Process Engineering: From Concept to Profitability With One Simple Decision

How can intricately designed processes move from concept to completed and profitable operations in less time, with fewer resources, and with less capital? This is the critical challenge that many process engineers and production facilities alike are trying to solve within chemical, petrochemical, agriculture, mineral processing, and pharmaceutical sectors.

Process engineers can move from concept to profitability by deciding early on to bring an engineering partner to the table. Here’s why.


The Reality Facing Today’s Process Engineers

The process engineer likely spends months defining a process that helps the company achieve Top Quartile success. The team has spent hours upon hours upon hours testing, refining, and validating the process. With a finalized process in place, it’s time to win executive approval and install the technology in the facility. 

This is where many teams find trouble. 

Most process engineering teams simply lack the manpower to perform the thousands (or millions) of tedious tasks required to define and build a capital project within the facility. As the concept moves into scoping, construction, and commissioning—many teams find themselves overwhelmed and frequently behind schedule.

Supplementing Your Process Engineering Team

The Process Engineer can position themselves for success by selecting an outside engineering agency to supplement the PE team to help ensure project success. 

Sometimes, an engineering firm is like the 800lb gorilla in the room. They come in after the plan has been approved, and impose their own policies, processes, and practices that can bloat the project schedule and prevent you from hitting the “flip the switch” deadline. This is not what we’re talking about.  

We’re talking about finding an engineering partner who can work within your framework to add value and flexibility to your team—helping you move your project from concept to completion as quickly and efficiently as possible. This type of partner can help you: 

  • Determine the capital cost estimate to win project approval by performing economic viability studies, cost affirmation checks, and project feasibility studies
  • Translate process concepts and ideas into actionable construction drawings
  • Perform detailed engineering tasks your team may not have the bandwidth for (such as P&IDs, HAZOPs studies, and process control narratives)
  • Uncover gaps, misses, unrealistic timelines, and additional factors to Reality Check the project schedule
  • Translate your concept into thousands of data points that enable the contractor and construction teams to build the project on schedule
  • Build a Commissioning & Start Up Plan around systems and testing requirements—and execute against that plan to save your team valuable time

It’s not enough to design a process. For the work to be completed, the design must be fully drawn out, precisely documented, and built into an actionably workflow that can be smoothly transitioned to a contractor.

For resource-strapped process teams, it can pay off immensely to bring in an engineering partner to help you complete the process design into an actionable build plan.

Maximize the Value of Your Process Team

Apart from the obvious schedule benefits, there are many positive outcomes from having a well-planned & scheduled procurement effort. The most glaring benefits include:

  • An aggressive procurement strategy will require that most of the process decisions be made early in the project. This minimizes process decisions being made late in the project, which should ultimately minimize surprises, scope creep, and field change orders.
  • Since equipment is generally 40% of project cost, 40% of the project budget can be confirmed in the first several months of the project with timely procurement strategies.

Respect the Procurement Process

The right engineering partner can bring fresh vision, speed, and efficiency to supplement your process team across all stages of engineering and construction.

In our white paper, Process Engineering: From Concept to Profitability with a Small or Limited Team, we outline how the right engineering partner can support, equip, and empower your PE team to translate process designs into completed projects on-time and within-budget.

Download it today and learn the positive impact that an engineering partner can bring to your process engineering operations.

Topics: Process Engineering, Process