12 control engineering benefits of QBS, qualifications-based selection, for services

The fee for technical skills and experience provided by a high quality engineering firm amounts to approximately 1% of the total cost of the project. Yet these services are critical to determining the other 99% of the project's life-cycle costs, as well as the quality of the completed project. Qualifications-based selection (QBS) can help.



Microsoft offers free clip art.
The fee for technical skills and experience provided by a high quality engineering firm amounts to approximately 1% of the total cost of the project. Yet these services are critical to determining the other 99% of the project’s life-cycle costs, as well as the quality of the completed project.

To help balance cost and quality, U.S. government established qualifications-based selection (QBS) in 1972 for when federal agencies use architectural and engineering services. Those other than the federal agencies benefit from using QBS.

12 ways QBS can to improve your project


Control Engineering surveyed packaging OEMs about selection of system integration services.

In selecting engineering services, the process of QBS:

-Creates a competitive procurement process in which engineering firms submit qualifications to the procuring agency (the owner), the owner assesses the expertise of the competing firms;

-Chooses the most qualified firm to negotiate the project scope and associated fee;

-Ensures proper attention is given to control engineering services critical to lifecycle project success, such as support, computer security, backup processes, and regulatory compliance with control panels.

-Recognizes that cost is an issue, but not at the expense of the skill of the practitioner and the quality of related work, which determines the true value of their services.

-Avoids selecting an engineering firm based on the lowest bid; the cheapest design is bound to produce a poor quality project;

-Weighs proposals first on competence, creativity and performance, followed by negotiation of a fair and reasonable price with the most-qualified firm, allowing flexibility to select the professional design firm best suited for the task.

-Creates an atmosphere of trust where the owner and a firm’s engineers can develop a detailed scope together, avoid miscommunication, and establish a mutually agreed upon price.

-Establishes a relationship that allows the owner and design professional firm to work together to develop the project scope and determine alternative materials and designs that will minimize long-term operational and maintenance costs.

-Determines costs early in the project, so owners receive a clear indication of overall financial requirements.

-Says that if the owner and most-qualified firm cannot reach an agreement on project scope, schedule, and budget, the owner then negotiates with the next-most-qualified firm.

-Has been adopted by 44 states and hundreds of localities.

-Is endorsed by the American Bar Association, the American Public Works Association, the Associated General Contractors, and all major design professional associations.

For more, see related article in June 2009 Control Engineering, North American print edition .

- Vance VanDoren , Ph.D., P.E., is consulting editor with Control Engineering , www.controleng.com . Ron Brenke is QBS manager at American Council of Engineering Companies– Michigan, www.QBS-MI.org . Edited by Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering editor in chief, System Integration Monthly eNewsletter


No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Raising the standard: What's new with NFPA 70E; A global view of manufacturing; Maintenance data; Fit bearings properly
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Upgrading secondary control systems; Keeping enclosures conditioned; Diagnostics increase equipment uptime; Mechatronics simplifies machine design
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.