Recent research by BIM4M2 with 188 product manufacturers states that over half who have BIM consider their investment to have been worthwhile. So what can be learnt from product manufacturers that have already adopted BIM? How can you make your investment worthwhile? In this blog I take a look at the findings from the research and assess what can be learnt from those already providing BIM.

Why invest in BIM?

The research, conducted by Competitive Advantage on behalf of the BIM4M2 group, demonstrates that the most popular reason for investment in BIM is to gain commercial advantage.

80% of manufacturers with a current BIM offering strongly agree that it is an important differentiator and almost half of those that have invested say it has helped them secure new business.

So these figures demonstrate a positive outcome and none of those that have invested did not consider it worthwhile. With the government’s 2016 deadline just around the corner it would seem that 2015 will herald mainstream adoption of BIM by manufacturers, this is reflected in the research with just under 50% of respondents looking to invest in BIM this year.

Roadmap to BIM Investment

The research identifies three areas that need to be given consideration to aid your adoption of BIM and to make it worthwhile.

Resource

Feedback suggests that the majority of organisations with BIM have a nominated person responsible for its implementation and use. In fact the figures are: 82.1% of organisations with BIM and 57.5% planning BIM have a person responsible for BIM in their organisation.

It would seem that a strong contributing factor to the successful adoption of BIM is resource. A cultural shift needs to take place, where staff have an understanding of the importance of BIM to the business. And a selected member of staff is empowered with overseeing the implementation of BIM, with the support and authority to implement changes where needed.

BIM is a major change to how the construction industry will operate, so surely should warrant a significant investment in resource?

Responsibility

The research reveals that the main function influencing the decision to invest in BIM is Marketing (32%), closely followed by Technical (30%) and Sales (27%).

We often hear that sales and marketing need to work more closely, in the case of BIM collaboration is also needed with the technical team. Applying the marketing perspective to a technical subject will mean BIM is used as a tool to raise the profile of your construction product, allowing you to gain business advantage. Working with sales and technical also ensures you are delivering accurate information and providing what the Specifier wants.

Perhaps BIM will not just increase collaboration between Client, Architect, Engineer, Contractor and Manufacturer, but also between Sales, Marketing and Technical?

Development of BIM Objects

Just over 38% of organisations develop their BIM objects with the help of external hosting sites while just under 36% use internal resources. This choice is one of the big issues for manufacturers starting on their BIM journey. Factors that should be considered are the benefits of having an internal resource, ownership of the objects and location of the objects for downloads. Another important decision is the software to use. Although the research shows that Autodesk Revit is the most widely used BIM software, companies should consider the preferences of their target Specifiers.

The findings in the research suggest that once BIM objects are available requests increase significantly. There are a number of providers of BIM objects, so shop around. And of course there is much free advice out there, with the first port of call being the BIM4M2 working group: http://www.bim4m2.co.uk/

Stephen Thompson, Chair of BIM4M2, in his recent Twitter chat for Barbour Products summarises this well:

BIM doesn’t come off the shelf, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Information is key, focus on structuring data. Ask customers what they need and in what format, don’t rush out and spend significant sums of money without first understanding what you need. The data can be as simple as an excel spreadsheet to meet requirements of Level 2 for 2016.

Conclusion

So in summary, give careful consideration to the opportunities investing in BIM will give, to retain and gain new business. When investing make sure you allocate the resource that BIM deserves and get your marketing, sales and technical teams working in collaboration. And do ask for help.

Further information

BIM4M2 report: BIM Adoption by Product Manufacturers 2014

BIM4M2 website: BIM4M2 is a working group consisting of people and organisations concerned with BIM for manufacturers

Road test the new tool from BIM4M2: Is BIM Right for Me?

Tell us what you would like researched.

In 2015 Competitive Advantage are planning further research into BIM. We would welcome your suggestions on what the survey should cover. Either leave a comment on this blog or email learn@cadvantage.co.uk

 

 

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