ACE to deliver transformational impact across the built environment

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value-based business models, ACE
©Vitalii Turchyn

The Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) has launched a plan to deliver transformational impact across 30% of the UKs GVA

Under ACE’s Future of Consultancy campaign, yesterday (15 October) saw the launch of the vision, including a new framework of value-based business models and an exports strategy, developed by and on behalf of ACE’s membership of more than 400 businesses.

The value-based models and exports strategy shows a year of extensive research and consultation between ACE and its members, clients and government. The research sets out a clear vison for what must be delivered by the consultancy sector, and how.

The report sets out a golden thread for the future of consultancy. It includes a whole life-cycle approach which redefines value, with operation, policy, and delivery working hand-in-hand to create a virtuous circle. 

ACE and its members are supporting consultancies with industry-wide solutions across innovation, value-based business models and skills.

The vision that has been set out yesterday allows for a transition into a new role for consultancies – a response to three drivers of change that are identified in the research; data; demand; and devolution.

Each of the following will be critical to the future success of technical consultancy:

New business models – Six new business models have been identified in the report, to encourage a shift of focus from a time and materials input based model, to output and outcome-based models.

Each of the six new models is underpinned by a commercial and supply chain structure based on ‘five capitals’ to help the industry define its true value – natural, social, financial, manufactured, human. 

Skills – The research points to a skills shortage not by number but by capability. With increased use of digital tools, along with changing client demands, a different blend of skills is required from businesses.

Focus must be placed on the whole life-cycle, with the required change in skills enabled by adoption of the new business models.

Innovation – Rewarding outputs will develop a sustainable return on investment, allowing for more investment into research and development.

The research points firmly to the need for industry pioneers to embrace the pace of technology across innovation, value-based business models and skills, alongside radical ways of working.

By investing in this new approach, ACE advises there will be strong export opportunities for the consultancy sector across 10 key markets: 

  1. United States
    2. India
    3. Indonesia
    4. Germany
    5. Australia
    6. Canada
    7. Mexico
    8. Saudi Arabia
    9. Malaysia
    10. Ethiopia

The outputs for the Future of Consultancy were shared at an industry-wide event yesterday, following the conclusion of intensive research and value-based business models.

Speaking at the launch, ACE’s chief executive, Hannah Vickers, said: “We’re committing the sector to a major step-change in productivity performance by fully embracing the fourth industrial revolution. This means better defining the value that consultancies bring beyond just built assets and construction.

“It also means embracing change, especially technology and new skills profiles, to ensure consultancy as a profession can also support the supply of infrastructure services and the transition to a cyber-physical system.   

“With emerging fast-paced technologies alongside a growing population and 2050 net zero targets for carbon emissions, now is the time for consultancy businesses to diversify, establish a new role and demonstrate their true value at the heart of British society.”

Graham Robinson, director of global construction perspectives and one of the authors of the Future of Consultancy exports report, added: “UK consultants and engineers are widely regarded as amongst the best in the world, but we need to embrace a seismic shift in order to future proof this sector. 

“If the recommendations of this report are acted upon and embraced, British consultancy will be strongly positioned to help nations around the world adapt to shifts in climate, technology and societal change.”

The value-based business models are encouraging the entire industry to embrace change to protect UK consultants and engineers into the next Century.  It is part-funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) as part of the Transforming Construction Challenge.  

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