Australia - Before MiTek even began talking about updates to their incredibly popular 20/20 program they decided to do one extremely important thing…listen, to learn! “MiTek 20/20 is so integral to the day-to-day running of a prefabrication plant,” said Richard Moulton, National Software Support Manager at MiTek. “And fabricators are the best source of information and creative input when it comes to developing software because they’re at the coal face, working with the program in practical terms. Our technical people have a very good fix on what goes on in a plant, but fabricator feedback is invaluable when it comes to initiating more tangible benefits to a program like 20/20.”
So, how did the ‘think tank’ all come together? “MiTek have a pro-active team of FSMs (Fabricator Support Managers) in each state – and part of their role is to interact with fabricators and help them with technical and practical plant and prefabrication issues. This means they’re ‘on-the-ground’, dealing with everyday matters…and, importantly gathering valuable information on how operational efficiencies can be improved. This extends directly into the way MiTek 20/20 works in the plant and in the office,” added Richard. “We asked our FSMs to focus on where we were at with 20/20 and on what fabricators wanted from it. How could we make it better? What would make it more user-friendly? How could we simplify some of the operations? What tools could be introduced to streamline any of the program’s capabilities? And, how could MiTek make 20/20 a program not only for today, but also for the future?” Just a short list really; but MiTek’s FSMs are used to dealing with more than one thing at a time. However, the process and subsequent development didn’t happen overnight.
“We wanted to make sure our development goals were realistic, so MiTek set up a MiTek 20/20 task force; with FSMs reporting to designated state project managers and they, in turn, gathered together with our program developers to identify those areas of improvement most needed,” said Richard. “This sometimes meant balancing between what was needed and what could be practically introduced into the program…but the results have been exceptional. Some of the improvements have been substantial!” Without giving too much away, perhaps the most dramatic changes have been in the speed, ease-of-use and versatility of 20/20 4.60.
One of the biggest hurdles facing the prefabrication industry at the moment is: the lack of available, trained Estimator / Detailers. “We have an extremely powerful program, balanced with a high degree of engineering integrity,” said Richard. “One of our aims with this release has been to simplify the user experience, in essence making the whole process of inputting and designing a job a whole lot easier and faster. New entrants into the prefabrication industry will now be able to get up to speed with detailing and estimating a lot quicker with 20/20 4.60.”
Whilst 20/20 4.60 boasts some amazing new tools and exciting innovations in terms of roof truss configuration choices, one of the most ‘in-demand’ benefits will be a faster, more streamlined estimating process. “It’s not uncommon for builders and developers to get up to 5 or 6 quotes…especially when the building environment is extremely competitive,” said Richard. “This means the fabricator can be dedicating a lot of internal resources to the estimating process. There are two issues here; first, the estimating has to be incredibly accurate in order to be competitive – second, the estimating process needs to be simplified to ensure not too much time is being spent per job. MiTek 20/20 4.60 has been specifically geared to take all of this into account.”
Another important consideration when upgrading the 20/20 program was the need to incorporate more contemporary roof designs into the suite of options. “The way we build and prefabricate today is quite different to the way a roof came together 10 years ago. There are more complex issues involved in some cases, so prefabrication options for individual challenges are a must. We wanted to make sure we didn’t develop a program that had a limited life-expectancy. MiTek 20/20 4.60 had to be able to answer a whole range of needs, without limiting the user in it’s flexibility.” Richard was reluctant to give too much away – but certainly made it clear: “MiTek 20/20 4.60 is the program for today…and in the future. Naturally 20/20 will continue to evolve as fabricator, designer and FSM input gives MiTek greater insights into the changing demands of building construction,” added Richard. “20/20 4.60 is great program. It’s very dynamic and extremely adaptable to these changes. Understanding our customers needs, then having the opportunity to contribute (with lots of assistance from other MiTek staff) to a product that you know will excite the end user is very rewarding.”