Do you hate it when someone answers a question with another question?  You ask, “When should I hire my marine engineering consultant?”  And I have to answer, “How do you want to work with them?”  By asking when, you showed great foresight, and now you should take that a step further.  You realized that marine consultants aren’t magic boxes that instantly produce results.  But did you consider how effective the consultant is, depending on which parts of the project they do for you?  I address this and more in my video:  “When to Hire a Consultant.”

problem - SolutionA marine consultant provides outside help.  The first step is to identify what type of help do you seek from a consultant?

 

  • Expertise
  • Manpower
  • Liability

The consultant can provide additional expertise; skills not currently in your company.  That makes sense for a single project.  But what about recurring needs?  Would you be better hiring a new employee and bringing that expertise inhouse?  I address this issue in the video; it depends on two important considerations:  cost of the expertise, and frequency of use. In this context, there are many cases where the marine consultant is the best option.

We also hire marine consultants for additional manpower.  A burst of resources to help additional project demand.  But humans are not universal machines who drop into a project with full capability.  You must consider the best way to split tasks and outsource to the consultant.  In the video, I break this down into three general departments.

  • Drafting
  • Project management
  • Engineering

I discuss the benefits of outsourcing each department to a marine consultant.

Many businesses don’t consider the last reason for hiring a marine consultant:  liability.  Any engineer is required to get their work perfect.  This means warranty support, and the risk of litigation if anything goes wrong.  We live in an uncertain world, where the wrong lawsuit can ruin a business.  Hire a marine consultant to make sure all that risk falls under their domain, not yours.  In the video, I discuss how to make this an effective strategy.

 

Back to the question that started all of this.  When should you hire a marine consultant?  When to start that process.  I recommend the rule of three.  Make an estimate of how long you think the project will take, and your deadline.  Now multiply that project schedule by three.  This is when you start talking to the marine consultant.  For example, imagine you have a project that you estimate will take one month to complete, with a deadline of Mar 1, 2018.  Then you should start talking to a marine consultant back in December 1, 2017!  But that rule does not cover every situation.  In the video, I discuss the logic behind the rule of three so that you can adopt it to any situation.

A marine consultant is a partnership, not just a tool you pickup from the shelf.  So work with the consultant and explore the best way to use this tool.  Because unlike that hammer which only works on nails, consultant can adapt and change to become exactly what you need.