Malcolm Pirnie – Client Spotlight

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009 0 comments

malcolm-pirnie-client-spotlightAbout Malcolm Pirnie, Inc.

Malcolm Pirnie, Inc. is one of the largest firms in the US and has more than a century-long history of consulting, with a concentration on water and the environment. For more than 100 years, the business has provided environmental engineering, science and consulting services to over 5,000 public and private clients.

Malcolm Pirnie has built its practice on technical excellence, innovation, and strategies for improved performance. With approximately 1,750 staff – comprising engineers, scientists, consultants, designers, architects and technical support personnel – in more than 60 offices based throughout the US, Malcolm Pirnie is committed to exceed its clients’ needs and expectations with forward-looking, environmentally sustainable solutions.

As an evolutionary strategist of environmental engineering solutions, Malcolm Pirnie is looking to expand its array of engineering, management and operational consulting services. This strategy includes the addition of solutions to help clients do more with less – such as to retrofit, reuse and recycle in order to conserve energy whilst reducing construction and operating costs.

Objectives

As with similar professional service companies, Malcolm Pirnie frequently needs to undertake a formal bid process in order to win work, typically in response to a RFP (Request for Proposal) from the client organisation. Once the Malcolm Pirnie team has produced a formal written response to such RFPs, the team is regularly required to attend interviews – sometimes known as ‘Best and Final’ – which are often the difference between winning and losing a bid.

m62 visualcommunications has assisted companies in this situation on more than 200 occasions and has developed specific processes and methodologies to maximise clients’ chances of winning, with a service titled: ‘m62 STAT’. Over the past 12 years, m62 clients have won well in excess of 70% of such bid opportunities, totalling many billions of pounds worth of commercial value.

glass-of-waterMalcolm Pirnie approached m62 to assist specifically with the creation of a presentation that was to be delivered to the Coquina Coast Alternative Water Supply Desalination Project client team, known collectively as “the Suppliers”. The presentation was required in response to a request for tender outlining the requirements for engineering and planning services to support a major alternative water supply project on Florida’s northeast coast. The project was cumulatively valued at US$1.2bn.

As is typical in such situations, the presentation team for the interview comprised numerous experienced presenters. The prevalence of engineers within the team resulted in the existing pitch presentation being highly technical and thereby not communicating sufficiently effectively with non-engineers, or on broader issues. Specifically, it was felt that the presentation lacked focus and commercial impact, and didn’t adequately demonstrate either the business’ differentiating qualities or the capability and commitment to providing a first class service.

Although Malcolm Pirnie initially commissioned m62 to assist with this specific opportunity, it was quickly identified that the creation of a dynamic presentation which incorporated a strong set of commercial messages that would appeal to technical and non-technical audiences alike would significantly benefit the business over the longer term, as it would form a blueprint for all future presentations. To date, Malcolm Pirnie has called upon m62’s assistance with four separate bid projects, of which, three have been won. The team is currently engaged in another project and six further bids are planned throughout the next year.

Challenges

In responding to the Coquina Coast Suppliers tender, the Malcolm Pirnie team needed to ensure that the presentation addressed commercial, political and public-facing issues, in addition to the technical elements involved.

In addressing the tender, the key challenge was not simply how to establish the team’s technical capability but, instead, how to differentiate the tender from the competition. Given the wide-ranging nature of the audience, it was necessary to address each individual’s requirements, from the layperson to the highly technical listener. Consequently, with the need for both breadth and focus, m62 was commissioned to advise Malcolm Pirnie regarding the correct approach to take in terms of both structure and content.

As is often the case with m62’s STAT service, m62 had limited time to understand the nature of the requirement, to provide the thinking upon which the presentation was to be based, to create the presentation and to train the team that would deliver it.

Solution

m62 STAT is about ensuring that the client not only has the best presentation but also that the bid team members perform to their optimum during the actual pitch. To this end, m62 provided Malcolm Pirnie with detailed consultancy in order to distil the organisation’s value proposition and also to determine the requirements of the tender, the target audiences and the style and focus of the presentation.

Commenting on the project, Edward Balchon of Malcolm Pirnie, said:

Working through the questions and undergoing a process of laying our presentation bare to the experts at m62 was a hugely beneficial process as it enabled us to clarify numerous points in terms of how they are received, which ultimately has led to an end result which suits a far broader range of audiences.

Having established Malcolm Pirnie’s core value proposition, m62 re-designed the existing presentation creating a simple yet impactful presentation that was geared towards audience engagement through focusing on the speaker. All distracting text and photos were eliminated – and graphics were added that enhanced and supported the presentation experience.

The m62 team then undertook training sessions with the presenters to ensure each member of the team was given the opportunity to practise delivering the presentation and to re-evaluate their presentation technique. In doing so, m62 ensured continuity of delivery across the team in terms of delivery and message content and also prepared the team to maximise question and answer opportunities arising from the presentation.

Results

From first contact to the final piece of presentation training, the entire process was completed in just three weeks. The resulting presentation was delivered to win the Malcolm Pirnie team both the first and second phases of the project – worth US$7M in fees – whilst positioning the business ideally with regards to phase three.

Edward Balchon added:

We were delighted at the reaction we saw from the Coquina Coast Suppliers. To have a group of potential clients comment hugely positively on the difference between our presentation and the competition’s proved that a well designed and delivered presentation really is the difference between winning or losing a pitch.

During the crunch before showtime, m62 worked extremely long hours, on both sides of the Atlantic, to help ensure that the presentation was exactly right. After our first meeting where the value propositions were defined and the presentation style was clarified, the m62 team worked tirelessly to meet our very short timescales.

According to m62, ‘stat’ derives its name from the Latin statim which means Steady, Dependable, Steadfast and Immediate… it’s a great name for a great service.

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