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Are The Conventional Methods For Engineering Services Still Valid?

Gavin Christie

Gavin Christie
Jul 31, 2016 10:26

By 2020, independent workers will account for an estimated 40 per cent of the United States workforce. And that trend will sweep across the globe. Embracing this megatrend is a business imperative; harnessing it is a matter of business sustainability.

While some industries such as mining and manufacturing still require workers that are time and location bound, many sectors will embrace virtual workforces, connecting to work anytime, from anywhere, and on any device.

Several pioneering global companies have already used crowdsourcing to swiftly harness the power of the crowd for ideas, skills, and bandwidth. Aegon Insurance identified 200 licensed insurance agents to work in their telemarketing unit through crowdsourcing. Yelp developed a competition for data scientists in the crowd and hired the scientists with the winning entries. Microsoft used crowdsourcing to test its security suite, using local and regional testing sites and paid by the number of bugs found. Companies are realizing that the possibilities are endless.

In the engineering services sector, companies still rely heavily on localized industry experts, consulting firms, and in-house talent. These engineers are experts but their geographic proximity to clients is often their greatest fortune. Engineers are typically paid handsomely for their services, skills, and experience, and consulting firms further charge markups on their rates (sometimes with outrageous margins). These costs are all passed to the companies seeking engineering services.

In light of the crowdsourcing revolution, companies are beginning to ask: are the conventional procurement methods for engineering services still valid, operationally efficient, and cost-effective?

There are three recent economic and labor market conditions that provide an avenue for crowdsourcing models to flourish in the engineering services industry:

  • The market downturn in recent years (particularly in the mining sector) has led to significant reductions in the number of engineers in consulting firms. At the same time, engineers working in engineering firms are becoming disenfranchised from the companies and leaders for which they work.
  • Companies operating in cash-constrained environments where budgets and project pipelines are under cost pressure are actively investigating alternative methods of service procurement to reduce cost while maintaining quality.
  • Disruptors and existing crowdsourcing platforms are creating a deep desire across industries for more flexible work arrangements. Personal satisfaction and freedom are no longer secretly-wished-for professional aspirations. Flexibility is talked about; it’s even advertised in thriving spaces like marketing and tech.

Forward-thinking companies are increasingly sourcing collective engineering insight from a large number of individuals and recognizing this procurement model as superior. Platforms based on the fundamentals of crowdsourcing will enable companies to harnesses the creative and competitive spirit of engineers worldwide to solve all manner of problems. This shift in business philosophy will influence future competitiveness, agility, and growth.

Crowdsourcing allows businesses to bypass traditional procurement methods and access a low-overhead global talent pool. For engineers, sites like kkooee offer freedom, increased job satisfaction, and opportunities to market themselves on a global scale.

As an engineer, the question is not if, but rather when you’ll make the choice to join the crowdsourcing revolution and align yourself with an industry that’s transforming by the day.

Comments

I hope this article proves true. As a senior piping designer/checker I believe working virtually makes nothing but perfect sense.