JLG is a manufacturer of specialist access machinery which allows people to work at height. Their range of products – such as aerial, boom and scissor lifts – are used across many industries, including construction, due to the mobile access and material handling capabilities that they offer. JLG are the world’s largest telehandler manufacturer and are a part of the Oshkosh group who themselves specialise in speciality trucks and access equipment.
With JLG having finished their first year of BIM model hosting on BIMobject.com, Majenta thought it was well worth taking some time with the JLG team to understand how their BIM journey has been to date.
Majenta is grateful to project leads Neil Doherty (Chief Engineer) and James Hahessy (Principal Engineer), who have provided insight into how BIM is transforming the construction industry from a unique perspective at JLG.
WHAT WAS THE MOTIVATION FOR EXPLORING BIM AT JLG?
…responding to customer demand
The JLG engineering team were getting more and more requests for 3D models and data related to their machines. Construction site engineers and main contractors were frequently requesting models in different formats and this led the JLG team to start questioning what was behind the increased interest. For Chief Engineer, Neil Doherty, as soon as the team realised their customers were using models of JLG’s machines to manage their own requirements and coordinate activity on-site prior to construction “then everything fell into place”. It was at this point that “JLG had to have models” of all their machines “to give them to engineers so they could plan”. The thinking was, “if they plan with our machines then hopefully they’re going to rent or buy our machines.”
“JLG had to have models, to give them to engineers so they could plan”. The thinking was, “if they plan with our machines then hopefully they’re going to rent or buy our machines.”
Neil Doherty, Chief Engineer, JLG Industries
…providing a complete customer experience
As part of JLG’s commitment to providing customers with a complete end-to-end and premium service when purchasing or renting JLG products, it was also clear that empowering customers with free to access parametric models with all the dimensional and attribute information they need, offered a great opportunity to enhance the customer experience. “Democratising the information” to help customers was a core objective for BIM at JLG.
…part of the revolution
Split across both the Manufacturing and Construction industries, the design and engineering department at JLG has witnessed and gone through the evolution from the drawing board into 3D computer-aided design (CAD) and when JLG first started looking at BIM seriously, around 3 years ago, it was clear that it represented the same revolution in terms of design and data sharing, as experienced in Manufacturing during the 1980s and 90s. It seemed a logical choice to explore how JLG should best align with the growth of BIM in Construction.
WHAT PROMPTED MAJENTA’S INVOLVEMENT?
JLG were having internal conversations about BIM but felt they were not fully clear on what they wanted. They were conscious they needed to reach a global audience but felt uncertain whether hosting BIM models on their own website would be the right approach to reach the intended target audience – the site engineers and planners.
For Principal Engineer James Hahessy, when Majenta got in touch to discuss the BIMobject Cloud “it was perfect timing” and the key message that struck a chord with JLG was “to put your goods where people are shopping and to follow the virtual footfall”.
…the solution and partnership
The Majenta and BIMobject team then spent time with JLG both in the UK and the US to demonstrate the full capability and value of the BIMobject Cloud and BIManalytics Core subscription packages. At which point JLG decided that the combined solution and partnership presented by BIMobject and Majenta was the best in class choice and was the right fit for the business
“When Majenta got in touch to discuss the BIMobject platform “it was perfect timing” and the key message that struck a chord with JLG was “to put your goods where people are shopping and to follow the virtual footfall.”
James Hahessy, Principal Engineer, JLG Industries
WHAT SOLUTION HAS BEEN IMPLEMENTED AT JLG?
…subscription to BIMobject’s global hosting and analytics package
JLG’s BIM models are hosted on the BIMobject Cloud through a global subscription package managed by Majenta. This means that JLG teams, divided into regions and countries around the world, can see and respond to analytics data which provides information on how users are interacting with JLG’s models. This data includes how many, and of which specific JLG models, people are downloading and where the downloads are originating from. This, in turn, provides JLG with insight as to the global interest in their digital models. It also means that BIMobject users can access JLG’s 3D geometry and parametric information online as well as downloading models in different data formats including Revit and IFC. For prospective JLG customers, they can, therefore, start using and planning with JLG models completely independently, empowering them to harness the democratised information made available by JLG’s engineering team.
“I have seen the process translate into sales and rentals.”
…an internal process for managing change
JLG were conscious from the start that in making models widely available there is a need and responsibility to ensure they remain “a safe source of information” and must be controlled by Engineering. To achieve this, JLG have implemented an internal design workflow to ensure that any changes made to the source engineering model are captured and updated in the BIM model. This way JLG’s data is “kept relevant and accurate to end users and they have confidence in the models they’re getting”.
Between JLG and JLG’s rental distribution partners there are now over 150 product families hosted on BIMobject.com.
“By implementing an internal design workflow, JLG are now able to ensure that their data is “kept relevant and accurate to end users and they have confidence in the models they’re getting.”
WHAT REACTION HAVE YOU HAD FROM CUSTOMERS?
…early integration in the design process
Having the models so widely available has meant JLG have engaged with “customers from all over the world in unique and high-value projects we could never have imagined our models going into”. In fact, the ability for projects to accurately plan and forecast the use of on-site machinery has even resulted in some building design changes occurring on major schemes to better accommodate JLG’s access systems. In a recent example, this also led to an agreed use of JLG’s machinery beyond initial construction and for ongoing building maintenance for a further 15 years!
…helping to overcome unforeseen issues
Site engineers and others are now able to coordinate and optimise the on-site construction process through virtual planning and sequencing tools, and JLG’s BIM models are helping them to overcome unforeseen issues. Previously, the wrong products were often selected for construction projects which then needed to be withdrawn, causing added costs and delays. So JLG are seeing the models actually “helping customers to solve problems before they know they have them”.
Having the models so widely available has meant JLG have engaged with “customers from all over the world in unique and high value projects we could never have imagined our models going into.”
…helping to overcome unforeseen issues
Site engineers and others are now able to coordinate and optimise the on-site construction process through virtual planning and sequencing tools and JLG’s BIM models are helping them to overcome unforeseen issues. Previously, the wrong products were often selected for construction projects which then needed to be withdrawn, causing added costs and delays. So JLG are seeing the models actually “helping customers to solve problems before they know they have them”.
…generation of new business
Ultimately JLG has seen the power that their content has provided for customers; giving them access to the information they need has translated directly into sales and rentals.
HOW HAS THIS NEW APPROACH BEEN RECEIVED INTERNALLY AT JLG?
…driving technology use
The BIM project has helped support wider company objectives at JLG including their digital services offering. It has helped “the business to become more technology-driven” and is playing an increasingly important role in “bolstering existing relationships and establishing new relationships”.
Operating in a traditional mechanical engineering business there is still the challenge of changing the existing culture and mindsets to make sure internal teams fully appreciate the value of digital construction. However, with the recent recognition of the BIM project’s contribution to the business from CEO Ramon Carbonell, the initiative is certainly garnering favourable support.
JLG’s sales teams are also starting to embrace the platform as a reliable source of knowledge for themselves, and customer uptake has been particularly good in Europe. JLG calculate they have saved approximately 3000 hours in time that would have previously been spent locating and sharing information which is now embedded in the models. Therefore, it has certainly been a strong first year’s performance for JLG’s BIMobject Cloud subscription.
Prior to Majenta’s involvement on the BIM model hosting initiative at JLG, it was felt that the team had all the right information but it was fragmented across multiple locations – such as spec sheets, the website, and operating and service manuals – and the data “was a real palaver” to access. The JLG Engineering Team had been working hard to centralise this information through the development of BIM content but they still required the right vehicle to capitalise on this work and deliver the content to the right audience. Therefore, the key to success on this project was the perfect alignment of the hard work of the JLG team and the right technology partners getting on board at the right time to help unlock the potential of JLG’s preparatory work.
“Everyone we’ve met from Majenta has been great to deal with…it’s been brilliant.”
The simplicity and speed of implementation made possible thanks to Majenta’s guidance and BIMobject’s hosting platform meant that within a matter of weeks the project team was able to connect JLG’s rich BIM content to their target end-users and prospective customers. As stated by Neil Doherty, JLG “had no time and no real resource”, however, Majenta’s partnership still made for a smooth delivery and helped to ensure JLG succeeded in meeting their project objectives.
“The Majenta and BIMobject partnership was core to the success of JLG’s BIM project”
James Hahessy, Principal Engineer, JLG Industries
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE LOOK LIKE FOR JLG AND BIM?
…inclusion of distribution partners
As an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer), JLG sells predominantly through an extensive worldwide distribution network. Work has already started to engage JLG’s wider distributors within the BIMobject ecosystem and to host more branded models to help extend the benefits JLG has seen to date to their distribution partners.
As a true pioneer on the BIMobject Cloud – being the first construction machinery organisation to make their models available – JLG also want to increase the awareness and use of their models to consolidate the work done to date.
There is a clear vision for the company of how the digital and physical worlds of construction will continue to operate in ever closer alignment and there is a great deal more innovation planned at JLG which very much embraces the methodology and key principles represented by BIM.
Chief Engineer, JLG Industries