January 2023

What is a centralized data model and why is it so important?

Learn how centralized data management improves efficiency, consistency, and agility for homebuilders, with the help of Higharc's technology.

Jennifer Hoops
Jennifer Hoops
Director of Implementation | Cleveland, OH
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The way that homebuilders currently manage data is fundamentally broken. 

Homebuilders often struggle with managing data effectively. Imagine if each decision for a car door, such as color, handle, and window style, were stored in a separate folder for every car that needs a door. This would result in millions of folders with similar data. Instead, in the car manufacturing industry, data is managed centrally and presented as choices for each car.

Why don’t we do it the same way in homebuilding? Do all houses have doors? Do the doors all need relatively the same parts? What about walls? Do we essentially need some number of layers of materials that become a wall? Of course the answer is yes.  Walls are always walls and doors are always doors. What if we managed the different types of doors one time and made them available as a “choice” in each house? Would our data be easier to manage? The answer is resoundingly YES.

But that’s too restrictive you might think. I “need” to do things differently, my customer demands it. Let’s go back to the door example. Let’s imagine an elevation with a front door. That door is likely included in an elevation and maybe you offer several upgrades. Each elevation that you offer has a door. Let’s say you wanted to start selling 8’ tall doors, sidelights, and transoms to meet market demands. What would be your process for making that happen? You start with architecture and purchasing, you have at least 3 systems to update before you even have a price for the door. After you have all that worked out, now you have to deal with the renderings, the website and the sales center.  Next, you have to train the sales people how to sell it. You can’t get the transom with the 8’ option and you can’t get the sidelight on elevation B because there is no room. If your sales team is on top of things, an order will be sent out to buy the correct door, but did the framer notice that option ID on his paperwork and frame it out for the bigger door? Just in case, your field manager decides that he needs to spend time checking each lot for the next 6 months to make sure that the framer gets the option. In month 4, there is a new foreman on the framing crew and the problem starts again. I could go on about disappointing the customer and potential re-work, but I think you get the point.  

Centralized data refers to having all of a business's data in one central location, instead of scattered across multiple systems or locations. As a production homebuilder, this allows for greater efficiency and agility in operations. With all of your data in one place, you can easily access and update information related to the materials you need to buy, order, sell, and build your homes, including the front door. By using Higharc's technology, you can deploy this centralized data to each home you're building, ensuring that you always have the most up-to-date information on hand. This streamlines the process and allows you to make quick, informed decisions, helping your business become more agile and efficient.

Taking the first step is the hardest part. 

Try thinking about all the times in your business where you needed to change something. Roof slope for an ARB? Adjust masonry percentage to get costs down?  Change a wall section detail to accommodate a different type of sheathing? What are the “choices” you want to make available to your business within each house? These choices can become your builder and regional settings.

By using centralized data and Higharc's technology, production homebuilders can easily control and apply various trim packages and material palettes to the exterior of their homes. Instead of having to offer 20 different elevations per plan, builders can now offer just a few basic "shapes" or elevations and use Higharc to apply any of their 20 trim packages or 50 material palettes. This allows builders to offer a wider range of options to their customers without the added work and complexity of creating new elevations. With Higharc's technology, builders can now "offer" what used to be considered 3000 different elevations with minimal effort.

As a production builder, it's important to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to agile homebuilding. One way to do this is by implementing a centralized data strategy, which can streamline your operations and increase efficiency. By centralizing your data, you can easily access and update information related to the materials you need to buy, order, sell, and build your homes. This allows you to make quick, informed decisions and stay on top of the latest trends in construction management. What sets Higharc apart is that it allows you to have centralized control while still having local flexibility, meaning you can build houses differently in different areas while still keeping the same process. This is the key to truly being efficient and agile in your homebuilding operations.

Why is Centralized Data so important to using Higharc’s automation?

Let’s go back to the first example of the car door. Let’s say that you have made the choice to manage your car door data centrally and are happy with it. Six months after you release this data strategy, a door designer comes along and says I like the door handle choices you gave me, but for this one car I need to make the shape square instead of rounded like you have outlined. Okay, if you MUST have that square shape then just do it on that one car and be done. Another six months goes by and you find out that your door handle manufacturer has stopped making one of your door styles and you have to replace it with another. It flows through the business with a simple click and you are thrilled.  BUT, there is this one car with a square handle. This one car also needs to get a new door handle but because it wasn’t part of the centralized data model, you have to have a human do into each design file and make the adjustments to the drawings. It takes you longer to make the handle change for this one type of car than for all others combined.  

At Higharc, we understand the importance of automation in streamlining the homebuilding process. By implementing a centralized data strategy, we eliminate the potential for human error and ensure that all information is accurate and up-to-date. Our technology allows for greater efficiency and agility in operations, ensuring that every aspect of the building process is controlled and monitored. However, it is important to note that automation can only go so far. The more you utilize it, the higher quality you can expect to receive. Trust in our technology to take your production homebuilding business to the next level.

With Higharc's centralized data system, homebuilders can update any or all plans at scale using a single source of truth and eliminate repetitive tasks.

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