Chris Witte, Marketing Director Knauf Insulation, and Vice Chair BIM4M2 provides a step-by-step guide on how BIM4M2 are helping manufacturers to be fit for purpose on their BIM journey
As I sit on my train to London typing this, I can’t help thinking how straightforward my journey will be today. Starting from Runcorn station, train exactly on time. Plenty of room on the train — I’m not in rush hour. Into Euston, exactly as expected, and a short walk to my meeting.
If only the journey that we manufacturers need to take on getting fit for purpose in time for April 2016 BIM compliance was so straightforward!
Well bearing in mind that this deadline is now less than 30 weeks away; the provision of structured product information in a digital format really should be on the agenda of most UK construction product manufacturers right now. But is it? In many cases I suspect not. Even where it is, how do we know whether it will impact our business significantly, in part or hardly at all? And then, if we still have the appetite for action, how do we convince the rest of our business to support us? How do we choose between internal skilling-up and the various consultants keen to advise us? Advice which is often contradictory and invariably expensive. It’s not hard to see why many product manufacturers may take a ‘let’s wait and see’ approach.
But what if there was impartial free advice that would help us move forward at the right pace for our business? What if it is asking the right questions and coming from fellow manufacturers that have been active in the BIM space recently and who have been making progress and making mistakes (let’s be honest!), but learning from them?
Well that’s where BIM for Manufacturers and Manufacturing (BIM4M2) comes in. Formed by product manufacturers, initially from within the Construction Products Association (CPA), but now independent from it, and linked in to the government BIM4 communities. BIM4M2 recognises there is a massive task to educate and coordinate the construction product part of the supply chain. Having benchmarked manufacturer status in the first manufacturer BIM survey late last year, it has just launched an online guidance called ‘The Curve’ as in – learning curve, to support manufacturers starting their BIM journey. It is the consolidated experience of a number of product manufacturers, and should enable those starting out on their journey to compress the time period from first thoughts through to initial output and measurement. The Curve from BIM4M2 is the HS2 of your BIM commute!
Let me give you a whistle-stop overview of The Curve (http://www.bim4m2.co.uk/curve)
The journey starts with a tool that we call Compass. It asks the product manufacturer a series of questions on product type, sectors, exports and market development to provide tailored guidance relevant to a user’s business. The tool uses the latest data from Barbour ABI to provide a realistic assessment of the level of BIM adoption across a range of market sectors of interest to the manufacturer.
Users will also be given a score, which suggests how quickly and significantly they will be impacted along with an indicative potential commercial risk.
For some, the implications will be minimal because of the nature of their business. For most, the commercial implications will be sufficiently significant to prompt further action.
The example above shows a manufacturer Compass score. Based on their declared £50m annual turnover, it shows that potentially 5% of their sales could be at risk from inaction on BIM, based on how they answered the Compass questions.
After completing Compass you are encouraged to look at the ‘How Do I Do It’ section, which is a step-by-step guide to creating a compelling business plan proposal to secure internal and /or financial resource to create your BIM content.
The guidance is quite simple in format; a series of headings, which if you click on them lead to further information.
The Plan section identifies what benefits the manufacturer should aim for with their investment in BIM. It then considers what type of solution might be appropriate, before challenging the manufacturer to consider organisation and process impacts. It is here that we manufacturers have most to gain, but some of us didn’t realise that this was where the real value lies in our first attempts at BIM. We created content, made it available and thought ‘job done’. Without the organisational commitment and process improvements we were in effect missing the bigger picture.
The Implement section guides you from the point of internal approval to move forward with BIM content, and on to actually implementing your plan. For example, it suggests the levels of internal training that some manufacturers are implementing; moving from basic awareness, through to specifier conversant and on to maintenance of BIM content. It also suggests useful targets that can be set that could be relevant to most manufacturers.
The final section is called Learn More. There is so much useful information that has been published on the internet to help us understand the basics from several stakeholder perspectives. Why would we try and reinvent the wheel? We have just created a short library of links under the headings: Mandatory, Useful and Nice to Know.
We believe that if manufacturers follow The Curve approach it will provide a short cut in their journey to a successful outcome on both developing and benefitting from BIM content. We would then ask that they help us improve this resource by sharing their experience with the BIM4M2 team (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Vice Chair BIM4M2 and Marketing Director