COP26: EIC's Supply Chain Case Study Series - KBR (Day 2)

COP26: EIC's Supply Chain Case Study Series - KBR (Day 2)

02 Nov 2021

The EIC's Supply Chain Case Study Series highlights key EIC Survive and Thrive Insight Report case studies all throughout COP26, highlighting the success stories of the energy sector in decarbonisation and innovative new energy transition technologies.

On Day 2 we look at KBR's journey from conversation to commercial transformation.

How is KBR thriving?

Following a somewhat chance discussion with a key customer, KBR Project Solutions has taken on a wholly new dimension in the form of automated engineering solutions for electric vehicle charging sites. Part of a transition to develop smart solutions for a sustainable future, the risk taken by Project Solutions to invest in this innovative application of capabilities is already looking like a sound one.

The challenge

KBR is a well-known global giant in the professional services and technologies sphere, serving clients in the government, technology and
energy sectors. The Houston-based group turned over $5.56 billion in 2019, around 20% of this deriving from clients operating in the energy space.

KBR Project Solutions, although a very small division of the company with 2019 revenue of $13 million, is helping the energy side of the KBR business to shift into renewable and energy transition markets. Having started out as a small start-up with minimal funding in 2017, today it represents a creative engineering environment where the use of innovative solutions help to deliver results for clients.

Last year, naturally, presented serious challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic, with headcount having to be cut and revenues reduced due to project cancellations. Against these difficult circumstances, KBR Project Solutions was determined to continue developing its brand and build upon its track record.

The solution

A major focus for the division has been expanding its automated engineering solutions into new markets, developing new innovations to solve the pressing issues of the day in the energy sector – all geared towards the transition to a greener industry.

Leveraging its competencies already successfully deployed in the oil and gas sphere, KBR Project Solutions has turned to the likes of offshore wind and electric vehicle charging to diversify its activities, creating what it calls a connected capability triangle to optimise assets, streamline processes, create efficiencies and cut costs for clients. Indeed, the company recognised that early adopters of digital
technology are also early adopters of decarbonisation technology.

The latter of these newly targeted subsectors – electric vehicle charging – surfaced almost by chance.

KBR Project Solutions were already using their algorithm tool for automating design in its oil and gas business, and when questioned by
a client to develop a “North Star” proposal, an ideal world solution of what the electric vehicle charging market could look like it was a game-changing question.

Project Solutions founder and Director, Dave Cole, took a risk investing internal funds. The pitch was helped by the existing customer relationship, the rate at which the EV market is growing internationally and that the computer programmers were already in place and ready to investigate the question put in front of them.

Moreover, the Projects Solutions team operated with the kind of SME mentality and authority within KBR to be trusted to move fast and handle risks. Likewise, Cole realised the potential for this to be the foundation of much larger opportunity should it be pulled off.

The early signs are extremely promising, a £500,000 contract in place and the opportunity to scale up in 2022. The project involves using laser scanning of a proposed site for electric vehicle charging and applying modelling tools to create optimised site layouts, with safety and compliance fundamental to the automated design process. Construction cost calculations are also provided with the design for each site, with KBR Project Solutions aiming to cut design expenses by as much as 50% per site. Scale this up for the proposed growth in EV across Europe, and the automated solution has the potential to save millions as well as making government targets for 2030 achievable.

This serves as a highly effective case study for KBR Project Solutions to put in front of other prospective clients internationally within the EV charging market.

The bigger picture also looks bright. Having demonstrated the value of its automated engineering solutions outside of the oil and gas arena, there could well be other sectors beyond the electric vehicle charging market that KBR Project Solutions can apply its ever evolving expertise to. And as more and more use cases are demonstrated, the company will strengthen its brand as a go-to for smart, sustainable solutions.

About KBR

KBR is a global provider of differentiated professional services and technologies. The company employs approximately 28,000 people
worldwide, with customers in more than 80 countries, and operations in 40 countries. Operating across the asset and programme lifecycle, KBR operates in the two synergistic global businesses of: Government Solutions and Technology Solutions.

KBR Project Solutions has core competencies which span engineering, computer science, and energy transition as well as creative, forward thinkers, who collaborate and challenge the expected to deliver disruption and create a new normal at KBR. Started as a small start-up with no funding in 2017, KBR Project Solutions is a creative engineering environment where the use of innovative solutions to deliver results for clients is encouraged. This has included ideas such as; Multi-Objective Design Analysis (MODA) Solution, OPTI-VENTUS, BarBox ©, mobile app development, VR capability for training and process simulation, and automated engineering solutions
amongst others.

Read the full EIC Survive and Thrive Insight Report here.

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