it comes learning, accountability and commitment from employees. The level of employee trust in a firm is a function of how well downsizing and development opportunities were handled over the last several years. A comprehensive program to retain top talent is critical for long term success in the marketplace.