The global geotechnical engineering market is expected to double in the coming years, thanks to a rapid rise in the demand for geotechnical services.
A market research report released last year found that the global geotechnical engineering market is expected to grow to $10.6 trillion (USD) in 2030, up from $5 trillion in 2018.
While other reports don’t anticipate quite the same level of growth — there is one very clear trend across the board — the demand for Geotech services is set to boom over the coming years!
These reports attribute this rapid market growth to a few key factors:
• Growing demands for energy and for mineral products have led to the development of the mining and renewable energy
industry, fuelling the need for the geotechnical services.
• Human-caused climate change is causing tropical storms to have greater intensity and power. As a result,
governments across the world are building more natural and artificial disaster-resilient structures by increasing
investments in infrastructure development.
• Ever increasing population densities in urban centres continues to create sky rocketing land prices around the
world, making it financially sound to build on more geotechnically challenging blocks.
• Scientific advancements in geotechnical engineering technology are allowing engineers to build vital infrastructure
in more difficult zones.
How to prepare for this rising demand?
So good news! It looks like there will be plenty of work for Geotechs to win over the next few years. The question then, is how can Geotechs scale up and capitalise on market highs while surviving the market lows?
To put it simply, Geotechs must scale sustainably.
As work increases and Geotechs begin to struggle with the workload, the first knee jerk reaction will be to hire more people before considering inefficient, non-scalable process. Fuelling an inefficient machine with personnel leaves money on the table, guaranteeing Geotech consultancies feel the full weight of overheads during market lows.
The solution then is for Geotechs to streamline their internal processes and remove bottlenecks first.
To understand the best way to do this, one must first understand the type of Geotech consultancy internal processes that exist:
• Physical Processes: These are usually core Geotech processes (e.g., lab testing) that can be automated. While
important, the return on ROI into physical process optimisation usually takes years to recover.
• Informational Processes: These include the processes associated with information transfer, documentation, and
reporting within a consultancy. These processes contribute just as much — if not more — to Geotech consultancy
overheads but are much easier to optimise using technology and software with little to no organisational risk (such
as trialling software for free or monthly subscriptions).
With informational processes being easier to optimise than physical ones, let’s have a look at the best ways to streamline these.
• Data collection: Software products such as TabLogs can help consultancies reduce costs by allowing engineers to
generate finished graphical logs on site. This prevents engineers from having to conduct timely manual data entries
back in the office, meaning engineers can provide borehole logs to their clients quickly thus removing a well-known
bottleneck from the geotechnical investigation process.
• Accounting (e.g. payroll, invoicing, purchase orders, banking etc): Up until recently, these roles have been
carried out by a team of staff. However, this can now be done with one bookkeeper using accounting software like
Xero or QuickBooks.
• Project management and cost control: Software such as WorkflowMax can plug into Xero, streamlining this process
with your bookkeeper.
Reducing overheads and streamlining business processes will be for Geotechs to remain competitive in the growing market moving forward. This is the best way to make sure you don’t keep filling a leaky bucket!