ENGINUITY

COMPETITIONS

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UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER 2022/THE STORY OF THE COMPETITION

PERIOD 5 PERIOD 6 PERIOD 7 PERIOD 8 PERIOD 9


PERIOD 5:  "'Super Idol' are the early pacesetters!"

After a period of intensive trialling the University of Manchester Enginuity 2022 Competition is underway, with a competitive field of teams all battling for supremacy against their peers. And so to the early action, and the pacesetters after impressive 45% growth are "Super Idol" with 1,448 pts, who hold nearly a 50 point lead from the chasing pack, led by "Sounds of the few" in second, and "Polaris" in 3rd. However, it is early days, and there are sure to be plenty of twists ahead as the journey through the Early Years unfolds.

The early signs are that the competition will be very competitive, with all the teams improving their overall position in period 5. However, this was not unexpected. After being formed at the beginning of period 1, overhead costs were incurred whilst the companies were being established, without any profits being generated. The companies were now in a position to generate profits against a more stable overhead base, and this was reflected in improved operating profits. Of course, growth will be impossible without an effective strategy, and all the management teams have had time to think about this carefully, and come up with a set of objectives to deliver business success for their stakeholders.

After COVID-19 pandemic sent shockwaves through the UK economy in 2020 there was renewed optimism during most of 2021 thanks to the UK-EU trade deal post Brexit, and the successful role out of a COVID-19 vaccine, resulting in GDP growth of around 6.5%. However, towards the end of 2021 dark clouds began to gather with the new Omicron variant causing concern, inflation at 5.1% in November hitting a fresh decade high, and continued global shortages of goods and fuel raising concerns of an inflationary cycle that forced the Bank Of England to increase interest rates by 0.25% in December for the first time in three years. This led to the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) to lower its UK’s 2022 GDP growth forecast to 4.7%.

Further afield the COVID-19 pandemic delivered a global economic shock of enormous magnitude during 2020 leading to steep recessions in many countries. However, during 2021 the global economy recovered rapidly from the pandemic shock compared to past recessions with global growth of just over 5%, although this is expected to reduce slightly in 2022. Beyond 2022, slower trend growth is expected with many challenges to be faced including the potential of higher financing costs, heightened financial market volatility, inflation risks driven by rebounding growth and supply-chain bottlenecks, ongoing labour shortages and intensifying climate risks.

League table at the end of period 5




PERIOD 6:  "'Polaris' have the momentum as they takeover top spot"

After the impressive growth figures posted in period 5, not unexpectedly period 6 proved to be a much tougher quarter. This was largely driven by the companies being unable to win as much work as they had previously, with the corresponding reduction in forward workload and margin KPIs. However, encouragingly 70% of the teams were still able to post positive groth figures, highlighting the high standard amongst the management teams.

At the top of the table previous leaders "Super Idol" slipped down to 11th, opening the door for "Polaris" to climb 2 places to takeover top spot with 1,501 pts. However, the new leaders cannot bask in their new found status with "Sounds of the few" remaining in second and only 5 points further back, and "Takeiteasy" well placed in 3rd.

Further down the table the best performance in the round was posted by "NiuBi", whose impressive 12% growth catapulted them from 21st to 12th, a 12-place gain that was matched by "Champion 21", who moved up to 6th, and may need to change their name slightly if they keep on moving up the table!

With KPI points hard earned it will become increasingly important that the management teams look very carefully at every aspect of their business for potential improvements, and those that are most successful in doing so should prosper the most. Two areas that the teams need particular attention are Marketing strategy and Procurement (rival bidders), which are discussed in more detail below.

Marketing is possibly the area of the business that requires the most thought, as there are numerous strategies that could be adopted. The market trend can only be gauged for one year ahead, and not always accurately, and as marketing departments are expanded, the choices of where to direct the marketing effort are wide ranging, by sector, country and job size. The task is not an easy one, but has a major impact upon procurement options, and the future work undertaken, and ultimately on the long term prosperity of the company.

Another important consideration is that rival bidders do not necessarily stick with the same bidding strategy, and as time goes by they can change their strategy according to market conditions. This makes it imperative that teams keep a close eye on the margins rival bidders are applying, and how they may be changing. Evaluating these strategies could make the key difference between success in securing work, or not. To complicate matters even further there may be UNKNOWN rival bidders, and the only clues to these may be in the ENGINUITY NEWS NETWORK (ENN) for the period.

League table at the end of period 6
Improvements, or otherwise, during period 6




PERIOD 7:  "I spy new leaders again as the 'CIA (Chinese Intelligent Agency)' take control"

Consistency, though not always easy to achieve, is often a winning formula, and this has been demonstrated in the 3 rounds so far by the "CIA (Chinese Intelligent Agency)", being placed 5th, 5th and now top of the table with 1,645 pts at the end of period 7, the halfway point in the Competition.

Behind the leaders in a period of growth for the majority of the teams, impressive 16% growth from "ANS" catapulted them 12 places up the table and into second place, the best positional gain in the round. Only 9 points further back are "Infinite", who also enjoyed a profitable quarter with a 9-place climb into 3rd, with "Volcano" staying put in 4th.

There is a line from a famous Billy Ocean song that states 'When the going gets tough, the tough get going', and this was played out to perfection in period 7 as "Spicy Sugars" posted a stunning 22% improvement, easily the best in the round, that finally lifted them off the foot of the table, and up 7 places, and they will be hoping to maintain their rise in the remaining two rounds.

IEWP = SUCCESS

A leading industry think tank have come up with a simple formula for running a successful construction business.

  1. IDENTIFY new work
  2. EXPAND the infrastructure (capital base) of the company to take on more work
  3. WIN new work through competitive bidding
  4. PROFITABLY PROGRESS of the jobs won
It sounds so simple in theory, but in practice it is much far harder to achieve. Most teams prove to be more than competent in the first two areas, identify new work and expanding the infrastructure, but the bidding and successful job progression proves more challenging. Winning new work is not easy with so many known and unknown rival bidders working in different sectors and locations, and progressing jobs through to successful completion is hindered many things, such as finding suitable project managers, labour scheduling and overcoming the many obstacles that can occur, such as delays caused by risks strking. Steady growth also requires replacing work progressed with at least the same amount of work again, and this is often the hardest factor of all to get right. The teams can take some comfort from knowing that many management teams in the real world also struggle for consistent growth, and at least in the virtual world it is not critical, although it may feel like it at times!

Another essential part of running a successful business is being able to form an effective Risk Management Strategy to keep the business as profitable as possible. This can take a number of forms, firstly by building sensible risk contingencies into the original bids based upon the likelihood and cost of the risks occurring. Secondly, and just as importantly is mitigating the affects of any risks that strike through targeted investment into risk management companies, using a BIM model if available, and employing the most suitable project managers to jobs in progress. However, even when these mitigating actions are taken, risk can still be costly to job and company profits, and during period 7 problems with structural defects affected the construction of a new health spa for the client, Orlando Adventure World, in the United States, with an estimated risk cost of around 280k before mitigation.

League table at the end of period 7
Improvements, or otherwise, during period 7




PERIOD 8:  "THE 'CIA' look to be in a league of their own"

Getting to the top is hard enough, but staying there is even harder, and during period 8 the "CIA (Chinese Intelligent Agency)" not only achieved this, but extended their lead at the top to nearly 100 points as they reached 1,756 pts, and it will take a brave person to bet on them not becoming the 2022 Champions.

However, if the leaders do slip up, a number of teams are well placed, led by "Takeiteasy", who moved up 6 places to second, and their highest position to date. Only 7 points further back are "Volcano", with "ANS" also not out of the running despite dropping two places to 4th.

In a round of largely growth across the board, the outstanding performers were "Victory", who recovered from a previous decline in period 7 with a stunning 33% growth that saw them move well away from the bottom of the table with an 11-place jump, their rise matched by "Follow Your Heart" just above them. With just one round to go each team will be looking to finish strongly, and every decision will count in the final reckoning.

League table at the end of period 8
Improvements, or otherwise, during period 8




PERIOD 9:  "Veni, vidi, vici!"

"I Came, I Saw, I Conquered". Way back in history, Julius Caesar's sent those famous words in a message back to the Roman Senate in recognition of an overwhelming victory. And so it was for "CIA (Chinese Intelligent Agency)", who deservedly became the University of Manchester Enginuity 2022 Champions with a very impressive finishing score of 1,883 pts, and a margin of victory of nearly 100 points. Ultimately their success owed much to them demonstrating one of the guiding principles in running a successful business, consistency, having led the competition for 3 of the 5 rounds.

Behind the Champions "Volcano" climbed one place to become this year's Runners Up, but only just from the "Sounds of the few", who were just 5 points behind in 3rd, and "Polaris" were only 10 points further back in 4th. Many of the teams finished really strongly, and further down the table "Gong hei fat choy" caught the eye with a stunning 25% improvement, and a 10-place gain to finish mid table.

In the final analysis all of the teams finished with stronger, more sustainable companies than when they took over in period 5, a testament to the skill and application shown by the management teams in what was a roller coaster of a journey through 5 simulated quarters of management.

League table at the end of period 9
Improvements, or otherwise, during period 9



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