Profiting From Unity

By Akio
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The construction industry is turning to the cloud for improved efficiency and profitability.

The rapidly growing global construction industry suffers from fragmentation, which increases risks, leads to wasteful practices and negatively affects project delivery and stakeholder interests. But now, cloud-based collaborative tools are replacing traditional industry practices with new business models that imagine, design and construct better buildings.

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Article by Nic Lerner, originally printed in COMPASS Magazine 

From the Construction Intelligence Center to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), most industry trackers agree that construction is in for a boom.

A PwC–sponsored report entitled “Global Construction 2030,” published by Global Construction Perspectives with Oxford Economics, predicts a compound growth of 85%, to US$15.5 trillion, by 2030.

That level of expansion is more than a percentage point higher than the 3.9% annual growth rate projected for the global economy as a whole, driven in large part by rapid growth in urban populations.

But a dark cloud looms behind those silver growth projections.

The industry, experts agree, is so fragmented with numerous segments – architects, engineers, construction firms and dozens of trades both big and small – that it is not prepared to handle this level of expansion.

A LEGAL TANGLE

Javier Glatt, co-founder and CEO of CadMakers Virtual Construction, a Vancouver-based integrated construction technology firm, said the reasons for fragmentation come down to legal responsibility.

“The causes of fragmentation are risk and liability issues and their apportionment through the industry,” he said.

As buildings become bigger and increasingly complex, they require more specialized skills at every stage. Tiers of subcontractors are appointed not only to do the work, but also to carry some of the risk.

Glatt cites a misalignment of incentives between stakeholders and contractors, with some working to push down costs while others seek to benefit from budget increases.

Even the design process becomes fragmented, with different contractors responsible for structures, facades, visualization, analysis and multiple building systems.

The good news, however, is that there is plenty of room for improvement.

“Automating processes and making prefabricated components off-site reduce risk, cost, waste and errors,” he said.

“Working with a single unified 3D model that everyone has access to helps solve a lot of problems that arise when contractors don’t or can’t communicate among themselves.”

When each contractor produces its own individual model and data, the chances of error and miscommunication increase.

With a unified project model, Glatt said, “builders understand their role in the project and their interactions with other contractors. They can concentrate on their core skills, solve problems and build better.”

PERCENTAGE GAINS

Research conducted by Dodge Data & Analytics, a leading data, analytics, news and intelligence provider for the North American construction industry, reinforces these observations.

Donna Laquidara-Carr, the company’s Insights Research director, said that their analysis of Architecture, Engineering & Construction (AEC) industry data, from a study conducted in partnership with the Lean Construction Institute, shows that 92% of “typical projects” – those that suffer from fragmentation – experience delays, 85% go over budget and 63% suffer quality defects.

“The data demonstrates that integrated project delivery correlates with significant performance improvements and waste reduction,” Laquidara-Carr said. “And we hear time and again that the key to unlocking these benefits is early stage collaboration.”

The data shows that only 1% of owners deployed project integration tools on typical projects, she said, but that these tools were used on 22% of the industry’s “best-performing projects.”

Consequently, positive team chemistry was reported on 68% of the “best projects,” compared with just 10% on “typical projects.” Teams were well- integrated on 61% of the “best projects,” but only on 9% of “typical projects.”

The data indicate that when all stakeholders – including owners, contractors and trades – are integrated in a virtual “big room” that facilitates working together as one team, the AEC industry functions better, Laquidara-Carr said.

A virtual “big room” is a term for a unified online communications and collaboration platform.

Building Information Modeling (BIM) was heralded as a solution to fragmentation, but industry experience has not been consistently positive.

Tim Beckett, director of Beckett Rankine, a UK-based specialist marine civil engineering consultancy, is a design contractor on the 25-kilometer (16 miles), 7.4-meter (24 feet) diameter Thames Tideway Tunnel. The super sewer is budgeted at £4.2 billion (US$5.2 billion) and will reach depths of 65 meters (213 feet).

Tideway is building the Thames Tideway Tunnel to tackle the problem of overflows from London’s Victorian sewers for at least the next 100 years, and enable the UK to meet European environmental standards. (Image © Tideway)

Tideway is building the Thames Tideway Tunnel to tackle the problem of overflows from London’s Victorian sewers for at least the next 100 years, and enable the UK to meet European environmental standards. (Image © Tideway)

Standard BIM systems can be “clunky to use, expensive to buy and require specialist skills to operate,” Beckett said. However, he sees benefits in a cloud-based approach, which offers the advantages and capabilities of BIM while making information more broadly available to people of all skill levels.

“The Thames Tideway Tunnel is expected to operate for more than a century, so all the data must be future-proofed,” Beckett said.

“A cloud-based solution to project management at this scale would allow stakeholders simple, easy, cheap, permanent and traceable access to the data that they need, today and into the future.”

CONTINENTS UNITED

“Visual simulations and high-resolution data are necessary to properly think through very complex projects,” said John Cerone, director of Virtual Design and Construction at New York-based architecture firm SHoP Architects.

“Standard BIM supports traditional building practices, but builders are seeing that a high-quality, unified 3D cloud-based approach helps them make more money by being more efficient.”

That the industry will accept a unified approach to managing building project data is only a matter of time, Cerone said.

“Construction is such a large part of the global economy that many billions can be saved and made through efficiencies,” he said.

Encouragingly, SHoP is hearing significant interest from builders who want to share the benefits of a unified approach.

Replacing linear processes with the concurrent working practices enabled by a unified approach speeds the design-to-fabrication process and introduces greater accuracy while automatically maintaining financial rigor.

“If car companies can know how much steel goes into a car, to the micron, why can’t you do that with a building?” Cerone said.

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: “Car companies know how much steel goes into
a car to the micron; why not buildings?” @SHoPArchitects

On a current project, Botswana Innovation Hub, an iconic symbol of Botswana’s support for research and development, SHoP has attained this level of “digital craft” across continents.

The results, Cerone said, are “speed with no waste, total accuracy of fabrication and absolute budgetary control.”

“A new 3D-model-based paradigm that actually incentivizes innovation, produces higher profits and helps make better buildings is coursing through the AEC industry,” Cerone said. “The industry is transforming, and it is very exciting to be a part of it.”

4 Benefits of Building Lifecycle Management:

BIM (Building Information Modeling) data, combined with PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) capabilities and processes, creates “Building Lifecycle Management” (BLM), which can increase construction predictability, long-term value and profitability. Main benefits include:

Improve Productivity: BLM helps remove version-control issues, with all users accessing a single live database. Human error, rework and iterations can be drastically reduced.

Increase Quality and Value: Armed with richer data in context, designers can make better decisions. Data access also improves coordination among builders and suppliers, allowing them to more quickly and accurately realize the design intent. BLM also offers built-in governance and traceability, improving accountability.

Reduce Waste, Risk and Cost: BLM is designed to reduce waste by more accurately predicting outcomes, identifying potential points of conflict and optimizing processes. BLM also reduces risk to the project schedule, worker safety and the overall construction budget.

Gain a Competitive Advantage: A BLM system enables a team to become more efficient than competitors, deliver higher quality, gain the loyalties of owners and design partners and retain a healthier profit margin.

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: #AEC Turns to the Cloud
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RELATED RESOURCES

WHITEPAPER End-To-End Collaboration Enabled by BIM Level 3: An Architecture, Engineering & Construction Industry Solution Based on Manufacturing Best Practices

Design for Fabrication Industry Solution Experience

How to Foster Open Innovation: The 5 Things You Need to Know

By Estelle
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Open Innovation by Dassault Systèmes

It was a little more than a decade ago that Berkeley professor Henry Chesbrough started developing the concept of Open Innovation at the Center for Open Innovation, where he was also a director.  Back then, Chesbrough’s idea of Open Innovation relates to pooling platforms or tools to help foster innovation and share ideas.  And because businesses experience more collaboration today, Open Innovation is much more relevant in the current business climate.

It is no secret that business environments have become increasingly complex.  You do not only have to work with scarce resources and tight budgets, but you also need to keep up with changes in technology – with new ones emerging every day.  You also have to foster sharing of knowledge and intelligence while also facilitating collaboration when you are co-innovating or co-creating.  And collaboration and co-creation are no longer limited to employees, but now includes other parties such as customers, SMEs, suppliers, associations, startups and other entities in the business ecosystem.

 

How do you promote Open Innovation in your organization?

 

  1. Bring together your internal and external projects. You can use just one platform that will enable you to get ideas from outside your organization while also letting outsiders test out the ideas of your employees.  Not only will you be able to share ideas and intelligence easily, but you also get to test ideas more quickly, as well as get new ideas from everyone.

 

  1. Use both offline and online methods when you are co-creating. Efficiently getting new concepts for your products will need the use of both offline and online methods.  For example, you can get employees, experts, customers, developers and/or designers to help you design your product. As such, you would need to ensure that your offline and online campaigns complement one another.

 

  1. Run better and less risky contests. Run contests to help you generate ideas as well as getting around challenges.  Moreover, contests are also a good opportunity to develop Open Innovation for your company.  To lessen the amount of work, the risks as well as to make it more successful, it is best to work with a non-competing company or a group of companies.  You would be able to spread the work while also establishing a collaborative mindset, while also learning to protect your intellectual property and remaining agile.

 

  1. Manage your ideas effectively. It is very important to manage your ideas every step of the way.  When you allow everyone to contribute ideas, it will be very easy for some people to monopolize the entire process.  Early on, you should be able to pinpoint the key people who are qualified to contribute ideas at different stages of the project.

 

  1. Collaborate with others from different industries with different specializations. The thing with Open Innovation is that it naturally lends itself to disruptive innovations.  To be more competitive in today’s business environments, your innovations should not only come from or pertain to your core business.  You should be able to manage complex collaborations with people and companies from different industries.  For example, Smart City needs to bring together different players that belong to different industries, such as architecture, transportation, telecommunications and other urban infrastructure companies.

These are the 5 most important ways to foster Open Innovation in your organization. Follow these key tasks and your enterprise will be on its way to simpler business processes.

 

Visit  Ideation & Concept Design for High Tech Web Page   or download the article about Open Innovation in the new edition of Compass Mag.

Manufacturing Goes on The Cloud

By Tony
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Cloud

The Cloud is Everywhere

Or at least it seems like the cloud is everywhere today. More and more you see service offerings to back-up your system data or store your files. The storage space is nice to have, but I like the cloud for the data organization aspects. Cloud storage lets you organize things like your music for example, according to many different criteria. So instead of just listing it alphabetically like I would on my hard drive, I can organize it according to the genre of music, or the year it was released. I can organize it according to whether I listen to it while I am driving or while I am working out. It also lets me grant access to it according to who may listen to it, so if it is a suitable song, I can grant access to my son or daughter so they may listen to it.  As my library of photos and music grows, as well as my family, I can add more space to the cloud to scale it to my usage.

Manufacturing on the Cloud Makes Big Data Easy to Manage

Manufacturing applications on the 3DEXPERIENCE® platform work much in the same way.  Of course the cloud offers a great repository to keep all of your manufacturing data and applications. But even better, it offers a great place to manage and access all of your project data.  Whether it is a document, a process plan, a workcell simulation, or a manufacturing resource, it can be easily accessible on the cloud from the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. 3DEXPERIENCE on the cloud makes large amounts of data manageable and makes it easily searchable by different criteria.

Manufacturing on the Cloud Offers Scalable Resources

Manufacturing on the cloud is scalable. Projects ramp up and down as do workloads. Companies have a tough time managing hardware and software requirements that are constantly in a state of flux. Once hardware is purchased, it is on the books until it’s lifecycle is over. On the cloud, software and hardware requirements are completely scalable. So as projects and workloads ramp up and down, so does the system utilization and software licensing. This means that the capital investment made for hardware and software is transferred to a scalable system. Over the years as the company grows, the value of the 3DEXPERIENCE on the cloud grows exponentially.

Manufacturing on the Cloud helps companies to be more competitive

The 3DEXPERIENCE platform on the cloud gives smaller companies many advantages. It provides scalable resources and technology at a lower cost. By hosting hardware and software on the cloud, it also allows for reduced on-site support from IT specialists, as well as reduced infrastructure. Since it lets IT offload the responsibility, your team can focus on new projects and new products. In other words, they can focus on growing your business.

There are many possibilities when manufacturing goes on the cloud. What do you think? To learn more, join in the conversation or visit our blog “60 Seconds to Experience”.



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