Smart Automation Tools for Engineering Consultants

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Engineering consultancy combines expert services with active communication. It is focused on assisting clients with technical expertise and knowledge in specific fields. Areas of expertise of engineering consultants can vary from IT, civil engineering, automotive industry and other large sectors – from transport, defense and space to various niche areas.

Being an essential part of any efficient business process, automation, workflow and project management are not the only things crucial for engineering consultants. Software solutions designed to streamline work processes should also support teams in improving client communication, optimizing work processes and keeping detailed records of billable time.

Here’s our list of helpful software tools for engineering consultancies.

Timekeeping tools

Tracking time spent on work is an easy and consistent way to collect vital business data. Knowing where your time goes is necessary for creating perfect workflows, eliminating time-wasting activities, and becoming more productive. Timekeeping tools help teams and individuals reclaim high performance and stay efficient at work.

1. actiTIME

actiTIME’s core features – time tracking and project management – can help engineering teams make work-related behaviors more efficient, while also allowing them to streamline the processes of client billing and invoicing.

With this piece of software, you can create comprehensive work breakdowns and then make daily entries in the timesheet to collect data on billable time, labor expenses and the use of working hours by different team members. Consequently, these essential data may be applied to generate multiple reports, including those on individual and team productivity, project costs and revenues. Besides, time tracking statistics and work breakdowns can be utilized to create invoices and bills – a high level of detail in these documents will let you increase process transparency and justify the price of your services with ease.

2. Clockify

If you need a simple solution for tracking performance and productivity either for yourself as a self-employed professional or for your small engineering team, Clockify is what you need. This free and straightforward time tracker allows keeping records of working time, categorizing it by projects, running easy-to-read reports and calculating billable hours for specific periods. In addition, its mobile apps help track time and review the results on the go, adding more flexibility to your work process.

3. Todo.vu

Todo.vu is an integrated CRM, project management and timekeeping solution that works for freelancers, independent consultants and businesses. It helps track time spent on various tasks, keeps client contact details, supports checklists and syncs with calendars to avoid double data entry. You can use it in combination with any other project management tool or as a standalone solution.

CAD tools

Engineering consultancy companies and self-employed consultants who provide technical solutions to their clients need to pay special attention to the tool they are using for creating technical drawings, plans, models, etc. A CAD system, besides being functional and affordable, should comply with accepted engineering practices, support popular file formats and enable export for file processing in other tools.

1. AutoCAD-LT

A 2D CAD tool by the leading developer for engineers, architects, construction specialists and designers. It allows to prepare 2D drawings, plans, schemes, etc. and works on any device. The web and mobile apps make the tool accessible from anywhere. Its intuitive interfaces allow users to work quickly and deliver the result sooner.

2. DraftSight

A 2D drafting and 3D modeling tool that suits both experienced professionals and beginners. Its newest version is developed with focus on speed, efficiency and intuitive workflow. In this tool, you can easily go from 2D drafting to 3D design and back for a more detailed and efficient modeling process. It integrates with various solutions, which allows to manage your 2D or 3D designs.

3. Revit

Another solution by Autodesk for building information modelling (BIM) that helps prepare consistent and coordinated plans and designs. This tool suits for bureaus that focus their work not only around consultancy, but also prepare detailed projects with comprehensive visual documentation. For a more streamlined workflow, Revit can be integrated with other tools and services to connect various teams’ work.

4. FreeCAD

As the name of this solution suggests, it is completely free and suits for small teams and individual engineering consultants that need to create, edit or process 3D models of real-life objects. Easy switching between 2D plans and 3D models ensures detailed and comprehensive design process. Support for many file formats allows to use work results in other tools and integrate FreeCAD into your workflow.

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Project management and PSA tools

Automating operations and streamlining workflows is one of the crucial steps to creating an efficient work process. In engineering consulting where you work with many clients, a good project management or professional services automation (PSA) tool is a time-saver for managers. It helps stay on track, be always informed on the team’s progress, and efficiently tackle work tasks.

1. Easy Projects

Easy Projects is a comprehensive project management and PSA solution that helps engineering consulting professionals manage their work for multiple customers. It allows to manage complex projects, schedule work phases, allocate resources, analyze profits of specific projects and get vital data on work process and its progress.

2. Harmony

Harmony offers a visual way to manage your projects. It stores all your project-related data centrally and allows to visualize them on charts, schedules and boards. The tool helps manage the entire process, from tracking opportunities to managing revenue and expenses. It automates services, takes the pain out of routine operations and allows you to follow modern project management methodologies in your daily practice.

3. Forecast

A platform for managing operations and automating project and team management activities. It features work process management, scheduling, collaboration, reporting and other indispensable work management functions. With it assistance, you can focus on the actual work, deliver better quality and ensure clients’ satisfaction.

Proposal and quoting tools

Professional-looking proposals and quotes are important for businesses of any size, particularly for small consulting bureaus and independent professionals at the beginning of their career path. A professional proposal adds clarity to the communication with your clients and eliminates the hassle related to managing too many documents. That’s why implementing a special quoting tool in your workflow is worth considering.

1. Practice Ignition

This service allows you to create custom proposals and quotes for your prospective clients in just a few clicks. It not only saves team’s time spent on preparing clear documentation, but also reduces time to engage clients and collect payments on time. The service supports digital signatures, which means less document management and more time for your work.

2. Proposify

Proposify service allows you to create all sales documents possible – proposals, quotes, contracts and more – quickly and easily. It automates the sales process, keeps all data organized and streamlines the proposal tracking process. The tool can be helpful for dedicated sales professionals and for self-employed specialists who combine several business roles.

Accounting tools

Accounting can be a tedious and challenging process, especially for non-accountants, which is the case of most independent engineering consultants. However, special accounting tools created for non-accountants can help here. They take the pain out of keeping accurate records and managing documents, save time and ensure compliance with tax requirements.

1. Freshbooks

One of the most popular solutions for small businesses and self-employed professionals. It helps keep records of billable time, create invoices, manage expenses and run accurate reports to ensure compliance. It also allows your clients to pay directly through the issued invoices and automatically records each payment in the system. This way, it helps maintain accurate records with significantly less effort.

2. Wave

This product for small businesses ensures an easy way to track your revenue and expenses, create professional invoices, and keep all expense details in one place by scanning and uploading receipts. It helps you manage cash flow and eliminates the stress from bookkeeping and interacting with tax authorities.

3. Xero

Xero is an online tool for accounting and invoicing. It offers an easy and visual way to review and manage your cash flow – anywhere, on any device. Its online invoicing feature helps you get paid faster: prepare and send invoices to your customers and get notified when they are opened. Mobile apps allow to manage your finance on the go: in them, you can capture expenses, reconcile bank transactions, send invoices and more.

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