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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Building Information Modelling 3D (BIM) Real Needs

The concept of building information modelling (BIM) has received universal acceptance from the building services, structural engineering and architectural fraternity mainly due to its need for lean construction and also its cross-disciplinary usability. 3D BIM modeling has existed for a number of years now and the industry is aggressively adapting itself to embrace the new work flows of the BIM process; however, there is still a lack of clarity amongst the owners (the clients) as to what exactly they can achieve from these models, what they need to achieve and how they can make optimum use of this concept.

This article seeks to explore some beliefs related to the use of BIM and sheds light on when it should be used and to what extent. For the sake of clarity, it is important to know the difference between non-BIM 3D CAD models and a parametric BIM models.

3D CAD models are virtual representations of a facility that provide only visual details. Applications such as AutoCAD Architecture and AutoCAD MEP are used to create 3D CAD models that can be used for design, development, construction and pre-fabrication. On the other hand, BIM models are intelligent models embedded with parametric details that are extremely important for design, development, construction, pre-fabrication, assembly, analysing energy performance and facility management of the built environment. For BIM projects, the details can be effectively shared between different project stakeholders: facility owners, designers/architects, MEP (M&E) engineers, fabricators, consultants and contractors. Revit Architecture and Revit MEP are applications used for BIM modelling whilst Navisworks is employed to detect clashes between different system models. 

One of the most crucial aspects that helps decide whether BIM is actually required or not is gaining an in-depth understanding of the model's purpose. More often than not, there is so much difference between client's 'stated' needs and his/her 'real' needs. In a lot of cases, clients state that they require a BIM model but actually what they require is a smart clash-free 3D model which can be used to extract respective construction drawings. In such scenarios, AutoCAD MEP or AutoCAD Architecture could easily be used to provide a 3D model that meets this need. Alternatively, a BIM software tool could be used to provide a 3D model without providing additional elements such as data rich 'information'.

In other cases, a BIM model may actually be the basis to plan, design, construct, and manage a particular facility. These scenarios require multidisciplinary project stakeholders to access the BIM model at different stages in the project life cycle. As a result, the most important factor that dictates the success of any project employing BIM is the richness of 'information' embedded into the models.

 So, depending on the project's scope, a full-fledged BIM model may contain valuable information, such as dimensions of building elements, quantity take-off data, material requirements, time scheduling, costing, prefabrication data, activity simulation, and energy performance. Other important factors that contribute to success of BIM include the data-sharing and interoperability standards to allow smooth multidisciplinary collaboration between key disciplines.
Irrespective of whether the client actually requires BIM or non-BIM CAD model, the BIM wave that has spread across the AEC industry has forced the agenda to adopt a more progressive approach to planning, designing and coordinating models and drawings. 

The industry continues to transition from non-BIM 2D approaches to collaborative BIM work flows and 3D CAD work flows and even that is a huge shift for the industry. This change is more often than not influenced by the demand side i.e. the clients.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Today Business And New Economic Conditions

I discussed a new economic reality and what companies can do to preserve jobs in a down economy. As I continue addressing this issue with former CEOs, I find myself peeling the subject in layers as though peeling an onion.

As I have stated in the past, it is easy to layoff people or close manufacturing plants when the economy slows. It seems our business schools have not considered another possibility and we are perpetually stuck with laying people off to preserve profits.

At the same time, when you examine closely, you see this method is extremely unprofitable. Why? When you layoff a percentage of people to save a million dollars, for example, you don't openly discuss the repercussions. If your enterprise is to remain a going concern, you will eventually have to hire people to fill those vacant positions. When you rehire, you have to factor in the associated costs to fill the position. You have to advertise for the positions. 

You interview candidates which is time and then you train those people. The real dollar costs could be $3 million on a $1 million savings. That does not factor the intangible costs of lower quality customer experience that tarnishes your brand because former employees may have had better knowledge of customers' needs. As the layoff strategy incurs costs greater than the savings, it makes sense for many leaders to orchestrate financial engineering to hide the backlash of the unprofitable layoff strategy.

As an alternative strategy, consider the horse and buggy industry. As the proliferation of automobiles continued in the late 1800s, those horse and buggy companies changed their model. They started manufacturing cars. In this example, the move was reactionary. As technology and outsourcing continue to encroach on today's industries, a proactive plan is needed.

In another example, with the expansion of the digital age, paper manufacturers may be squeezed. Instead of shutting down plants, transform plants or look for new business abroad. As people use less paper and third world countries increase prosperity, new needs will arise. Furthermore, the global population continues to grow. Therefore, one opportunity for a paper mill is to transform the facility in whole or part from paper for newspapers and periodicals to toilet paper. This is an area technology cannot easily replace. In fact, with an increase in population and more countries participating in global commerce, this commodity will experience increased demand.

 However, this should not be a reactionary strategy like the horse and buggy companies. To thrive as your current industry dies, you should have your employees participate in this strategy. Have production look at the necessary equipment to make the change.
Sales and marketing should be researching new markets in the US and abroad. They should be talking to current and prospective customers as well as distributors and suppliers. In addition, it may be worthwhile to invest in training for key personnel in the targeted commodity.

If  leadership takes on the mindset that they are constantly training employees to mitigate the risks of a dying or transforming industry, they will have to think about training staff and management to perform in new territory. Even if your industry is bulletproof, it would be wise to use this strategy to navigate through recessions. That way you are less likely to fall into the cycle of laying people off and later filling the position with someone else. There are always new opportunities that can be exploited when faced with chaos. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Difficult to Selection of Training Institutes

Famous and running a company can be a tough job at times for individuals. To ease this problem what one can do is to look for options to solving them. One such problem solving method is the imparting of knowledge to the employees and making them ready to face challenges at work. There are many institutions which offer such services to the companies. Making the selection of such training institutions must be done judiciously to get the best people to teach the students.

There are many institutions which offer such safety training services to the people. When you are making the selection of the institute, check for the reputation of the institute. This is important as or else you will be wasting the money on a not so good institute. They also will not be able to teach the students well. Hence one can check with the older clients and also online for reports on the services that they offer to the people. This will enrich their knowledge considerably.

The next thing to check in institutes which offers inspection services to the people is for the people who will be imparting the education. This is of prime interest as they must have a good idea of what they will be teaching so that they will be enriching the knowledge of the students. 

One can check the website of the company and also the credentials of the people teaching there. This will enable them the company owners to understand whether they will be getting the right amount of training from the people.
Another factor to keep in mind is the fact what charge the institute will be taking from the people. This is also of much importance. The institute must be contacted beforehand to know about the charges. The company which will be employing the institute must bear in mind the fact or else they may be facing problem in future. They can also check with a few other companies to understand this issue in a better manner. This is important as this will also decide the company expenditure. Hence understanding such issues beforehand is a good idea for most individuals.
One must also check for the fact whether the training modules have been updated by the training institute. The recent trends must b incorporated in the study modules so as to give the people the best of knowledge. The company must be checked to see whether they keep on updating the contents of the modules with the passing of time. This will help the students to get updated knowledge.

Therefore these are some of the basic things to keep in mind while making the selection of the institutes. that will be offering training services to the people and choice.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Importance Of Having Vision And Mission In Your Business Goals

You have growth in some new task you have recently taken on, it is important to have a vision of not only what the outcome will look like, but also the methods and means you are going to employ to get there.

It might not be good enough to just say you have a vision of having a house that is paid off. Instead you need to be specific to mention exactly what that house is going to look like.

Does if have a wooden door, or a prefabricated plastic one?

Do the windows have internal blinds, or are you going to have them totally clear.

The more specific you can be in your vision, the clearer your path will be in order to achieve it.

If you are looking to build a business that remains your own compared to having multiple employees, or virtual ones for that matter, you need to be able to manage your time in addition the expenses required to do this.
Items that should be considered to get you on the right path to your ideal business might include you coming up with an overview of what your ideal day might look like.

If you can visualize what you would be doing from the time you get up until the time you went to bed again, you are going to become more focused on having that daily experience happen in reality.

Now keep in mind even in the ideal situation there will always be bumps in the road so the more flexible you are and willing to get back up with failure, the more likely you are to reach that vision of the successful life you want to lead.

People and businesses who lack a vision may continue to make sales and seem successful, though they might not ever grow beyond the scope of what is a possibility. Instead of being a million dollar a month company, perhaps they only are making 50 thousand dollars.
I know many people would love to make 50 grand a month, though with the proper vision and taking action, or implementing specific tasks, this can be scaled over time.

Everyone has a different vision and if you are working with a team, it is important to come up with a vision that best suites the needs and desires of all parties involved.

Be confident in what you want and visualize yourself while keeping an abundance mindset. You can always revise as you act and new challenges come your way, though the more you focus on what you had planned from the beginning, the more likely you are to achieve it.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

5 Key With Successful Incentive Travel Program

Although we have written volumes about the value of travel incentives, it is important to remember how many business objectives and return on investment initiatives are actually achieved when these programs are implemented correctly. Incentive travel is vital to maximizing relationships and profitability with your three key audiences: customers, channel sales affiliates, and employees. Increased customer loyalty, higher sales revenues and reduced employee turnover are the three prominent goals that travel incentives can achieve for you.

Executing a successful program however is extremely difficult. Melissa Van Dyke, President of the Incentive Research Foundation, has drawn on 20 years of expertise and feedback from industry executives to compile five keys to success for incentive travel programs in a recent issue of The Meeting Magazines.

1. Communication is key

When asked about what could lead a program to fail, the most common response was substandard communication efforts. This has been our experience as well. Too often marketing the program effectively and allocating a proper budget to do so takes a low priority in the overall travel incentive program budget. Poor timing, an already stretched budget and mundane emails to promote a program are all recipes for disaster. Many companies incorrectly expect a few text-heavy emails devoid of enthusiasm or exciting imagery to suffice.
Communication must be a top priority, not an afterthought, to properly motivate and achieve incremental performance and participant buy in. Understanding the exact steps the participants must take to receive the trip, their progress and standings in relation to others and how close they are to ultimately winning the prize need to be clearly communicated as the program progresses. Crystal clear communication is only the beginning however.

These communication pieces must also be inspiring and eye-catching. The communication channels must vary to catch the attention of even the most mobile sales person. The majority of the world has an attention deficit disorder in this age of instant gratification, social media and information overload. It is imperative to break through with compelling graphics, crafty language, strategic deployment and proper communication medium selection.
2. Visible management is a must

Management must ensure that their best producers feel like their efforts are recognized, appreciated, and valued. Top performers don't typically expect or crave a formal award ceremony, but they are appreciative when managers show up on site at events and interact with them in meaningful ways.

3. Culture is crucial

The program should be a direct reflection of your corporate culture. Just as the branding and marketing collateral of your company should fit the values of your organization, so should the incentive travel programs. A young, conservative company's trip should differ greatly from that of a conservative firm comprised of older individuals.

4. Fairness is fundamental

To properly motivate participants, rules should be easy to understand and perceived as fair. The way the brain processes perceived unfairness is similar to the way it reacts to a threat to one's life. Your contest should be challenging, yet fair and clearly communicated.

5. Lead with location
The biggest draw of your incentive travel program will be the location, plain and simple. Selecting a destination that resonates with your target audience is crucial. Emphasizing the great qualities of your destination should be obvious, but many fail to realize that this is aspect of the trip that speaks to participants the loudest. While management speaks in dollars and cents, participants have their eyes on the prize and respond to visual imagery and descriptive language about the destination.

Does your current incentive travel program address all five keys to success adequately? Do you see room to improve?

Don't have a program in place but are thinking of implementing one? Does your company possess the resources to address all 5 keys in-house.