A “Single Source of Truth” for Building Product BIM Objects Increases Productivity
By Doug Bevill
Prior to my role as President of BIMobject, I spent 12 years in the seat where many of my readers are: I was an executive for major building product manufacturers (BPM). I know the challenges you face.
BPM marketing and sales executives spend their days executing a myriad of strategic and tactical duties, aimed at propagating the corporate brand to designers, architects, engineers, contractors, and their customers, subcontractors and suppliers, (the buyers). One of the critical workflows is efficiently communicating both new products and product changes to the market, which for many BPMs requires shifting between analog and digital silos, especially for marketing communications and product management. This workflow becomes even more complex and resource-intensive when it comes to managing building information models, or (BIM) content.
How is Digital Content Typically Done Now?
Assuming that the BPM has digital/BIM content, as engineering makes changes to existing products, or SKUs, it falls upon Product Management and Marketing to communicate these by changing various analog and digital media. Currently, these changes typically come to Product Management for approval and to coordinate communications to sales, customer service, as well as to designers, specifiers, and buyers. This workflow is normally well established and functional from marketing communications to the aforementioned target audience, via updating PDFs, catalogs and the company website. The breakdown in the workflow comes in the updating of BIM content.
In most cases, BPMs have outsourced the creation of CAD, Revit, and other BIM formats to either standalone content creators, or turnkey content aggregators/BIM publishers. This is where productivity bottlenecks happen. BPMs are at the beck and call of the creator/publisher to update the BIM models, do quality assurance, then republish on various third-party platforms and their website. This first causes delayed, or incomplete communications to the target audience and more importantly impedes productivity.
The fact is, most BPMs will need the help of a third-party content creator for initial models, but should not depend on them for updates. When creating, or tweaking your BIM strategy here are a few nuggets that will allow your plan to be pliable and most productive:
- Own your model source code!
- There are content creator/publishers that will quote you a low rate to make and publish your BIM models. This may seem like a bargain; however, you lose ownership
of the model and any access to it for updating. Also, upon canceling your contract, the models are not yours to keep.
- Make sure that your website is the hub containing the “Single Source of Truth”, (SSoT) BIM models that link to all third-party publishers, or libraries.
- The SSoT will insure that once any data element in a selected BIM model is changed, that all places where the model is available for download point to one source. (one model to many locations.)
- Choose a BIM content facilitator and not just a publisher that will link your analog marketing content to your BIM models.
- This will make it possible for simple changes to your product marketing materials to synchronize with the respective BIM models.
The aim of your BIM strategy should be seamlessly aligned with your marketing collateral workflow. Updates to catalogs, your website, and BIM models should be simultaneous, or there will be a loss of productively and a delay in marketing communications. Without a seamless workflow from analog to (digital) BIM, there will be valuable time and money lost.
Reference: Forbes.com “Single Source of Truth”: A data storage principle to always source a particular piece of information from one place/