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Monday, March 21, 2011

Offer "Self Managed" Project Workspace Solutions to Your AEC Clients

The document management needs of the AEC marketplace are changing and reprographers who fail to acknowledge these changes will be challenged to survive in the years ahead.

Over the last several years we have seen more and more AEC end-users starting to adopt low-cost file sharing tools that are diminishing the needs and value of traditional reprographic offerings, even On-line Plan Rooms.

Owners, GC’s, Sub’s and Design Professionals are aggressively moving towards using self managed solutions for distributing critical project information to project stake holders. Many are choosing to use CD’s, E-mail, FTP and web-based technologies like: BaseCamp, iSqft, SmartBidNet, Yousendit, BoxNet, DropBox, FileGenius, and a slew of others products to share and exchange project documents digitally.

Questions that you need to ask :

  1. If you are experiencing these workflow changes with your key clients, what are you doing to stay relevant?
  2. Does your existing plan room offering meet the needs of your clients today?
  3. Are you having a difficult time getting your customers to pay for your plan room services?
Many plan rooms offered by reprographers today are mostly Repro-Centric (developed by reprographers for managing files at the repro-shop along with a web component for end-users to view and order prints and digital files). Although plan rooms are still a valuable offering from reprographers, I hear almost every day that posting and organizing documents into plan rooms is being done at a loss or with the hope of future print or download orders. This is a very risky business model for reprographers!

AEC end-users who were once comfortable using plan rooms and paying for digital services are now resisting paying for these tools and services and are now requesting the use of these services for free (due mainly to some repro companies who have not charged for digital services or subscriptions to their plan rooms). Others are just not interested in using plan rooms at all and are looking at using inexpensive managed file transfer (MFT) solutions mentioned above; by-passing the reprographer all together.

If you are struggling to overcome these challenges you might want to take a look at what PlanWell's Development Team  has been working on to respond to these new paradigms.

The reality is, many AEC end-users want the ability to manage and distribute project information themselves. More and more, Project Managers are asking for tools that simplify the process of notifying and distributing documents to select team members.

Reprographers who respond by offering these capabilities will have an opportunity to remain valuable to their AEC customers. Reprographers who fail to introduce these capabilities will be overlooked by the AEC community because the services they offer are not relevant to the workflow needs of today!

To learn more about The “New PlanWell Solution” click here:


Shaun Meany

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