How to integrate data from BIM models into ERP processes and why is it Crucial in the Construction Industry in 2024?
That's the question any forward-thinking and innovation-minded AEC company should be investigating, if not already implementing a solution.
For years the construction industry has been lagging behind in rise of productivity while other industries have grabbed the bull by the horns and invested in finding solutions to the real pain-points in their processes. Construction companies with low profitability and many crisis and obstacles to overcome need to see a good ROI when deciding upon process improvement projects - many companies have taken small steps along the way towards digitalization (for example, implementing partial, decentralized ERP systems) but a greater leap must be made to really maximize the effects.
Let's take a quick look at 5 great benefits a BIM to ERP connection can bring to a construction company:
Enhanced Efficiency and Productivity in Production and Construction By connecting the two dots between BIM and ERP truly optimized workflows can be created. Not only is all of the information accessible to everyone, not only can everyone direct some of the former responsibilities to the ERP system, but creating the basis for real high quality decisions which can provide great insights into improving Production Planning and Control.
Up-to-date Project Schedule and Budget Monitoring The quality of decisions made in processes is strongly related to the amount, accuracy and timeliness of the information available. Having a comprehensive overview of the project through having a strong BIM database will provide the necessary input data for the decision-makers. Fast actions can be taken to alleviate discrepancies and steer the project back on course.
Project and Company Resource Planning Added value is created easily if the machine is well-oiled and constantly moving. Some of the largest setbacks in projects or production planning usually have something to do with supply-chain (mis)management, human resources (un)availability, and possibly also cashflow issues. This can be remedied with an intelligent ERP setup together with the up-to-date and accurate data of BIM.
Improved Communication and Collaboration Value created within teams, where the equasion "1 + 1 = 3" applies, is much greater than the total value created by each individual working on their own. Good communication and collaboration between the stakeholders of the project during the entire process will lead to greater satisfaction on all sides. By connecting the BIM model (digital twin of the project loaded with information) and the ERP systems (Enterprise Resource Planning functionalities loaded with information) all relevant data is combined into an up-to-date and accessible-to-all state. By enabling everyone to base their work on data of equal quality will improve the overall quality of the outcome.
Higher Quality and Sustainability Most mistakes can be avoided by having good control over the processes and an agile way to react. Collecting the various information of the project into a unified data stream will make sure that everyone is working with the latest knowledge and all the decision-makers can be equally involved. Less mistakes will lead to less waste and allow to make headway sustainability wise.
Automations - Free Up Time for the Really Important Tasks
With the booming use of machine learning and AI capabilities there are more and more digital tools out there to automate the reoccurring simpler tasks and keep focus on activities where human reasoning and decision-making are required. By choosing the "right tool for the right job" a company can create a lot of value from barely changing their processes. The most important part of this job, though, is to locate and define the true pain-points of the workflows - once the challenges are defined, an automation can be tailored for the fix.
Two Way Information Exchange from BIM to ERP and Back
Communication between the two systems can and should be designed as a two-way tunnel allowing to improve the quality of data in both of the databases. In our previous article ("What Is "BIM" and What Is It Good for in 2023?") we describe the BIM model as a "single source of truth" concerning the project at hand. Implementing data-exchange between the BIM model and ERP system will support this concept by allowing to supplement the BIM model data with relevant information from the execution phase (product information, supplier information, cost data, etc.).
How Can We at build.works Help You Achieve All of the Above?
Well that is easy to answer! - BIM model integration with ERP is one of the many useful functionalities we promote and provide on the build.works platform!
build.works empowers You with the cloud-based tools to introduce integrated business processes from BIM to supply chain planning and execution. If You are already using an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution by vendors such as SAP or Microsoft, build.works connects Your enterprise applications with BIM to enable harmonized and efficient Engineer-to-Order production scenarios to production plants and project management processes for the on-site projects.
A 3D construction model is just a pretty picture if the possibilities of attaching relevant information to model elements is not used. At build.works we focus more on what lies inside the belly of BIM models and provide tools for improving the data management workflows within projects - with build.works you can view, manage, edit and utilize project data and also synchronize it with Autodesk Revit. We know that changing and improving one's workflows is never easy but it is well worth the effort.
Keep focus on what You wish to achieve and involve those who have knowledge to help You out - We are here for You at build.works to provide You with expert advice and world-class innovative solutions to help You really make use of BIM!
Joonas Mauer I Customer Engagement Executive @ build.works