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ENGINUITY 2022/THE STORY OF THE EARLY YEARS

PERIOD 5 PERIOD 6 PERIOD 7 PERIOD 8 PERIOD 9 PERIOD 10 PERIOD 11


PERIOD 5:  "The 'Cowboys from Hell' come out all guns blazing!"

Another international field of teams from around the world began the challenge of managing their Global Construction Business, a journey that would ultimately lead to one of them being crowned the Enginuity 2022, and 13th Enginuity Champions! And with last year's winning sponsors Parsons not competing this year, there will be a new sponsor name on the trophy.

The ENGINUITY Competition is not designed to be an easy challenge, and is intended to reflect how difficult it can be to run a multinational construction business in the real world. To be successful will require an effective business strategy to identify new work, secure the work in a competitive bidding environment, and then manage jobs progressed profitably, dealing with the many problems that will arise, such as job delays and managing risk. There will be many ups and downs, and excellent leadership and management skills will be needed to deal with adversity, and keep the business growing.

And so to the early action, and over 90% of the teams were able to post positive growth figures in period 5, with a real international feel at the top of the first leaderboard. The best start came from the "Cowboys from Hell" (Pantera Group, UK) who came out all guns blazing as they got off to a flying start with 41% growth to set the early pace at the top of the table with 1,414 pts. However, the early leaders cannot rest on their laurels with the chasing pack close behind, led by "Whatever it takes" (Stantec, Italy) (and it will take a lot to be the 2020 Champions), and "Strategem" (Jacobs, India) in 2nd and 3rd respectively, and only separated by 1 point, and there are just 63 points separating the top 12 teams, with Jacobs' teams occupying five of those positions, and making the strong start they made a year ago.

And a word of caution to the leading teams, and hope for those lower down the leaderboard. The top teams at the end of the first round normally have high workloads after successful bidding, and their infrastructure size then limits their ability to win a high volume of work in period 6, as well as giving them the 'growing pains' of needing lots of additional labour to handle the additional workload. In contrast, those who did not perhaps start too well are in the reverse position, and can improve their forward workload and margin significantly in the second round, providing, of course, they set competitive bids. It should be a very interesting leaderboard again in the next round!

And so to the first of this year's ENGINUITY TWITTER FEEDS :-

  • New to the Competition this year are ISG, a privately-owned, London, UK-based construction company, with two teams taking part. Both have made solid starts, but it is "Innovative Solutions Group" (ISG, UK) who have made the most eye catching start with 31% growth that gives them the early internal bragging rights.

  • The last 5 years has seen a team from the United States become the Enginuity Champions, but could this change this year with no sole US team currently in the top 20 ? However, it is early days, and they have demonstrated before that the Competition is a marathon, not a sprint, and they often come to the fore in the later stages of the Preliminary Rounds!

  • Laing O'Rourke have entered a number of teams this year from the UK and Australia, and with some impressive early results. In particular, "Ray's Angels" (Laing O'Rourke, UK) and "BacheLO'R(ettes)" (Laing O'Rourke, UK) are well placed in the top 30.

  • Over the last few years Stantec have consistently been the best represented sponsor, and this year is no exception with well over 30 teams taking part, and they have had many finalists in the past, but as yet no Champion, but with 7 teams already in the top 20 could this finally be their year ? Watch this space!

  • Arcadis are only represented by their Australian teams this year, but the two taking part have made made an immediate impression, with the "Sydney Fire Salamanders" (Arcadis, Australia) and "#1 Enigma" (Arcadis, Australia) occupying 21st and 24th respectively, and separated by just 6 points in an already intense internal battle.

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

Sponsor league tables (3 or more teams):-
AECOM
Buro Happold
Cundall
Hatch
Jacobs
Laing O'Rourke
Mott Macdonald
RSBG
Stantec
Tonkin & Taylor
WSP




PERIOD 6:  "A turbulent round that causes havoc on the leaderboard"

Just like the real world it simulates, Enginuity is designed to reflect the ups and downs of managing a global construction business, and the growing pains on the journey have to be overcome, and management teams need to adapt and come up with innovative solutions to keep their businesses on the right lines.
This was perfectly highlighted in period 6 as teams that made substantial gains in period 5, due to winning lots of work, suddenly found period 6 to be very challenging. Carrying a high workload going into period 6, their infrastructure (capital base) restricted them from being able to win much new work, and forward workload and margin KPIs fell. To compound this the extra work that was won in period 5 needed to be progressed, and extra labour (own or subcontract) was required, incurring training costs for own new labour, or subcontract premiums. These all added to the cost base, and gross profit and operating profit to turnover KPIs suffered.

The result of this upheaval amongst the leading teams was major turbulence in the leaderboard in period 6, with 8 new entries into the top 12, and qualifiying places for the final at the end of period 12. With only 23% of the teams posting positive growth figures, there was the opportunity for major gains for a few, and so it proved as "AECOMplete Shambles" (AECOM, UK) completely defied their team name as they made a massive 92-place gain to takeover top spot with 1,367 pts. However, even their meteoric rise was trumped by "PacStan" (Stantec, Canada), up 114 places to second, "Stan-Can" (Stantec, Canada), up 115 places to 3rd, and even more remarkably "Newborn WSP & Co" (WSP, UK) made the largest gain, an incredibly 116 places into 5th place. Sandwiched between 3rd and 5th are The Wolves of Milano - The Return" (Jacobs, Italy/USA) in 4th, and hoping its a successful sequel this year.

After the drama of period 6, it is almost certain that the league table will see lots more changes in the next round as the teams who struggled this week are expected to come storming back, and those that faired well will be trying to consoldiate their gains. Tune in next week for the pre Easter results.

And so to the latest ENGINUITY TWITTER FEEDS :-

  • Who were the star performers in terms of overall improvement and positional gain this week ?
    Both accolades went to "Newborn WSP & Co" (WSP, UK) with a stunning 43% growth, and an incredible 117 place gain.

  • Risks that strike can have a major impact on job profits, and this was the case on a number of jobs in period 6, including contractors that secured the medium size contract to construct frozen storage units for Saintesc Foods near Coventry in the UK. Unfortunately objections from local residents near the proposed new site caused planning delays that had been highlighted as a low risk, and the 180k cost severely impacted on the job's profits in its first quarter.

  • One team to benefit significantly from the struggles of those around them was "Close Contacts" (Tonkin & Taylor, New Zealand) whose 24% growth propelled them from the foot of the table into a comfortable mid table, and their management team will be now looking to build upon this success.

  • The Enginuity Competition is a stern test of endurance, and team collaboration skills, and this will be put to the test in the next period for a number of teams languishing at the wrong end of the table. One of the keys to their recovery will undoubtedly be their ability to secure new work with more competitive bids, and in particular analysing likely rival bidders to ensure that their margins are set low enough to undercut their rivals, but still make a reasonable profit.

  • Cundall have 3 teams competing this year, and their sponsor will be particularly encouraged with the early signs from "2030 Net Heroes" (Cundall, UK), who despite a small deterioration in period 6, they were able to mitigate the 'growing pains' discussed in earlier news feeds with some effective labour management decisions to stay in the top 20, and in touch with the leading teams.

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

Sponsor league tables (3 or more teams):-
AECOM
Buro Happold
Cundall
Hatch
Jacobs
Laing O'Rourke
Mott Macdonald
RSBG
Stantec
Tonkin & Taylor
WSP




PERIOD 7:  "Jacobs teams go crackers, but will Uncle Stan have the last word ?"

After the turbulence of the previous period, when only around 20% of the teams improved, period 7 proved to be far more encouraging with 80% posting positive growth figures, and once more there was lots of movement in the league table with 7 new entries into the top 12.
Jacobs are still chasing their first Enginuity Title, and the signs are looking promising that if this week's league table is anything to go by then 2022 could be their year with 5 teams now in the top 12, but the leading sponsor Stantec are also looking for their inaugural success, and they to are looking strong with 4 teams in the top 12.

For the third consecutive round there are new leaders again, with "Stratagem" (Jacobs, India) taking over top spot with 1,490 pts. Behind them "ABC-Always Be Constructing" (Jacobs, UK/India/Poland) climbed 23 places to second, with "Stantogether" (Stantec, Australia) in 3rd feeling like they are in a Jacobs' sandwich with "Babble Royale" (Jacobs, UK/Ireland/USA/Saudi Arabia) and "Electric Magic" (Jacobs, Poland/France) in 4th and 5th respectively. There is still not a lot between the leading teams with less than 100 points separating the top 12, and a large group of teams vying to break into the qualifying places for the final.

During the previous period 15% of the teams slipped below the starting point of 1,000 KPI points, but there is an old saying that "When the going gets tough, the tough get going", and many of the 15% did as they showed great resolve to turn the fortunes of their businesses round, and at the end period 7 less than 8% of the teams now find themselves below their opening position.

And so to the latest ENGINUITY TWITTER FEEDS :-

  • Who were the star performers in terms of overall improvement and positional gain this week ?
    In terms of performance the accolade went to "The J Team" (Jacobs, UK) with a stunning 40% growth, which reversed their decline in the previous period much to the delight of their stakeholders. In terms of positional gain the plaudits went to "Blowers' Builders" (ISG, UK) with a massive 70-place rise, which moved them up to just outside the top 20. This also once more demonstrates what can be achieved in one round with the right decisions.

  • Atkins India have two teams competing this year, and they are beginning to make their mark, with both now in the top 30. It is also an intriguing internal battle between them, with the "Business Gurus" (Atkins India, India) just ahead of "Pway Allway" (Atkins India, India) as they look to emulate the "Bangalore BULLZ" who finished 11th last year.

  • Every year the Enginuity Crystal Ball tries to predict dark horses in the Competition, teams making steady progress up the table, and perhaps falling below the radar. One that has already caught the eye this year, is "Euston we have a problem" (Network Rail, UK), who are certainly on the right track, moving from 92nd to 26th and now up to 16th, and they, and their colleagues "Living la vida locomotion" (Network Rail, UK) are keeping up the consistently impressive performances of Network Rail teams over the last few years.

  • After an indifferent start it was a good week for the Mott Macdonald teams, with all of them growing in period 7, and "MSquareD" (Mott Macdonald, UK) currently their leading performing team, and just into the top 40.

  • It was 2 years ago, in 2020, that Hatch had their last finalist, with "Hatcha la vista", but hopes are high that they could repeat this in 2022 with "Zoom Construction Co" (Hatch, South Africa) climbing 13 places to 15th, and just outside the top 12.

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 an injury to a third party on site affected the construction of a training complex in the Olympic Village in Paris in preparation for the 2024 Olympics, with an estimated risk cost of around 350k before mitigation.

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

Sponsor league tables (3 or more teams):-
AECOM
Buro Happold
Cundall
Hatch
Jacobs
Laing O'Rourke
Mott Macdonald
RSBG
Stantec
Tonkin & Taylor
WSP




PERIOD 8:  "Wellington based 'Ministry of Wopus' stick the boot into their rivals!"

As the teams reached the halfway point in the Preliminary Rounds, it is appropriate to reflect on how success can be measured. Teams at the top of the table, and battling for a place in the 12-team final at the end of the Preliminary Rounds will consider their position in the table a measure of how well they are running their business. Teams at the wrong end of the table will now look to success being able to turn round the fortunes of their companies, and this can only be achieved by focusing on the key areas that could improve their growth rates i.e., competitive bidding to secure new work, and managing their jobs in progress as profitably as possible, and close analysis of past performance will be important to prevent past mistakes from reocurring.

Period 8 proved to be a tough quarter for a number of teams who struggled to win new work, with UNKNOWN rival bidders such as The Bommell Group and The Crayford Road Group undercutting them, and those who put all their eggs in one basket by bidding for just a select few jobs suffered the most. However this did not hinder the leading teams as the roller coaster at the top of the table gathered momentum with 5 new entries into the top 12, and new leaders for the 4th consective period.

The new leaders are the "Ministry of Wopus" (WSP New Zealand), a team with proven experience and an influx of new talent, who dug deep to climb 23 places and takeover top spot with 1,672 pts, and in doing so they opened up a 40 point lead to the chasing pack. Previous leaders "Stratagem" (Jacobs, India) dropped one place to second, and there was no change for "Stantogether" (Stantec, Australia) and "Babble Royale" (Jacobs, UK/Ireland/USA/Saudi Arabia) in 3rd and 4th respectively. The biggest climber into the top 12 in period 8 came from "So Fetch" (Stantec, UK), whose impressive 22% growth and 50 place gain moved them up to 12th.

Ominously for the leading teams serial Enginuity Champions WSP USA are beginning to look very strong at the mid point of the Preliminary Rounds, with all 4 of their teams in the top 40, and "Contented Minds" (WSP USA) continuing to be the cream of their crop in 7th. There is now nearly 200 points separating the top 12, the widest gap at the top so far, but there are still a large number of teams well placed to unseat the leading teams if they falter, and some surely will as the pressure of the race to final takes hold. Watch this space!

And so to the latest ENGINUITY TWITTER FEEDS :-

  • Who were the star performers in terms of overall improvement and positional gain this week ?
    In terms of performance the accolade went to "Forget abou-rit" (Hatch, South Africa) with an eye catching 34% growth that catapulted them from the wrong end of the table into mid table. In terms of positional gain the plaudits went to "#1 Enigma" (Arcadis, Australia) with an impressive 56 place rise, and up to just outside the top 40.

  • The top of the Enginuity leaderboard always has an international feel, and this year is no exception. Currently the top 12 teams have team members from all over the globe, and perhaps significantly after a United States' teams has been the Champions for the last 5 years, there is a feeling that a team from another part of the world could change that this year, but there is still a long way to go.

  • The Enginuity Crystal Ball is feeling pleased with itself this week after predicting "Euston we have a problem" (Network Rail, UK) as dark horses in this year's comptetition, and the Oracle's confidence was rewarded this week with a 2-place move up to 14th, and they have certainly signalled their intention to claim a place in this year's final.

  • It was a good week for the three Buro Happold team as they all posted positive growth figures. Leading the way in their internal battle are "Burrito Happold" (Buro Happold, UK) whose 11% improvement moved them up to 21st, and well placed to challenge the teams above them in the second half of the Preliminary Rounds.

  • The Enginuity competition is a stern test of resolve, and the ability to recover from setbacks; a real test of character. There are many examples each week of teams who demonstrate this, and in period 8 the "Fitzroy Financiers" (Arup, UK) grew by an impressive 13% that moved them up 7 places, and away from the foot of the table, and the handful of teams who are currently below their starting position back in period 5 will be hoping for a similar reaction in the next round.

Running a successful construction business requires effective internal decisions to be made, such as bidding competitively to win new work, and progressing jobs as profitably as possible. However, external economic, political and environmental WORLD EVENTS can also impact upon the business. Clues to some of the events, but not necessarly all of them, are reported in the ENGINUITY NEWS NETWORK (ENN) each period, and close examination of this valuable new source may influence the current and future strategy of the business. For example, in period 8 an article in the ENN reported that "As preparations continue for the 2024 Olympics in Paris, construction companies operating in the country fear a shortage of workers in the next 6 months, and are looking at sourcing the shortfall from elsewhere. The shortage of labour would raise labour costs, and increases build costs on jobs progressed for contractors operating in France, affecting profit margins.

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

Sponsor league tables (3 or more teams):-
AECOM
Buro Happold
Cundall
Hatch
Jacobs
Laing O'Rourke
Mott Macdonald
RSBG
Stantec
Tonkin & Taylor
WSP




PERIOD 9:  "The Ministry continue to govern with Authority!"

As the teams entered the second half of the Preliminary Rounds, the problems with UNKNOWN bidders from the previous round were a distant memory with encouragingly well over 80% of them recording positive growth during period 9, and once more there was lots of movement in the league table with 4 new entries into the top 12.

At the very top of the table there was finally some stability as the "Ministry of Wopus" (WSP New Zealand) held onto top spot with 1,873 pts. Their nearest challengers are now "Babble Royale" (Jacobs, UK/Ireland/USA/Saudi Arabia), who climbed two places to second, and are believed to be using the little known, but clearly effective, 'Kinsella' strategy. Jacobs' teams continue to occupy many of the leading places, 6 of the top 12, with Stantec also still well represented. WSP USA, looking to repeat their success in 2017, 2018 and 2020, continue to be a threat with "JBD3" (WSP USA) now their leading team after moving up 10 places to 9th.

As many teams look to trying to secure a place in the Final, it is worth looking back at the last year's Competition, and what level of KPI growth was needed to qualify for the Final. In 2021 at the end of period 12 a score of 2,093 pts was enough to secure a place in the Final. In average terms this is equivalent to growing by an average of 137 additional KPI points each period, based upon each team starting the Competition at the beginning of period 5 with 1,000 points. Currently the team occupying the last qualification place for the Final, "Mango" (Jacobs, UK/India) have also averaged 137 points each period so far, indicating that the Competition is unfolding in similar vein to last year, and it is something to bear in mind for the teams hoping to break into the top 12 by the end of the Preliminary Rounds.

Diversifying through Targeted investments can produce benefits to jobs being progressed through reductions in both build costs and risk costs and delays, which can make a real difference to job and company profitability. However, occasionally this can be a risky strategy when the company being invested in is in danger of going bust, and those investing in National Aggregate Plc were warned in period 7 about 'the company issuing profit warnings' and then in period 8 of the 'threat of administration next period', and in period 9 National Aggregate Plc did indeed go bust, and only 38% of the investment was recovered for those that had continued to invest in the company.

And so to the latest ENGINUITY TWITTER FEEDS :-

  • Who were the star performers in terms of overall improvement and positional gain this week ?
    In terms of performance the plaudits went to "Better than the Best WSP" (WSP Australia, Australia) with an impressive 33% improvement. The team from Down Under also shared the best positional gain, along with "Chock-A-Block" (Cundall, UK), who both made significant 48-place climbs up the league table.

  • It was 2015 when AECOM were last Champions, but hopes are growing that this could be their year again, especially after impressive growth figures from all their teams in period 9. Leading their challenge are "Mission AECOMplished" (AECOM, UK), who moved up 26 places to 13th, and just outside the top 12, with previous leaders "AECOMplete Shambles" (AECOM, UK) still well placed inside the top 20.

  • The Enginuity Crystal Ball may have mystical powers, but it also pays a lot of attention to solid facts, and is always looking at a team that is making steady, but consistent progress up the table. So, it is no surprise that "2030 Net Heroes" (Cundall, UK) have caught the Oracle's eye this week after moving from 43 to 8 over 5 rounds, and hoping to become the first ever Cundall Enginuity Champions.

  • After the problems faced by many teams back in period 6, it has been really encouraging how many of the management teams have recovered well, and there are now only 5% of them below their starting KPI position of 1,000 points back in period 5, the lowest percentage in any round so far. Can the 5% now rally and improve their position in the remaining three Preliminary Rounds ?

  • On the whole Laing O'Rourke teams continue to manage their virtual businesses well, with "LOR & Order" (Laing O'Rourke, UK) currently their star performers, and holding the internal bragging rights after 9% growth moved them up to 20th, and well placed to put further pressure on the teams above them.

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

Sponsor league tables (3 or more teams):-
AECOM
Buro Happold
Cundall
Hatch
Jacobs
Laing O'Rourke
Mott Macdonald
RSBG
Stantec
Tonkin & Taylor
WSP




PERIOD 10:  "The Ministry continue to lay down the rules"

At this stage of the Competition you can usually expect a level of stability in the league table, with less movement in and out of the top 12, and so it proved in period 10 with just 3 new entries into the qualifying positions for the final at the three-quarter point in the Preliminary Rounds. Overall it was another good round for many teams, with 81% posting positive growth, and a number of teams at the wrong end of the table rallying well once more. With just 2 Preliminary Rounds to go before the finalists are revealed, there is all to play for, with many teams just outside the top 12 still well placed to make their move should the leaders slip up, and it will be a fascinating finale to the first stage of this year's Competition.

And so to the period 10 action. At the very top of the table there was no change in the top three, with the "Ministry of Wopus" (WSP New Zealand) continuing to head the field with 1,999 pts, but "Babble Royale" (Jacobs, UK/Ireland/USA/Saudi Arabia) in second have cut their lead to just 24 points, and previous leaders "Stratagem" (Jacobs, India) held firm in 3rd, but only just from "Whatever it takes" (Stantec, Italy). Of the new entries into the top 12, hot on the heels of the leaders are the team from Arizona, "Sonoran Hotdogs" (WSP USA), who made the most impressive move, a 13 place rise up to 11th, and both "Business Gurus" (Atkins India, India) and "Zoom Construction Co" (Hatch, South Africa) returned to the top 12 as they bid to become the inaugural Champions for their sponsors.

A recent report in a leading international construction journal posed the question "What makes a successful construction business ?". The author's answer, backed up by some leading industry experts, was that the essential ingredients are an effective marketing strategy, competitive tendering and successful completion of contracts, but there are many other factors that can make the crucial difference between being a 'successful', and an 'outstandingly successful' business. These included targeted investments, employing the most suitable staff and effective overhead management
Also, increasingly important is the role that an effective risk management policy can play. Take the 24m project in Iraq to upgrade a nuclear power plant near Fallujah, Al Anbar for Iraq Enery. Civil unrest had been identified as a medium possibility, and during period 10, the 3rd quarter of the job, they caused problems for the contractor at a reported cost of around 300k. However, it could have been far worse if the chosen contractor had not employed one of the most highly respected project managers in the Energy field, along with an investment stake in a risk management company, all of which helped to mitigate the affect of the civil unrest, and reduce the final bill.

And so to the latest ENGINUITY TWITTER FEEDS :-

  • Who were the star performers in terms of overall improvement and positional gain this week ?
    In terms of performance the accolade went to "The J Team" (Jacobs, UK) whose impressive 30% growth lifted them away from the foot of the table, and helped the management team survive a potential emergecy shareholder meeting to discuss the company's plight, but that is now on hold! In terms of positional gain the plaudits went to "Shunyaant" (Stantec, India) whose 54 place gain moved them into the top half of the table, but they still have some work to do get back into a place in the top 12 they held at the end of period 5.

  • The top of the leaderboard continues to have a truly global feel, with teams containing participants from all over the world, and it is looking possible that a team from outside the United States may win the Competition for the first time since 2016. From a UK persepctive, and just hanging onto the top 12 are "2030 Net Heroes" (Cundall, UK), who continue to be the highest rankled team solely from the UK.

  • Every year there are a few new sponsors to Enginuity, and this year's first timers are Auckland Transport, ISG and PA Consulting. If they had their own NEWBEE mini league table at this stage it would be "AoTearoa Projects" (Auckland Transport, New Zealand) at the top as they are currently in 33rd place, and still in with an outside chance of qualifying for a place in the final.

  • The Enginuity Crystal Ball locked itself away in a dark room this week, but the darkness was soon illuminated as its light shone on "LOR & Order" (Laing O'Rourke, UK). The team from LOR UK headquarters in Bridge Place were in the top 12 at the end of period 6, but fell back in periods 7 and 8, but are now making progress back up the leaderboard, and it is this determination to succeed that has caught the Oracle's eye as potential finalists if they continue their upward trajectory.

  • RSBG, incorporating Pell Frischmann, have 6 teams competing this year. Although none of them are currently highly placed in the table, they are having their own intense battle for bragging rights. Currently their star performers are "Cosmos" (RSBG, UK), but only just with the "The RSBee-Gees" (RSBG, UK) hoping that the remaining two Preliminary Rounds will signal tragedy for their colleagues!

League table at the end of period 10
Improvements, or otherwise, during period 10

Sponsor league tables (3 or more teams):-
AECOM
Buro Happold
Cundall
Hatch
Jacobs
Laing O'Rourke
Mott Macdonald
RSBG
Stantec
Tonkin & Taylor
WSP




PERIOD 11:  "'Babble Royale' tower above their rivals at last"

The penultimate round of the Preliminary Rounds encouragingly saw 82% of the teams post positive growth figures in period 11, and as the final comes into sight 9 teams retained their positions in the top 12, with 3 new entries, but there is still a sizeable chasing pack still in contention, and the tension is palpable, and there are sure to be lots more surprises before the identity of the 12 finalists is revealed next week. And with 7 different sponsors in the top 12, and representing all regions of the world, another global final is on the cards.

And so to the action in period 11. After being in the top 12 since the beginning of the Competition, and second for the last two rounds, the multinational team "Babble Royale" (Jacobs, UK/Ireland/USA/Saudi Arabia) finally climbed to the top of the table at the end of period 11 with 2,153 pts. The new leaders have also opened up a substantial 50 point lead over the "Ministry of Wopus" (WSP New Zealand), who dropped back to second, with "Whatever it takes" (Stantec, Italy) moving up one place to 3rd. The 3 new entries into the top 12 were "Stantogether" (Stantec, Australia), after an impressive 30-place rise up to 4th, "JBD3" (WSP USA) and "Euston we have a problem" (Network Rail, UK), whose first time in the qualifying places for the Final could be perfectly timed, and it reenforces the faith shown previously by the Enginuity Crystal Ball in them as dark horses. The "2030 Net Heroes" (Cundall, UK) held onto 12th place for the second consecutive round, and if it is third time lucky they will be in the final next week!

The teams that qualify for a place in the Final will carry on with their businesses as they are at the end of the Preliminary Rounds, or early years. However, the final, or later years will present a number of new challenges. In particular, each of the 'human' teams will be in direct competition for work against each other, with just one additional simulated rival. This adds more uncertainty to the bidding process, and added to this contract awards are not just based upon price, but upon client relationships, so relationships built up over the early years take on added significance in the later years, and marketing strategies assume added significance as niche markets become very attractive. Only the team able to cope the best under the increased pressure, and with the most effective and robust strategy for competing in this challenging global environment, would eventually emerge as the 2022 Champions.

And so to the latest ENGINUITY TWITTER FEEDS :-

  • Who were the star performers in terms of overall improvement and positional gain this week ?
    In terms of performance the plaudits went to "Stantogether" (Stantec, Australia), whose 26% growth was the best in the round by some distance, and more importantly it catapulted them from 34th up to 4th place, and into a strong position for a place in the final. The team from Melbourne also shared the accolade for the best positional gain, as their 30-place rise was matched by the "Stantastic Gnomes" (Stantec, United States), who moved into mid table, rounding off a good week for a number of Stantec teams.

  • What makes Enginuity is so challenging is that just like the real world it simulates, it can be very unpredictable, and as well as the KNOWN bidders that can adjust their bidding strategy as market conditions dictate, there are also potentially UNKNOWN rival bidders for each job, who can be very aggressive on price, such as the Crayford Road Group in period 11. The only way to counter this threat when bidding is to set margins a lot lower than anticipated, but this also comes at a price in that any jobs won will then have a lower profit in the bid, but on the balance of risk this is a strategically better decision to guarantee future workload.

  • In the final round of the Competition there are always surprises, and one or two teams make a late move into the top 12, as happened last year when 4 teams timed their last Preliminary Round to perfection to claim a place in the final. This year the Enginuity Crystal Ball has been busy looking at what will be neede by teams currently outside the top 12 to achieve this, and the reveered sage has made the bold prediction that a 15% growth could be enough. We shall see!

  • A European team (from outside the UK) has not won the Competition since 2010, when a team from Fluor became the first ever Enginuity Champions, but could "Whatever it takes" (Stantec, Italy) be about to emulate them. It is looking a distinct possibility, especially as they have never been out of the top 12. I am sure that the rest of the Stantec group, and especially their Italina colleagues, will be wishing them "in bocca al lupo" in the final Preliminary Round.

  • One really encouraging aspect again this year is how many of the teams are heeding the words of the title of the 1985 Billy Ocean classic, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going", with now the least number of teams, only 3, below their starting position of 1,000 points at this stage than for many years.

League table at the end of period 11
Improvements, or otherwise, during period 11

Sponsor league tables (3 or more teams):-
AECOM
Buro Happold
Cundall
Hatch
Jacobs
Laing O'Rourke
Mott Macdonald
RSBG
Stantec
Tonkin & Taylor
WSP






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