Management strategies employed by consulting engineering firms.
Hlubi, Muziwandile Donald.
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There will always be a need for consulting engineering services in industry. In the engineering consulting fraternity, employees are the key valuable assets and this study addresses how the professional employees’ skills can be managed and structured in such a manner that they contribute efficiently to the daily operation of the consulting engineering firms. The core business of the consulting engineering firms is to sell or offer engineering or technical solutions to their clients and this can be successfully recognised by integrating the firm’s different engineering disciplines into projects teams that are able to implement specific projects allocated to them. Leaders in these teams are expected to have proficiency to identify individuals’ skills and talents that can be incorporated into a specific project team. At a strategic level, firms’ mangers should consider developing skills development plans that takes into consideration a combination of academic training, professional training and practical employee training. As soon as a skills development plan is in place, it is easier for it to be implemented at the operational level under the supervision of team leaders who are responsible for the continuing professional development of individual team members. The aim of this study was to determine the various business and technological strategies applied by consulting engineering firms while tendering and competing for project work in the country. The consulting engineering industry is highly competitive; managers of these firms must be properly equipped with both technical and management skills in order that they may survive in this industry. A probability sample of 44 engineering consultants was drawn from consulting engineers in two areas of South Africa, namely, North West Province and Eastern Cape Province, which have a total of 140 consultants. 22% of the respondents offered electrical engineering services, followed by the civil engineering services that form 16.7% of the respondents. The structural and mechanical engineering followed at 13.9% and 11.1% respectively. Chemical engineering and architecture were both at 5.6%. Some of the findings of this study were that managers of the consulting engineering firms must be equipped with communication competencies as well as emotional intelligence and self-management competencies, because, although consultants are highly technically skilled, they lack business and human skills. Part of the recommendations are that there is a need for the consulting engineering firm to upload a succinct synopsis of their services on their company websites, which will help promote the value of their services to their clients.