ENGINUITY 2020/The story of the final
|PERIOD 13: "A Titanic battle at the top, but who will stay afloat the longest ?"|
After 8 intensive and competitive Preliminary Rounds, an international line up prepared to do battle in the Enginuity 2020 Final, with 1 team from the UK, 4 from the United States, 1 from Canada, 2 from India, 1 from Qatar, 1 from South Africa, 1 from Australia, and 1 from New Zealand, and there was just 139 points separating the teams going into the 6-round Final. Defending champions Parsons were again well represented with three teams, as were previous winners WSP, with teams from Hatch, Jacobs and Stantec all hoping to become first-time winners.
During the early years (periods 5 to 12) the teams pitted their management skills in competition against computer-simulated rivals, but in the final, known as the later years, they were in direct competition for work against each other, with just one additional simulated rival. 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 in two weeks and a further 6 rounds' time as the 2020, and 11th Enginuity Champions. Who would it be ?
And so to the action in the first round of the Final, and period 13 saw the immediate impact of the increased competition, as growth rates and procurement margins were significantly down across the board, but there was plenty of movement in the table, and just 5 points separate the top three teams. Previous leaders "Margam" (Jacobs, India) slipped to 10th after failing to secure any new work, although very few would bet against them rectifying this in the next quarter. This left the door open for "Stantastic" (Stantec, Australia) to climb one place, and finally sit proudly at the top of the table for the first time in the Competition with 2,406 pts, but their lead is a tenuous one with dark forces only 2 points further back as "J-EMPIRE II" (Jacobs, UK) also moved up one place. And ominously for the rest of the field last year's runners up those "Jersey Geoengineers" (Parsons, United States) shot up 4 places to 3rd after posting the best performance in the round, 7% growth, and only 5 points separate the early pacesetters in the final.
Further down the table the biggest positional gain came from "Business as Usual" (Hatch, South Africa), demonstrating that they fully deserved just squeezing into the final as they moved 5 places up the table from 12th to 7th, but at the wrong end of the table "Parsons Pentagon View" (Parsons, United States) failed to secure any new work, and will need to rethink their bidding strategy in the light of the increased competition for new work. However, it is still early days, and there will be lots more twists and turns in the 5 remaining rounds before we know the identity of the 2020 Champions.
A new dilemma being faced by the management teams during the later years is the level of dividend to pay their shareholders. In the early years there had been more certainty in the affect of paying particular levels, but the increased competition has seen shareholders looking around to see what others were receiving, and this was causing fluctuations in the dividend affects on share price as expectations went up and down. However, it is not just a matter of paying huge dividends, as this could put company finances under threat, and the key was to find the right balance between keeping shareholders happy, and what the company could afford.
|PERIOD 14: "The Empire is quelling the rebellion, but fo how long ?"|
The second round of the Final saw the rollercoaster beginning to get into full momentum with every team changing position, and winning some new work, reflecting how competitive it is, and the key move came at the top of table as the flag bearers for the UK, "J-EMPIRE II" (Jacobs, UK), once more showed signs that the rebellion is being quelled as they moved into pole position with 2,497 pts, and they have opened up a 28 point lead to last year's runners up those "Jersey Geoengineers" (Parsons, United States), with "Hatcha La vista" (Hatch, Canada) climbing one place to 3rd.
The best performance in the round came from "Margam" (Jacobs, India), who showed their resolve after recovering from a previous decline to post 6% growth, and a 4 place move up 6th. At the wrong end of the table two Parsons' teams are locked together as "Parsons Pentagon View" (Parsons, United States) rallied to just overtake "Mangineer" (Parsons, Qatar), but it is still early days in the final and there will be lots more twists and turns ahead.
With margins under pressure, progressing work as profitably as possible takes on added significance, and one key element of this is an effective risk management strategy. 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.
This approach was demonstrated perfectly in period 14 on the redevelopment of the Central Business District for Johannesburg Vision. The availability of plant that had been highlighted as a medium potential risk struck in the third quarter of the planned 5-period job. This was unfortunate for the contractor, "Sac the Competition" (WSP US, United States), and should have inflicted around 200k of additional cost. However, the contractor had taken some of the effective risk management actions outlined above, and this resulted in the final cost of the risk being reduced substantially. A source from the marketing and publicity department at the Company commented that the company devotes a great deal of effort to mininising costs and delays to their contracts, and that risk management was a key tool in the company's management armoury.
|PERIOD 15: "Its take off again for the Geo-Engineers as they put the boosters on"|
Like a lion circling its prey the "Jersey Geoengineers" (Parsons, United States) have been slowly moving in for the kill, from 3rd to 2nd and now finally they have their prey exactly where they want them as they regained the lead with 2,606 pts, and they have opened up a 40 point lead, the highest so far in the final, but there have been so many ups and downs so far that staying stationary at the top could prove difficult in the second half of the final.
In terms a new work secured period 15 proved to be a good quarter for all the management teams, with everyone winning at least one new contract, and "Margam" (Jacobs, India) picking up 4! "Stantastic" (Stantec, Australia) are back up to second after climbing two places, and keep an eye on marvellous "Margam" (Jacobs, India) who for the second successive round posted the best results and positional gain, a 10% improvement and 3-place gain respectively. Previous leaders and UK flag bearers "J-EMPIRE II" (Jacobs, UK) slipped back to 4th, with the "Flying Doraemon with Extra wings" (Jacobs, UK) back in 5th ensuring that all 3 Jacobs's teams are still very well placed, with just 58 points separating he 4 teams hot on the heels of the leaders. Further down the table there was not much change in positions, apart from "Mangineer" (Parsons, Qatar) moving clear of "Parsons Pentagon View" (Parsons, United States) after 4% growth in their own private battle for supremacy.
There are inherent risks in all construction work, and during period 15 this became apparent once more, and one example stands out in particular. The management team of "Hatcha la vista" (Hatch, Canada) will not be feeling quite so fortunate about the contract they won for the Al-Blajat Tower residential development for the Doha Development Group as hazardous materials found at site in the first quarter of the job created additional costs of around 270k. Fortunately the company's effective risk management strategy saw the final cost come in 47% lower, but still a blow to both job and company profits.
|PERIOD 16: "'Hasta La Vista' they cried as they sped away from the field"|
This year's Competition has delivered what could be the biggest surprise yet as "Hatcha La vista" (Hatch, Canada) produced a stunning 14% growth to move into the fast lane, overtaking the four teams above them to become the new leaders with 2,704 pts at the end of period 16. The question now is can their rivals hatch a plan successful enough to catch them, or are they destined to become the first Canadian Enginuity Champions ? An intriguing final two rounds lies ahead, and a lot of nailbiting and burning of the midnight oil.
The new leaders have around a 90-point cushion to the chasing pack, led by "Stantastic" (Stantec, Australia), who stayed second as the previous leades "Jersey Geoengineers" (Parsons, United States) stuttered for the first time to drop back to third, but 9% growth from "Building Suspense" (WSP US, United States) moved them up 3 places to 4th, and their highest position to date. It was not such a good round for Jacobs' teams as the "Flying Doraemon with Extra wings" (Jacobs, UK) had their wings clipped as they fell 3 places, and the leaders from period 14 "J-EMPIRE II" (Jacobs, UK) slipped back, and will be beginning to think the new Republic is gaining the upper hand, or is it ? The battle at the wrong end of the table shows no signs of letting up with just 15 points now separating "Mangineer" (Parsons, Qatar) and "Parsons Pentagon View" (Parsons, United States), with both posting decent growth figures of 5 and 9% respectively. There are mini battles for supremacy up and down the table, but most eyes will be looking to the top as the destiny of the 2020 Enginuity Champions gets closer!
At this stage an effective procurement strategy is critical to securing profitable work, and growing the business. As a result of previous marketing decisions, targeting marketing effort into particular countries and sectors can enable a company to find a NICHE MARKET, with potentially very few rival contractors bidding for the work available, and if the company has built up strong client relationships this can also increase the chances of winning the work where the bids are close. In period 16 one example of nich bidding caught the eye involving "Stantastic" (Stantec, Australia). The Tender Report for the quarter reveals that the company were bidding for a large building and commercial contract on New Zealand's South Island to build a new branch for Dubai Holdings Plc, and were only bidding against Paris-based Eifel Construction, and they were able to secure the job, and guarantee further workload for the company's workforce because they were much lower in price than their rival. If there had been more companies submitting bids it could have been a different story.
|PERIOD 17: "One round to go, and the suspense is building in more ways than one!"|
In what has been the most changeable Enginuity Final in 11 years, it is only fitting that the identity of the 2020 Champions is going right down to the wire, and a tense finale is in store as there were further changes in all the top five positions!
The most dramatic move in period 17 came from the aptly named New York based "Building Suspense" (WSP US, United States) who surged up 4 places to become the latest new leaders with 2,838 pts after outpeforming their rivals with 11% growth, and amazingly none of the team have competed before. Could the title be returning to WSP ? Well, it is certainly not a done deal with only 36 points separating the top 4 teams going into the final round. The "Jersey Geoengineers" (Parsons, United States) are back in the frame, and back up to second, and never rule out the force that is "J-EMPIRE II" (Jacobs, UK), who wheeled their light sabers to good affect to potentially quell off the latest rebellion as they climbed one place to 3rd, with previous leaders "Hatcha La vista" (Hatch, Canada) slipping back to 4th, but it could all be a ploy, and part of the plan they have hatched to sacrifice short-term gain for ulimate success.
The "Jersey Geoengineers" (Parsons, United States) gained well over 200 in the quarter, so even the teams as far down as 7th place are still nout out of the running with a stunning finish, particularly as several teams lost out on key bids that gives them the scope to win even more work in peiod 18, and there are still finishing positions to play for in the final round throughout the table.
|PERIOD 18: "WSP rejoice as 'Building Suspense' are crowned Champions!"|
In one of the closest finishes in the Competition History, and having timed their run perfectly to the top, "Building Suspense" (WSP US, United States) held onto the lead in the final round to be crowned as the Enginuity 2020 Champions with a finishing score of 2,970 pts, and in doing so ensured that not only did the title return to WSP after their last success two years ago, but also that the United States have trumped their rival countries once more by producing the winning team for the fourth consecutive year, despite strong competition from across the globe. The victory for the team from New York was made even more impressive because none of the team had took part in an Enginuity Competition before, and this will give great encouragement to future teams in the same position.
In a tense final round the leading three teams all grew by between 4% and 5%, and it meant that the "Jersey Geoengineers" (Parsons, United States) could not quite close the gap to the leaders, and for the second successive year they finished runners up, but still a notable achievement, and they were only 15 points adrift at the end. "Hatcha La vista" (Hatch, Canada) moved back up one place to finish 3rd, and despite launching a more powerful Death Star toward the end it was not quite enough for "J-EMPIRE II" (Jacobs, UK) to quell the rebellion as they dropped one place to fourth, but they were the top placed UK team in this year's Competition. Such was the measure of quality between the finalists that there was less than 50 points between the top four team at the end, and all the way down the final table the teams should be proud of their performance, finishing in the top 12 of another large international field of 200 starters, a superb effort, and they would all be a sound long term investment if it was the real world.
The journey has certainly been a long one for the finalists, involving three and half simulated years of management through the early and later years, both in the UK and globally. The global nature of the challenge opened up numerous strategies that could have been adopted, and the teams will look back at their own, and whether they would have done things differently if they could start all over again. In the end there can only be one winner, but they have all demonstrated that they have developed exceptional management skills, combined with effective team dynamics, both essential drivers to success.