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PERIOD 5:  "'VFP Company' are the early pacesetters!"

After a period of intensive trialling the Birmingham City University / CPE (Hong Kong) Enginuity 2024 Competition is underway, with a competitive field of teams all battling for supremacy against their peers. And so to the action, and all the teams made excellent starts, with the early pacesetters after 36% growth being "VFP Company" with 1,355 pts, but they cannot rest on their laurels with the chasing pack not far behind led by the "Excellent Construction Limited". 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.

2023 proved to be another turbulent year for the UK. Food and energy prices rose sharply, caused largely by global supply chain disruptions and the effects of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, resulting in a Cost of Living crisis in the UK, and the Bank of England were forced to increase interest rates many times to combat rising inflation, with resulting growth of only around 0.4% in the whole of 2023.
Hopes were growing towards the end of 2023 that 2024 could see some green shoots of recovery, with interest rates reaching their potential peak. However, many observers are sceptical with the upcoming general election, and a likely change of Government expected to prolong the uncertainty for businesses and delay investment, and growth is expected to fall to 0.3% in 2024.

Further afield global real GDP grew by around 2.9 percent in 2023, but is expected to slow to 2.5 percent in 2024, weighed down by high inflation and continued monetary policy tightening. Growth forecasts for 2024 are generally strongest in emerging Asian economies, and weakest in Europe and the US.
The outlook is not helped by the continued impact of the Russia invasion of Ukraine, and the Israel invasion of Palestine in the Middle East, all potentially putting further global pressures on energy prices across the world.

League table at the end of period 5

PERIOD 6:  "The 'VFP Group' stay top after a tough period"

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.

There was no change at the top of the table as the "VFP Company", despite a 10% decline which saw their KPI total slip to 1,224 pts, were still able to hold off the challenge of "Star", who moved up one place to second. The "Excellent Construction Limited" had a particularly tough quarter as they failed to win any new work in period 6, which saw their forward workload and margin KPIs tumble, and they will need to look carefully at their bidding strategy to set margins that are competitive enough to enable them to bounce back in period 7 and boost their order book.

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

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