Building Information Modeling – BIM for short – is a process that facilitates the collaborative exchange of data throughout all phases of the lifecycle of a building. BIM allows for all data to be readily viewed and updated in a convenient virtual model easily accessible by any project team member. Data is arguably what drives BIM and makes it successful, allowing team members from all disciplines to save time, money and rework throughout the entire project.

Most of the time, when people consider BIM, they equate it with construction or design, but perhaps not manufacturing. But the manufacturers may actually be the most credible and useful data source in terms of creating and optimizing the model: they can provide designers with crucial component information – geometry, performance data, etc. – to incorporate in the model. This can prevent errors in the workflow later on.

BIM is also useful for manufacturers because it incentivizes design teams to purchase and utilize their suggested products for the final design because they can easily access the data and geometry that already indicates how things fit and look within the model. This idea additionally applies to construction teams, because if the information about your products is easy to find, then workers can more simply ensure your materials adhere to their set specifications and requirements. Manufacturers can also figure out which products design and construction teams are simply looking at as opposed to actually buying and installing: that’s effective for costs and inventory, and also serves as inadvertent market research.

In other words, BIM improves the project lifecycle for all disciplines because it saves time and money by having relevant data readily accessible: architecture, construction and manufacturing disciplines can all collaborate within one model, which can be updated in real time.

BIM is not a methodology a firm can adopt overnight. Rigorous implementation, transition, and training are necessary to master and utilize the appropriate software, namely Autodesk Revit. But despite this, people realize the long-term benefits are well worth it: BIM use has skyrocketed this past decade. It’s up to manufacturers to learn how to collaborate with other disciplines through BIM: saving time, boosting productivity and efficiency, as well as cost and rework savings, besides the obvious benefit of keeping up with industry trends and ahead of the competition. If manufacturers accommodate other disciplines by making the overall lifecycle more simplified and streamlined, business growth will speak for itself.