AECCafe Guest Blog
Megan Miller is a senior product marketing specialist for Herndon-based Deltek, the leading global provider of enterprise software and information solutions for professional services firms and government contractors, and can be found at www.deltek.com.
November 30th, 2015 by Megan Miller
With the holiday season upon us, many people take time to reflect on the relationships in their lives – friends, family and colleagues. But for a project-based A/E/C firm, the relationships that require your attention are your clients.
The most successful A/E/C firms are built on strong client relationships – and their confidence in you as a trusted partner. But as firms grow and work picks up, it can be easy to focus on deliverables and let your relationships fall to the wayside.
The holidays are the ideal time to reconnect with clients and better understand what they need in the coming year. Here are a few steps that you can take to foster a closer relationship with your clients this holiday season.
October 30th, 2015 by Megan Miller
As annual budgeting and planning season is in full swing, it’s time to take a look at where your A&E firm stands this year and what you want to achieve in 2016.
Is your firm’s profitability low? Has revenue growth stalled? What do you need to accomplish in the next year and what will it take? You may not know the best way to tackle your 2016 goals, or you may have tried and failed to reach them in the past. So, how can you break the cycle and make progress in the coming year?
In a recent webinar, Doug Reed of FosterGrowth.biz and I discussed “Five Tips to Turbo-Charge Your Annual Planning and Budgeting.” To be successful, you must start with realistic goals. By benchmarking your firm with reports like the 36th Annual Deltek Clarity A&E Industry Study, you can identify strengths and areas for improvement, allowing you to focus on what matters most.
September 30th, 2015 by Megan Miller
Projects with state, local and federal agencies are key targets for many A&E firms. State and local (S&L) architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) services account for $391 billion annually across the U.S. At the federal level, that number is $35 billion. Collectively, the public sector represents 40% of the total U.S. market for AEC projects.
Because S&L funding in these markets closely mirrors the economy, firms have good reason to be optimistic. In addition to the post-recession growth, investment cuts in the last decade mean there’s pent-up demand for infrastructure projects. While federal spending in the past few years has been challenging and disappointing, spending on infrastructure is ticking up again.
August 31st, 2015 by Megan Miller
As football season rolls around, I find myself thinking about cool fall evenings, cheering fans, hot chocolate and A&E firms. I know you probably think the last one is a typo, but it isn’t. Football teams and A&E firms both have a common goal: finding and keeping the best players so they can win.
In the 36th Annual Deltek Clarity A&E Industry Study, firms reported an average net revenue growth forecast of 6.2%, with some firms forecasting 13.4% or higher growth. The study also shows the average employee turnover rate is 13.7% and the average staff growth rate is 4.7%. These statistics mean that A&E firms are optimistic about growth and are working hard to find the right team members to make further growth a reality.
So, what can A&E firms do to attract and keep the right people? To start, they can learn from successful football teams when it comes to team-building and recruiting.
July 31st, 2015 by Megan Miller
Bench players don’t become part of the starting line-up overnight. In many cases, they first decided that being good just wasn’t good enough and put in the necessary work to achieve a drastic change.
The A&E industry is no different. There are truly great firms; many have been recognized within the industry as best places to work, top design firms or even top emerging firms. But their status often reflects a choice to pursue greatness, followed by introspection and hard work.
What separates these firms from everyone else? In this year’s Deltek Clarity A&E Industry Study, we broke out a group of high performers – more than 25% of participants – to analyze what makes them so successful.
Let’s take a look at some key areas where the high-performing firms stand out from the competition.
July 24th, 2015 by Shane Kling
It’s time we stop referring to P&IDs as piping and instrumentation drawings/diagrams and instead as piping and instrumentation DATA. We are on the cusp of a “paradigm shift” – where the “D” in P&ID will be a distant memory for those who reference diagrams or drawings. There will be numerous challenges to overcome in the “P&I Data Shift”, but I believe there has never been more justification to undertake such an initiative.
These schematics are an owner-operator’s most valuable data asset, representing an index of process equipment and specification data captured in the design, construction, and operating phases of a plant. At Environmental intellect (Ei), we have long advocated the use of “intelligent” P&IDs for compliance purposes. I often say that “P&IDs are the foundation for compliance” for many programs, such as those mandated under the Process Safety Management (PSM) and Clean Air Act (CAA) regulations. It wasn’t until earlier this year that we realized the importance of P&IDs beyond compliance (see YouTube demo: Plant Data and P&ID Technology that Reduces Operating Costs and Compliance Risk).
July 20th, 2015 by Mallary White, Solution Specialist – Architect Microdesk
Despite what you were taught in school, having your head in the clouds, and start your next project there, may be the best place to start. UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), Quadcopters, Eyes Spying in the Sky, or Drones, as they are better known, may sound like something that belongs in a sci-fi movie, but the truth is, they are becoming easily accessible and we should be taking advantage of them to help us strengthen and re-build our cities. Remotely operated, UAVs allow architects and engineers access to dangerous and remote environments, permitting them to make assessments that they never could before.
June 25th, 2015 by Megan Miller
Running a successful A&E firm is like a recipe for a great meal – you need the right ingredients and the right quantities to achieve the desired outcome. But, for A&E firms, what are those ingredients and who determines the perfect balance or quantities for each ingredient?
In a perfect world, the average collection period for accounts receivables would be zero, every employee would be 100 percent utilized, overhead rates would be next to nothing and firms would have a 100 percent win rate – the recipe for a perfectly successful A&E firm.
Since we don’t live in a perfect world, A&E firm leaders are always trying to find the right balance that leads to profitability, growth and success. The Deltek Clarity Architecture & Engineering Industry Study gives leaders critical benchmarks to see how they measure up in the industry and where there are opportunities for improvement.
May 29th, 2015 by Megan Miller
In the engineering world, we often use the term “single point of failure” to refer to an area that, if it fails, will stop the entire system from working.
When you think about your relationships with your clients, is there a single point of failure?
Some of us may have learned this lesson the hard way – when critical contacts have left clients or reorganizations have resulted in your project changing hands.
April 29th, 2015 by Bob Honn
AEC professionals have increasingly collaborative and mobile work requirements. As a result, their need to share, view, and print large format documents from a variety of locations using mobile devices has also increased. In fact, according to a recent AEC Technology Study from ARC Document Solutions, Inc., 85% of AEC professionals surveyed use a mobile device during a project – 35% of which use it to view, comment and share documents. And this trend doesn’t appear to be slowing down, as nearly 40% of respondents said online access for all documents on any device platform is one of the most important factors in increasing their company’s productivity or in reducing costs.