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March 23, 2022
Expert Insight

BOXY: Adopting Technology Early Puts Your Factory On the Path for Production Success

Modular and offsite construction is seeing a rapid boom for various reasons which include, cost pressure from onsite labor, quicker times for project delivery and greater efficiency through factory production. These benefits are outlined by the innovative modular builder BOXY, in their Process & Mission Statement. BOXY also notes the added value factory based construction has on the environment, which includes cutting travel, limiting environmental disturbance and cutting material waste by 70%.

As part of BOXY’s design-manufacturing process they gather customer needs, build thorough digital floor plans and renderings, have these plans approved by local architects to ensure they meet local codes and then proceed with production. BOXY also actively seeks to implement technology throughout their design and manufacturing process. 

In this Expert Insight we sit down with BOXY CEO Mateo Atwi to discuss the importance of adopting technology early in the lifecycle of your offsite construction business and why technology can set your factory on the path for production success and scale as your business and projects grow. 

It looks like BOXY is gaining traction in the construction industry as a provider of an innovative design-manufacturing process that allows customers to design new commercial and residential projects for factory production from the start. How do you balance the demands of customers who seek customization or unique aspects in their design while also solving for efficiency and ease of assembly during manufacturing? Are there specific technologies you utilize in this design process that help?

We have to define a process for designing and manufacturing that we know we can execute on and apply to projects. If you can’t design it, then that’s a failsafe that you can’t build it. We have structured BOXY so that we have the most possible flexibility using fairly conventional constraints to take on projects by hybridizing all projects into wall panels and transportable modules. Depending on the customer’s requirements, more or less redesign may occur from what they originally perceive to fit our process. We feel the hybrid approach allows us to provide solutions for a wider variety of customers than the average modular builder.

3D CAD software has been integral to our manufacturing. Without it we would have assembly issues and we wouldn’t be able to use the data that comes from developing the plans. We also use scanning technologies while building to be able to record and share the progress of the projects.

In what ways has adopting technology early in the manufacturing and production process helped your business? Similar to design, can implementing software during production help with maintaining a successful process or enabling important collaboration between project stakeholders?

Truthfully, the best time to integrate technology is before you start manufacturing. Once you begin manufacturing there is momentum to keep the project and its components the same, and it usually adds another step to use a new system. We integrated structural detailing software like AGA CAD early in our process to enable us to automate the material portion of our projects. We use inhouse rudimentary software to track bill of materials and inventory. Ideally as we develop, we want software that can float data between the different phases of planning and construction and provide the necessary information to each party (designer, project manager, client, subcontractors) as they come along.

When is the earliest you would suggest an offsite or modular builder to begin implementing factory technology? Is there a reason they should implement technology before factory launch? In what ways would this help them scale production to keep up with their growth and demand?

Software like Offsight is easy to implement before you scale and start building a factory, so absolutely modular builders should be testing new technologies before starting an operation. It’s important to create a culture of technology adoption in order to improve production and quality operations over time and productivity at scale. This is how the industry will move forward. Once the factory is up and running, it’s critical to analyze and see what software improves the factory and which technology is hindering growth. If a software is useful, it will propel production scaling and growth.

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