“It’s not the same as the party in the park, but I think this one is going to be just as entertaining,” said Todd Weyandt in anticipation of the virtual House Party which followed the discussion recapping day 2 of MEP Force 2020. Guests James Simpson, Travis Voss, Nathan Wood, and Rob McKinney talked about their top takeaways for the day.
The day’s keynote was about the evolving MEP industry: breaking down silos and getting shared information to all the teams. The recap panel talked a little about the eVolve Foresite new product announcement. As Simpson put it, Foresite links purchasing to the BIM model, streamlining the process. Basically, it was designed to help everyone on the project speak the same language, so you get what you need based on the BIM model. The resulting workflow understands the supply chain of the MEP contractor. Wood said, “It’s really cool. The whole product is empathizing around the needs of the MEP contractor and trying to connect those shared pains across that supply chain.” Voss added, “It’s trying to standardize and productize across the industry, so we can all be speaking the same language.” For contractors, Foresite will be, in Simpson’s words, “the missing link in the workflow. You’re tracking your fabrication now, there’s a lot of communication downstream to the field, but there’s still that disconnect with purchasing.”
Weyandt’s observation: “It’s more about the people and the workflows and getting the technology to match that, instead of having the people match the technology.” And Voss pointed out, software isn’t a “silver bullet.” You have to use software that supports your efforts, not define them.
One of the day’s breakouts that stood out for everyone was “How & Why the Trades are Teaching MEP Design.” Union Locals are starting to train its workforce on MEP design, and this improves the product they supply – labor. Union contractors can obtain highly skilled people.
The point was made that, if we’re looking to establish a new culture in MEP, that involves defining the language, developing that and investing in that.
Another takeaway was that champions are needed. Wood pointed out an overarching theme: companies need to understand what data matters, how to get it, and who should get it. “If you don’t understand what your business needs,” he said, “then no software is going to save you.”
Training is on everyone’s mind these days, especially as some companies are experiencing downtime. Simpson said, “Training is everything when it comes to software.” The point was made more than once that it’s important to invest in software, and then invest in training your people. The two go hand in hand. One speaker reminded contractors that it’s unrealistic to expect to get a return on software investment immediately.
Beyond training, it’s also key to make sure your software implementation is right. Be sure to get regular checkups of the implementation. Some technology partners (Applied Software was cited as an example) offer a customer success team to ensure the implementation is making you more efficient and productive.