In an age when North American manufacturing is an endangered species, DIRTT is producing client-driven interior construction projects. Painlessly and profitably, every single day. It doesn’t matter if the project is a single office or an entire hospital; each one is what the conventional world would consider, “custom.”
From opening day, May 5th, 2005, our mission was to be the quickest made-to-order responder in manufacturing and construction. We achieved that. Oh, and we just started doing it even faster.
This month forward our lead-times will be up to a third shorter than the industry record we currently hold. Without raising prices or adding extra employees. All DIRTT’s lead-times are now three-weeks or less. Yes. While offering our clients the ability to build exactly what they want. No custom lead-times. No custom pricing. DIRTT, after all, stands for Doing It Right This Time.
How do we do it? Technology.
DIRTT created a digital platform that turns the minutia of engineering and manufacturing into an interactive, real-time 3D experience for the client and all stakeholders. The software allows designers to design and owners to participate constructively in the outcome of their spaces without getting sticker-shock, even after they moved in sooner than expected.
This approach was designed and built to make the lives of our employees, our distribution partners, design professionals, contractors and most important, our clients, better.
So why isn’t DIRTT a billion-dollar company? Because we’re deep inside an industry that still uses methods developed in the 19th century. An industry as interested in technology as a horse is in Uber.
It’s telling that Building Information Modeling (BIM) is the technology getting the most interest. Its purpose is to point out imminent disaster where conventionally built elements will collide. Obviously this is valuable information. But conventional BIM isn’t building the building for you. Our software ICE® builds. The platform calls out trouble, gives the designer options and then treats our manufacturing facilities like giant 3D printers. The design is the order. We are Building Information Makers.
These days conventional manufacturing isn’t faring much better than construction. Technologically, a few have robots to brag about, but when it comes to allowing their clients to dictate what they make? It’s a non-starter.
Standardization. Economies of scale. Cheaper materials. Cheaper labor. Discounting. Stealing and slightly altering ideas. This is good business in conventional manufacturing.
When we started this, we were told we were crazy. Conventional manufactures said, “DIRTT just doesn’t get it,” especially when we went out and opened new factories in 2009 and 2011 while others worked to protect what they had.
We will never have an iconic product with a name befitting a roman god. In other words, we’ll never create a fixed product line our clients cannot make their own. We will only ever build what our clients want with the ability to alter it as life changes, putting us as deeply in the service industry as we are in construction and manufacturing.
The only way we got here was by embracing technology that didn’t help make the status quo a little bit faster and a little bit more profitable. We did it by caring about the people we call clients and we created technology that allowed us to do that. And now we’re doing it faster. Much faster.
About Mogens Smed:
CEO, Director and co-founder of DIRTT, has over 40 years of experience in the interior construction industry, including launching and growing SMED International into a publically traded modular interior construction company with over $300 million in annual revenue and his role as CEO of Evans Consoles, a private company providing command-control infrastructure solutions. SMED International was sold to Haworth Inc. in 2000.