July 29, 2022

Microfactories serve integration-ready, multi-trade modules for construction efficiency

A new category of value chain players, a microfactory is a popup manufacturing facility located within a short distance of a construction site.
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Akio Moriwaki
As head of global marketing for the AEC Industry at Dassault Systèmes, Mr. Moriwaki launches and promotes groundbreaking Industry Solution Experiences including "Optimized Construction," "Façade Design for Fabrication," and "Civil Design for Fabrication." He is a member of buildingSMART.

Microfactories are a new category of value chain players. A microfactory is a popup manufacturing facility located within a short distance of the construction site that fabricates parts and multi-trade assemblies into integration-ready modules.

Distinct from prefab shops, which simply move trade-based processes off site, microfactories are distributed manufacturing operations that can be structured to service multiple construction clients through standardized components and modular platforms.

Once manufactured, the locally-produced, integration-ready, multi-trade modules are transported a short distance to the construction site for installation by unskilled laborers.

Microfactories are creating new value pools in a changing industry.

The construction industry is facing extreme demands for speed, sustainability and customization. The only way to meet these demands is to break free of the constraints of today’s trade-based prefabrication and subcontractor coordination mentalities.

Productization drives more value, offers more scalability and bypasses financial sinkholes rampant in trade-based industrialized processes. As productization becomes more widespread, construction value chain players will reorganize and collaborate more closely through virtual twins. GCs will serve as prime integrators of multi-trade modules. Specialty contractors will morph into virtual makers. Microfactories will become more prevalent.

Forward-thinking business leaders are already adjusting their business models around virtualized processes, digital deliverables and off-cycle product management. Construction teams will ultimately maximize value with integration-ready construction modules that include multi-trade assemblies, generative variants and standardized interfaces.

The 3DEXPERIENCE platform offers the functionality necessary to support construction virtual twins, productization and integration-ready modules.

This article is excerpted from THE PRODUCTIZATION EFFECT: How integration-ready modules will transform the roles of general contractors, specialty contractors and the entire construction value chain. This white paper maps the path to productization and defines how general contractors, specialty contractors and the entire construction value chain can leverage virtual twins on an end-to-end collaboration platform, transcend the limitations of classic industrialization and leapfrog to personalized construction.

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