What I learn each year from the MEP Giants

The 100 consulting engineer firms that make the MEP Giants list each year can teach us all a few tricks of the trade.

08/30/2013


The annual MEP Giants program is one of the most interesting programs we conduct at Consulting-Specifying Engineer. Not only do we gather thousands of data points (you should see the spreadsheets!), but we also gather information that cannot be quantified.

Take the project profiles, for example. We ask all firms interested in being considered for the MEP Giants to tell us about three projects they’re working on, and then we ask each of the 100 firms that makes it on the list to give us the details: What type of building project is it? What were the budget and timeline? And most importantly, what were the challenges and solutions?

You can read these projects for yourself at www.csemag.com/giants, but let me give you the broad overview: Our engineers are kicking butt. The variety of projects alone is staggering. These projects span the gamut: hospitals, data centers, airports, schools, office buildings … the list goes on.

The “kicking butt” part comes in with the solutions to the challenges faced on each project. The No. 1 challenge the MEP Giants firms indicate they face is the economy's impact on the construction market. When asked a similar question in other research studies we conduct, engineers will answer that they’re not given an adequate budget for good design. Money aside, the engineering firms you’ll read about in these project profiles are coming up with savvy, sophisticated, and spendthrift solutions to a variety of engineering problems.

Another thing I learn each year is that engineers are constantly evolving. It’s the nature of the beast for a consulting firm to morph to meet customer needs, but I’m amazed at how fluid some firms have become. Adding an international division, for example, instantly brings on new challenges. While not every MEP Giants firm is doing work outside the United States, many are, and some have expanded into the fastest-growing building regions in the world, such as Asia and the Middle East.

Some of this innovation and globalization may be pushing the increased use of mobile apps by the MEP Giants. For example, the use of mobile applications for productivity and project management jumped from 43% to 54% in the past year. Engineering calculations saw a similar-sized jump, up to 44% use in 2013. Engineers are staying on top of technology to remain nimble, no matter where they are.

So whether your firm made this list or not, take a bit of advice: Stay on top of your game to keep competitive.



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 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...
World-class manufacturing: A recipe for success: Finding the right mix for a salad dressing line; 2015 Salary Survey: Manufacturing slump dims enthusiasm
2015 Top Plant: Phoenix Contact, Middletown, Pa.; 2015 Best Practices: Automation, Electrical Safety, Electrical Systems, Pneumatics, Material Handling, Mechanical Systems
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
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
Special report: U.S. natural gas; LNG transport technologies evolve to meet market demand; Understanding new methane regulations; Predictive maintenance for gas pipeline compressors
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Getting ready for industrial IoT; Visualizing the (applied) automation continuum; Preventing VFD faults and failures; Using wireless for closed-loop applications
Migrating industrial networks; Tracking HMI advances; Making the right automation changes
Understanding transfer switch operation; Coordinating protective devices; Analyzing NEC 2014 changes; Cooling data centers

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.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role that compressed air plays in manufacturing plants.