A&E firms - 3 Ways To Secure More Bids With Better Project Management

Posted by Blair Pringle, New Business Director on January 29, 2015

3 Ways To Secure More Bids With Better Project Management

Architecture and Engineering firms list winning new work as a top priority and highlight good business management systems as critical to business visibility, growth and success.

In a recent Ipsos Synovate report on the Trends and Challenges in Architecture and Engineering, sponsored by Deltek, Denmark was found to be the most optimistic region with 90% of Danish firms expecting growth in 2014, a particularly high number in comparison to the rest of Europe. When it comes to top priorities, winning new projects was number one with 41%, closely followed by customer satisfaction (36%) and project profitability (22%).

So, with winning new work being a critical business issue, how should you go about it?

When it comes to winning new business, the report showed 57% of firms want a better view on the most profitable types of work, while 54% want insight into the most profitable customers and 51% want insight into the most profitable market segments.

In terms of how those A&E firms could use this better visibility to improve their profitability, there is a fairly even split between:

  • Improving visibility of project and resource planning - 58%
  • Budgeted versus actual costs per project - 57%
  • Profitability per project - 54%
  • Poorly performing projects - 51%

The report clearly shows that A&E firms recognise the need for better business management systems, otherwise known as ERP (enterprise resource planning) to give insight and knowledge into their most profitable type of work. With such transparency comes a powerful tool allowing them to target the right kind of new business and enhance their growth. Such knowledge is power and a winning formula.

Pitching blind

Wider analysis of the project-based Professional Services sector supports the argument that limited data equals limited new wins.

Research from Forrester Consulting shows that only 9% of project firm leaders have won 75% or more of their project bids, with around half (49%) reporting they only ever win 25-50%. In other words, 61% experience an engagement win rate of less than 50%. Not just a disappointing win rate, but a waste of sales’ efforts in pursuing the wrong opportunities and, in many cases, pitching blind.

And further findings from the Forrester Consulting research reveals that granular project history helps drive better bids.

Of the project firm leaders surveyed, most (58%) highlighted, as a contributory factor to the poor win rate, an inability to target the most potentially profitable engagements, based on past project profitability and ability to deliver. The same number also blamed poor win rates on an inability to offer a trade-off between project completion date and cost.

The solution

Since knowledge is power when it comes to winning bids, better business management systems such as project-based ERP could be the solution to finding two ways to secure more bids by:

  1. Capturing data in one tailor-made tool.
  2. Improving project by project visibility.

This will result in a higher bid-to-win ratio and the potential for infinite winning work opportunities.