July 2021

Special Focus: Plant Design, Engineering and Construction

Why EPC firms are accelerating digitalization

Even before the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) firms were already under considerable stress.

Donnelly, P., AspenTech

Even before the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) firms were already under considerable stress. Combining low net margins with the burden of carrying much of the project risk was resulting in general underperformance by the sector. When plant owner-operators announced capital spending cuts in the range of 20%–50%, it looked like engineering firms were about to enter another cyclical downturn. Interestingly, the management of these firms, with the hard-won wisdom gained in previous downturns, did not act as one might have predicted. Instead of immediate deep cuts to personnel, engineering firms looked for alternative ways to pare cost

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