Why the GTIN is important for welcoming manufacturers into the BIM world

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Here, coBuilder Marketing explain the importance of the GTIN in manufacturing and how this ties into the digital construction world through BIM

BIM represents a huge opportunity for the manufacturing industry. From the widely spanning benefits of including true, accurate manufacturers’ data into the digital information model of a building to the wide applications of model-connected e-commerce, BIM is undoubtedly changing the way you handle your product’s information today. But worry not, to help you with that change, you already have a few tricks up your sleeve, and the GTIN is one of them. Let’s take a look.

GTIN or the Global Trade Item Number is the ‘building block for all GS1 Systems for global trade’. As a retailer or a manufacturer, you already know that it is an essential part of your business. It allows you to uniquely identify items anywhere around the world. Obtaining it has become one of the necessary steps to ensure that your product will be widely used, correctly ‘catalogued’ and easily sold in different countries.  So how does that tie in with BIM?

Standardised format and structure

One of the most important aspects of the I (Information), in BIM, lies in standardisation. Standardisation ensures the consistency in different processes and performances. This gives us the certainty that a set of requirements are always met within a certain context. Standardisation in BIM brings efficiency, reduces risk and acts as a stepping-stone to achieving true interoperability. When it comes to managing manufacturer’s data in BIM, standardisation is paramount. Imagine if all manufacturers used their internal product codes to identify products at an international building site. How would the FMs know which is which? The GTIN eliminates that problem as it has a standardised format and structure that can be understood by anyone, anywhere. This makes it a universally preferred identifier in all BIM data management applications as it nicely ties with the BIM philosophy of process optimisation, collaboration and openness.

Enhanced collaboration

Having slightly touched on the collaboration benefits that are derived from the GTIN’s standard form, we can go on to explore another great benefit of using the GTIN within the BIM process. The GTIN can be encoded into various types of automatic data capture technologies, such as barcodes and EPC- enabled RFID tags. This allows for a seamless data flow from the point of purchase onwards. For instance, through the cobuilderPRO tool (available for the Norwegian market), a subcontractor can scan all the products they have purchased with their smartphone and send a full list of products to the contractor. Then product data and documentation are automatically delivered to a digital construction project in ProductXchange. The contractor can then check if all products are according to specification and requirements in the system and export them in any format used by the actors down the chain. Thus, the GTIN’s ability to be machine-readable unlocks limitless opportunities, the above being just a single example.

E-commerce opportunity

Going digital is a continuous journey. With the rise of the Internet as a main distribution channel, electronic commerce (e-commerce) has become a key priority for most businesses. In the construction industry, BIM is more and more understood not as a specific model or a methodology set in stone, but as a journey towards incorporating more and more digital processes into construction. It is therefore not long until BIM-based applications would become integrated with e-commerce software systems. It is only natural that clients would want to purchase your products online, right where all the action is taking place: the mutually shared digital working environment. So how would the GTIN help? Simple, the GTIN can be used as the one important gateway to all your data. It draws on an efficient and eco-friendly way of validating, accessing, sending and receiving information that is error-proof, time-efficient and secure. After all, we all know that when it comes to large-scale commerce using numeric identifiers (codes) is much better than getting lost in translation.

GTIN an asset you already have

In conclusion, we can say that in a world that constantly drives us to change, we can find an anchor in future-proof structures that we are already using. The GTIN is one of these structures, and it goes without saying that this holds numerous benefits for your business today.

Resources:

GS1, An Introduction to the Global Trade Item Number (GTIN)

Available online at: https://www.gs1us.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=lS-Rzbku6r0%3d&tabid=411&portalid=0

 

coBuilder UK

cobuilder.co.uk

@coBuilderUK

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