August 25, 2020
BIM is the newest buzzword in construction, and for good reason. The Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology is fundamentally changing how we conceptualize, design, develop, and manage building projects. Put simply, it promises to make construction faster, better, and more affordable.
The construction industry has historically been slow to adopt new technologies and slow to change archaic business practices. With how much impact BIM is having here, we can confidently state BIM is groundbreaking. According to the American Institute of Architects (AIA), 96 percent of large firms, 72 percent of mid-sized firms, and 28 percent of small firms use a BIM-based software program of some kind. Going by a 2019 NBS report, 60% of BIM adopters report increased cost efficiencies, and over 50% report improved delivery times.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. BIM brings many quantifiable and non-quantifiable benefits. And they aren’t necessarily limited to just your building project.
If you’re passingly familiar with BIM, you may see it as a physical “model.” However, BIM isn’t a material object for you to manipulate. BIM is a work process. It’s digitally defining the physical and functional aspects of a building – from the beginning of its lifecycle until the end. While it does rely on up-to-date data getting linked to 3D objects to create a working replica (a digital twin) of a building, the objects themselves are merely visual aids. They allow information about the building to be presented in a structured, accessible, intuitive way.
A BIM, pared-down, is a shared knowledge resource that allows for better decision-making.
The real-time shared data is the core of any BIM system and something we’d like to focus on:
Companies are adopting BIM because it improves collaboration from design through construction, with higher quality and less re-work. Usually, companies create BIMs in successive versions. Each iteration is an improvement over the previous one as more detail is added to the digital twin.
You can use the concepts of BIM to construct a better building –faster, cheaper, and more efficiently. How about using BIM to build a better supply chain – faster, cheaper, and more efficient? It’s the natural extension of an existing concept. Moreover, it’s practical and affordable to implement, thanks to the technological backbone offered by companies like SR. And then all the benefits of the BIM model would transfer over to your inventory. Our clients – like Vulcan – are doing it already.
Why use a BIM for your inventory? Your business stands to benefit greatly:
Your supply chain relies on effective communication between all its members, internal and external. This includes production, finance, logistics, operations, and the various other departments that make up your unique organization. BIM provides an instant snapshot of the current state of your inventory to all your team members remotely. Everyone on the team can see what’s happening on your various worksites and in transit – where your stockpiles are and in what state. They can correctly anticipate hiccups and generally work together better. Vendors will know in advance when you’re running out. It puts everyone on the same page.
Supply chains involve a lot of movement of goods and people. How much does it all cost? Usually, managers have to rely on estimates and rough data to come up with a rough number. Calculation errors are common, and write-offs further skew the final figure. With BIM, you get a more reliable, accurate picture of the supply chain. It allows you to better calculate your spending, which in turn allows you to better allocate your resources.
Is there a way to build a better supply chain? Supply chains are made up of multiple moving parts. There’s always a way to make it work more efficiently. BIM gives you an overview of your current supply chain and shows you where the inefficiencies are. Are you ordering too much material? Is production having trouble finding material on time? You can iron out the inefficiencies and plan out a better way of working.
Supply chains are ever-shifting and changing. On-site problems have a cascading effect on all parts of the chain. Real-world events – like the recent COVID crisis – sometimes drastically affect their working. With a self-updating BIM model, you can monitor changes on the fly. You have the data you need to make decisions to keep production running, nip problems in the bud, and remain profitable. You don’t even have to be on-site to see changes.
BIM puts data at your fingertips. You spend less time gathering data and more time making decisions. It translates to lower expenses throughout your supply chain.
When you have instant data, you can save money and time.
BIM allows you to manage your inventory better. It also has the added advantage of making your operations, finance, and other departments easier to manage. First, your supply chain becomes automated. A combination of drones, fixed cameras, apps, and other technology means you don’t have to manually measure your inventory. It’s all done for you automatically. You can focus your energies elsewhere.
Finally, BIM allows you to make your inventory more secure and safe. Theft is a big problem within the construction industry. With the BIM model and the technology that goes into it, you can better keep an eye on your stockpiles. If they’re slowly sinking in volume to theft, you’ll know. If your supplier is shortchanging you, you’ll know. Finally, BIM indirectly makes work safer for your employees. Because it’s semi-automated, fewer employees are needed on-site. They don’t have to tinker with the stockpiles much, carrying out measurements and maintaining records. It can all be done via technology. There are fewer chances of accidents happening.
A BIM model uses multiple 3D objects. These 3D objects are replicas of real-world objects – such as doors, elevators, and lobbies. In tech-speak, these objects can be referred to as digital twins. Note that digital twins can also be processes and systems as well as digital objects.
SR creates digital twins to optimize inventory and logistics. With our assistance, you can take snapshots of your material supply piles, indoors and outdoors. You can use fixed-cameras, drones, and an iPhone self-scanning app. It’s all instant and semi-automated. The system produces reliable, actionable, constantly-updating data – your very own shared knowledge resource, the foundation of every BIM model.
The BIM work process has great potential, well beyond the scope of a single article. But the gist of it is it allows you to make informed decisions and save resources. In this day and age, competition is sky high and your business needs every edge it can get. Reach out to our company representative to learn more about SR, BIM, and how we can tailor our solution to your unique business.
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