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(LRT THINK TANK) INSIGHTS ON ATTAINABILITY + PRODUCTION: DIGITIZATION
In November 2019, we hosted 120 key stakeholders in the housing industry for a deep dive event focused on driving attainability for middle income households – those who make roughly $50K-$125K per year.
In table-based think tanks of six to eight people, we addressed 15 questions related to PLACE, PRODUCT and PRODUCTION (or process) – the three big buckets that need to be tackled to make homes more attainable without sacrificing the quality of our homes and our lives.
Here’s a question from the PRODUCTION segment of our agenda.
What processes need to be improved to maximize the benefit of digitizing home design and delivery?
We asked 22 thought leaders, including housing developers, regional and national builders; experts in innovation, architecture, government relations, off-site construction, marketing, recruiting and media; researchers / analysts; technology, manufacturers and an academic.
Here’s what they had to say.
1: End-to-end supply chain connections.
Think about the three flows: information up and down; products flow one way; cash flows back. But from the start, information doesn’t flow within our own companies let alone from one company to another. A lot of that is self-induced. For example, a pen may be called by 80 different names within a company. But it should have the same name always. We need industry standards where everybody calls the pen the same thing. Then when it comes to actual homebuilding, what if you did a digital model of everything in that home? Create a “source code” that can drive a bill of materials that becomes the perfect purchase order that drives productivity.
2: Collaboration and communication.
When we collaborate with trade partners and suppliers and our internal folks, architects, etc., the results can be fantastic. While digitalization allows us to do that more, communication is also an issue. It's not just the digital tool itself, it's how you actually execute an integrated design process.
3: Project ownership.
If there's a builder, a framer and different players making panels, for example, someone has to own driving that model through the value chain as a home is being developed or built.
4: Change management.
More digitalization means less work for some people. We’ll need a lot of education on the value of using digitization. For example, if HVAC is going into the panel, an HVAC supplier may not be doing the install, or they may spend less time in a house. But they must change their mindset that now they can get more turns and get onto the next job, which is more important than the extra 15 minutes or hour they’d spend putting more stuff into a house. That type of change takes a lot of education and training.
Read More Think Tank Recaps:
INSIGHTS ON ATTAINABILITY + PRODUCTION: LABOR
INSIGHTS ON ATTAINABILITY + PLACE: ZONING
INSIGHTS ON ATTAINABILITY + PRODUCT: HOME AS A SERVICE
INSIGHTS ON ATTAINABILITY + PRODUCT: FINANCING
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