The Engineering Mind

by George Grayson

Chapter 2: Competitive commercial activities.

Tenders and contracts.

A tender is a process of making an offer, bid or proposal, or just expressing interest in response to an invitation or request. When the tender is made a company will be invited to be able obtain a contract within that business. A contract is between you and another party. An example of this would be if the government would like to build an office building then they would need to advertise the job, describing what the job entails and a timescale they would like to stick to. They would then receive offers from various contractors stating their price and how long it will take them to complete the project. After narrowing down their offers to a singular company, a contract will be made.

A contract is made up to form an agreement between the two parties. It will involve the timescale of the build and the agreed costs and working conditions. Delivery dates and days of non work should also be stated. If the contract is not followed then it is called a 'breach of contract'. This means that one or more guidelines have not been followed or have been disobeyed by either the yourself or the other party. This can be anything from not completing the job on time, not showing up for work or failure to have material delivered to the site for an agreed date. You can also breach the contract by not paying the other party or not supplying them money for new materials.

Intellectual rights.

Intellectual rights are extremely important within a company, it is put in place to ensure a company legal protection against their intellectual capital. This helps protect their inventions, processes and proprietary designs. If they are leaked and the company is not protected then other competitive company's can copy there designs or ideas resulting in the company loses their advantage in the market giving them a bad reputation and possible costing them massively.

Due to engineers been at the forefront of innovation and design its important that they protect their intellectual properties, as they will be sharing highly confidential information about their idea or products, such as; the designs, materials used and the processes. There are two categories of IP; Industrial Property, which protects trademarks, patents and industrial design. The other is Copyright which protects films, poems and plays, musical work, literary and artistic work such as paintings, drawings, sculptures and architectural designs.


Innovation is key in an engineering business as it keeps you ahead of the competition and markets. Innovation helps to understand what opportunities will arise in the future and what there is to work with at present. A successful business will be able to realise current customers needs allowing you to anticipate future development and trends. This will help the business meet future demands of a certain product or service quickly and effectively.

The following techniques are important in order for successful innovation within your business. The purpose of innovation is stay one step ahead of the competition, developing new and improved products which put you in a good position in the markets and in the public interest. This will positively effect your company by increasing your place in the engineering world. For example if you create a new phone which is better then other phones currently on the market then more and more customers will more than likely buy your product at any cost, in turn increasing capital and customer attention.

In order for you to make "the next best thing" you need a team that can think outside the box of innovation, bringing ideas to the table that you would have never thought of on your own. To take it to a whole new level you need to be cooperative with other like minded organisations and agents to be able to increase your effectiveness by working together. To get the greatest amount of information about the markets and new materials around, you need someone that will outsourcing specialists which will open your eyes to new and invent ways of working your way into the market and staying on top of your competition.

You need to know what gaps there are in the market or what is needed at present. Creating it at a higher quality, realizing how you can make a difference and why your product will be better than others that are currently on the market. This will improve work flow and capital within your business, putting you in a more advantages position for future demand.

Successful innovation within a business plan.

When innovation is involved in a business plan it will mean that engineers are be able to design new and improved products that are needed in the market. Because they are designing the products earlier on meaning they can tweak the products to perfection before the initial release. When engineers design products early on it means they can see what they need to improve and change in order to stay one step ahead of the competitors. Designing what products you will produce in the business plan stage will give you the opportunity to design your companies style, purpose and the work flow of the company, making it appealing as possible to the customers, and backers. Times change meaning customers will want new inviting products for them to use meaning you need to pan ahead. In doing so you will be able to design new up to date products allowing you to enter new markets, broadening your companies awareness and knowledge across many different markets. When a engineering company releases new products they will need to keep them permanently updated and relevant in order to keep customers interested.

Successful tendering within a business plan.

When tendering is implemented within a business plan it allows you to plan who you will do business with and gives you time to create and put a tendering process in place which makes sure that you win your fare share of business. This is vital component to ensure that your business succeeds in the long run. Winning certain tenders allows you to open doors to other areas of the market and connecting you with businesses within. If you don't plan your tenders well, you are less likely to win any, meaning that you will have no business in the first place. Another important stage that is involved in tender planning is that you need to plan for to match your sales. For example if you are frequently selling a certain product, then you will have to plan to keep a constant flow from the development, management and resource sectors by having tenders in place to keep on top of your sales that the business generates.

Successful contracting within a business plan

Organizing your contracts within a business plan will help out massively when the business starts up. Planning your contracts will allow you to make sure that the contracts that you have constructed are absolutely correct, and that the funding is in place, whether its in staged payments or a one off payment. You need to understand that the sign off agreements between the supplier/company and yourselves are arranged and signed by both parties. An example for successful contracting would be, that engineers at Apple will know exactly what they are planning to build and how it will be designed. They will also need to know where they will source their resources and materials from. This means that they need to decide as to who they go to for the different components and materials in the procedures of building the new product. All in all the engineers and Apple will have to have contracts in place for all the different companies and suppliers within the processes to ensure quality resources and prompt delivery of the final product.