How BIM spurs innovation for 6 manufacturing companies

Building information modeling is changing how specifiers explore products, how they collaborate, and what they specify. But how can BIM break new ground for manufacturing companies? Get inspired by VELUX, Riwal, Kanlux, Icons of Denmark, Electrolux, and Roca in this 8-minute read.

This blog is a breakout piece from our e-book: 7 cases for the business value of BIM.

Why BIM spurs innovation for building product manufacturers

New processes, technologies, and ideas tend to create ripple effects. BIM is no exception. The digital process is a disruptive droplet expanding into all parts of the building industry. It's upgrading how the construction industry designs, operates, assembles, and develops. It’s re-engineering the entire construction supply chain.

But how does a manufacturer fit into the mix? Well, manufacturers' product data is critical to the success of BIM. In fact, it might even make or break a deal. Anders Johansen, European channel manager at Electrolux, offers his first-hand experience in 7 cases for the business value of BIM.:

“Manufacturers need to be digitally present. Architects often say, ‘If you don’t use BIM, you are irrelevant to us.’ The train is already running. So, getting into BIM is not a matter of ‘if.’ It’s about ‘when’ you can hop on that train.”

Architects, interior designers, engineers, contractors, property developers, and governments crave BIM. Some of the latter have even written it into law through BIM mandates. This shift in work processes (and expectations) means that you need to reroute to offer services that support the digital building process and the key players involved.

Get to know the key players in BIM >

BIM presents a new way to collaborate

BIM improves the likelihood of getting products specified. If designers and architects have all the data and conditions of a product at hand, it’s much more likely that they can search, find and use these products in their designs. And ultimately: encourage construction teams and the end client to use them in the build. Riwal, a company that sells and rents out heavy construction equipment for working at heights, comments:

“Some companies don’t expect Riwal to participate in the BIM process. We don’t create items used in construction, but mainly focus on how to reach every part of a building throughout its entire lifecycle, " explains Kees van Benschop, international BIM coordinator at Riwal.

Circular skybridge.. Concept connecting two parts to collaborate through a building's lifecycle

Kanlux, a leading European lighting company, has been using BIM and BIMobject as an innovation platforms to create better relationships with their clients. Their development and marketing director, Marta Kachniarz, says it best:

“An important aspect of using BIM was the voices of architects and designers. We want to win their business and work with them. Architects see good opportunities if they have all the files in one place like the BIMobject marketplace – it helps us begin collaborations with them.”

BIM puts greater emphasis on product data

BIM is a 3D digital building process where information about every single building component (BIM object) is collated into a common data environment. The data is shared with every stakeholder and throughout every stage of the construction process.

How does that lead to the need for new processes for manufacturing companies? Well, with such a new and sophisticated workflow comes a greater dependency on product data to provide clarity and understanding.

For modern-day architects, engineers, and interior designers, your product is only as attractive as its data. Why? Because they need to know how well your products fare with the client's scope and want to make the design process as pain-free as possible. Kees van Benschop, international BIM coordinator at Riwal, comments:

"We noticed that customers prefer our BIM files because they are easy to use and have a lot of options embedded in the design." 


Added bonus:

Specifier data brings market intelligence

The availability of data on who is downloading objects provides a level of market intelligence that helps manufacturers think differently about what’s in demand, what’s needed by specifiers, and perhaps how products could be adapted to maximize sales. For Roca, a leading manufacturer of ceramic bathroom products, audience insights are key. Cristina Bosch, Roca's digital communications manager, explains:

Creating BIM objects and getting on BIMobject allows us to stay close to professionals and align with their needs. Between 2019 and 2020, we noticed a 51% increase in leads coming from the BIMobject marketplace. Having a single source of information on BIM content is crucial for us.”

Manufacturers develop BIM objects and publish them to reach the right target audience. Those who choose to publish them on BIMobject's global marketplace can:

  1. Publish content to a world of designers (2 million+ registered users)
  2. Promote it to particular segments through search ads and email campaigns
  3. Analyse to gain intel on your current and potential reach, audience interactions, file format preferences, and identify opportunities for market expansion.

woman working on laptop. Laptop displaying BIMobject business app for manufacturers

We recently crunched our data to unveil the global increase in users, most popular file formats, and most downloaded product categories. But gaining insights specific to your brand is crucial for business development. Radosław Kłoda, Director of the investment department at Kanlux, shares his experience:

“BIMobject’s tool for analytics is important to us, as it shows us the number of file downloads for each product or the country from which the most interest is coming. Sometimes these are quite unexpected places, such as Cambodia. It's possible that this will show us the way to expand into other markets.”

New organizational processes

BIM isn’t a lone-wolf tool used on the outskirts of a project. It’s a highly collaborative process between all stakeholders, from design to construction and maintenance. Want to become a part of the journey? In that case, you need to develop a BIM strategy. And you need to center on a new working process and culture.

blue staircase. Concept centre on a new focus

Manufacturers embarking on a BIM journey need new internal processes to make the magic happen. You need to put together an internal task force with select champions ranging from the product manager to marketers and salespeople. You need to put together an internal task force with select champions ranging from the product manager to marketers and salespeople.

Icons of Denmark is a prime example of a manufacturing company adapting its internal processes to meet new needs. In a recent interview, Owner Jesper Møllgaard Jensen explains that they've trained their salespeople in 3D software to offer the best customer service possible. But Jesper isn’t the only one shaking things up a bit:

“Sometimes it’s hard to get strategies into different sales organizations, and if we have to do it over 40 times, it would require a lot of resources. Having everything on one single platform enables us to reach more specifiers with less effort.”Martin Let Hansen, BIM manager at VELUX.

Want more from VELUX? Read the full interview with Martin today >

E-book displaying a customer interview with manufacturing company VELUX

Get aligned with BIM

It’s not as if innovation doesn’t exist within the industry. Manufacturers have always been the originators and original thinkers in construction. The problem has often been getting that innovation into the construction pipeline and ensuring more new products and technological product advancements get specified. 

By using digital techniques and data supplied and obtained through BIM, the construction industry can innovate more and produce more enhanced processes and better outcomes. You, as a manufacturer, play a pivotal part in it all.

Want to move your business forward with BIM? Book a demo today >


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