How can you manage all important product information in a manufacturing company? BIM might be a solution to keep track of all data from a product including 3D models and more.
In this article, we explore the use of BIM technology applied to manufacturers. The ultimate goal is to deliver their data in the form of a digital and online catalog where all their products will be displayed with 3D models to previsualize the look and the data built-in inside.
We are not going to discuss if BIM is needed to be applied inside the manufacturer’s business or not. That question is way overdue, and the answers are on the market, where more and more companies board the BIM methodology as a way to enter into the business in the construction 4.0 era.
The reasons why? Here we summarize the main points why BIM is helping manufacturers to thrive in this century:
1. Address customer needs
Why would customers use a BIM library on the manufacturer’s website to look for their products?
As a user, we browse with our eyes so it is fundamental to have better visibility of your products and an enhanced user-friendly experience in the website for their catalog, making the selection process collaborative, so the client feels that they work along with the manufacturer building or selecting their ideal solution.
2. Existing market offers
The form that manufacturers deliver their product data is a PDF displaying a static catalog without interaction, digitally printed versions of photos plus text which does not make machine-readable data.
That last point is relevant, the existing offer in the market should be a file ready to read and analyze by a computer or software. That is unquestionable as no human would be looking, reading, and analyzing the data inside a product. We used to do things like this last century, thus it is time to change and be more effective.
3. Innovative solutions
Using BIM objects as a source of information will keep the latest data up-to-date on the manufacturers’ and customers’ side. The update of models is immediate, and the BIM objects are ready-to-apply to the projects -all the information is inside the element, built-in, and delivered with.
We can call this ‘linked data’ or ‘live data’, which in comparison with the ‘static data’ is a type of information that can be transferred, read, and used while working with the object without any human-specific interaction. For this, the data needs to be placed correctly in place and form inside the BIM file object.
4. Marketing strategy
People buy through their eyes; the power of render and visualization gives a very nice experience when potential customers use the digital catalog and interact with the solutions by visualizing the object and ‘playing’ with the 3D models before they purchase the real versions.
We explained in other articles what is BIM in two words: visualization plus information. And here the visual part is important to make the objects ‘alive’ and attractive to the user. We want them to virtually try and play those models on the site, so they can experience the project with the manufacturer’s solution on.
Think about when you shop for clothes. Always you will go a try them on to see if they fit, if you like the texture and their performance. So, this is the same but virtually, as we cannot do the construction or building of the products on-site, but yes virtually, so the experience gets closer to the real solution.
5. Early presence on the project
A manufacturer can help their clients to solve a problem, either at the design stage or during the execution of the project. In this case, the manufacturer is involved in the result, providing their knowledge about the product and technical experience in its applications, generating a relationship of trust that seeks to retain the customer.
Through the communication in the first stages of the purchasing process, the interaction with the user to transform a download of a BIM object into a purchase is a long run that requires constant communication to provide the correct and exact solution to the client. This can be done better if the communication is established from the beginning, and this can be achieved with BIM catalogs.
In short, it’s the Technical Specification Department that helps improve the sales ratio for the Sales Department by creating an opportunity for the brand to be present in the project in the early stages collaborating in the design process.
6. Generate engagement and leads with BIM
Following a track of downloads and converting them to future leads is the main goal for boosting sales using the BIM methodology.
In the scheme of BIM, the first major indicator of genuine product interest is getting your BIM content downloaded. The second hurdle for markets (and sales) is to convince them to integrate your products into the model and make it to specification.
Also, the reduction of the cost per lead (CPL) by addressing potential customers through the BIM objects rather than going wider and losing power on the message.
In short, with BIM we shorten the gap between clients and manufacturers. There is some percentage of how the increase of visibility through BIM object downloads bump the company’s products by speeding up your audience size to grow; current and potential reach. A 2020 report by Harvard Business Review states that 74% of architects, engineers, and contractors feel that highly collaborative relationships with building product manufacturers will be very or extremely important to project success over the next three years, making the firm a top-of-mind household name, and increasing loyalty with customers. If design or construction teams know about the data regarding the manufacturers’ products and have the geometry of their products, then they are more likely to select those products and use them within buildings.
To summarize the benefits of BIM for a manufacturer I will ask them this question: would you like to be in talks with your customers since the beginning of their purchase search? With BIM, you can.
Author: Enrique Nadales Clavero, Tequma & Tylko Advisors
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