Engineering consulting is perhaps the oldest and broadest consulting discipline. Engineering consulting continues to broaden with the foundation sub-disciplines of chemical, civil, electrical and mechanical coming together in different combinations to create the inter-disciplines of aeronautical, biomedical, industrial and mechatronics.
Today, the skill-set required embraces scientific, economic, social and practical knowledge in order to invent, design, build, maintain and improve the subject of the engineering consulting project, structures, machines, devices, systems, materials.
Popular engineering consulting categories
These are the top areas of engineering consulting, and their scope:
- Aeronautical – design, analyse and develop flight vehicles
- Biomedical – design and develop biomedical devices
- Chemical – develop processes to convert chemicals into more useful or valuable forms
- Civil – design public and private works
- Electrical – design and develop electrical and electronic systems
- Industrial – apply a methodical or quantitative approach to optimise how a process, system, or organisation operates
- Mechanical – design physical or mechanical systems
- Mechatronics – design and develop computer-controlled systems
- Software – design, develop and maintain software.
Three factors for a successful engineering consulting project
Having a clear brief that sets out the desired outcomes for your engineering consulting project is essential at the start. But as work progresses and the actual project outcomes become known, the ‘actual does not equal desired’ equation comes into play. So the brief may need to be changed, and you must acknowledge this from the start.
Engineering consulting projects are significant and very tangible events over long periods of time, so the project management has to be flawless. Please refer to our Project Management category page for PM tips and tricks.
Selecting, tailoring and deploying the ‘right’ methodology is very important. Engineering is very structured, and each discipline has its own methods. So before the start of the project there will be several methodologies to choose from. During the project, there will be methodology tailoring as intermediate outcomes are reviewed, resulting in changes to the project path.
What to look for in an engineering consultant
Engineering consulting is one discipline where the majority of the consultants have a formal certification founded upon years of academic study and monitored practice, plus on-going formally measured professional development. And once you have found a consultant with the appropriate technical skills, check out their problem-solving ability. The twists and turns of engineering consulting projects demand that your consultant must have good problem-solving skills too.
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