FAQ for Manufacturers
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All the insights you need to know about our content creation, maintenance and distribution services to guide you through your digital transformation embracing our multidimensional 5D digital catalog strategy.
A digital catalog (Specifi library) is the product of a very structured database of equipment complete with technical and commercial information directly associated to 3D drawings and any other document related to that piece of equipment like spec sheets and images.
Smart Content is a 2D/3D geometric representation (in DWG or RFA format) of Foodservice equipment model with highly configurable elements where a final user can change (set of) accessories or parts and select alternative configuration or variant or color of a single equipment on-demand. With Smart Content, database information will be as follows:
- code/model can and will change if different set of accessories are selected (if a Manufacturer has a construction rule to follow)
- technical and commercial descriptions will contain all the information regarding the equipment and all of its accessories and will be associated “1-on-multiples” to the drawing
- price can and will change if a final user will select set of different accessories, parts, configuration, variant or color
Static Standalone Content is a 2D/3D geometric representation (in DWG or RFA format) of a Foodservice equipment model already pre-configured with static preset of visible accessories, parts, colors (if any) delivered as-is and, therefore, unmodifiable by a final user. With Static Standalone Content, database information will be as follows:
- code/model will be unique and it will include all the pieces and accessories (if any)
- technical and commercial descriptions will contain all the information regarding the equipment and will be associated “1-on-1” to the drawing
- price will be unique and the sum of all the pieces and accessories (if any) included in the equipment
Specifi by the Numbers
As a global company, we have established partnerships with over 450 Manufacturers over the years, starting from Europe’s Top 350 and recently engaging with 100 Top USA companies and growing. We have developed and managed:
- 500K+ CAD Symbols
- 190K+ BIM Symbols
- 17K+ Pricelists in Different Currencies
Our network is constantly growing over years. We have 1.600+ active users between dealers, designers and consultants globally, setting partnerships with the most important Buying Groups in Europe and Dealers Associations in America that generated a total of 6.5M+ Offers and 3.5M+ 2D/3D Projects thanks to our software solutions.
How to get started
Getting started with Specifi is easy because we hand-hold Manufacturers through the entire process. It’s very common for Manufacturers to have all of their information in several different places with several different departments in charge. We will provide the tool to aggregate this information into one single source of truth.
Specifi content creation team is very experienced and knowledgeable in Foodservice equipment and we have never encountered a complication that we could not solve.
We will work through these challenges at a time and make sure than solution work for Manufacturers and their customers.
Why is it in your best interest to provide Specifi time to analyze your catalog before we provide you with an offer?
Specifi wants to minimize Manufacturers investment on content creation and we can often do so by as much as 30% rather than standard pricing per file.
The effort in terms of content creation is completely different, based on the type of equipment (i.e.: creating a stainless-steel table – both drawing and database – is not time consuming like creating an oven or a coffee machine) and type of drawing (RFA Revit files are more complex to create than DWG files). Additionally:
- Specifi does not charge the same price for each product while this product is part of a series with small variants or few technical specification changes
- Specifi recovers as much as possible from the original source files of the Manufacturer, and if we can reuse this material we can save you money
The minimum required information to start the analysis is the following:
- Exportation of any data you have via CSV, SQL, XLS, etc. (if any)
- PDF Catalog
- Examples of drawings in available formats (if any)
- Examples of spec sheets (if any)
Specifi can offer a free consultation service to analyze content and send a complete report about readiness, quality, improvement, and suggestions on how to optimize or implement a more technically sophisticated experience about the digital representation of Manufacturers’ equipment. Specifi can also offer a dedicated price to convert them to a standard that can help and make easier foodservice designers’ or dealers’ daily jobs.
Based on our 20+ years’ experience in the Foodservice, we strongly recommend the following:
- DWG files in AutoCAD 2004 version: this will permit final users with old planning software to open files without any problem of backward compatibility in the future.
- RFA files in Revit 2016 version: this will permit final users with old planning software to open files without any problem of backward compatibility in the future.
The quality standard of shape and size will adhere to industry accepted practices and standards for use in foodservice Designs and Quotes of commercial food facilities.
CAD and Revit symbols are NOT published in Specifi with the intent of manufacturing actual food equipment. Consequently, the level of detail is simplified and only includes attributes required by industry standards such as current FCSI and IFSE standards for Revit (shared parameters/GUID).
Technical details up to 5-10 mm will be evaluated to be included because generally speaking they are increasing the total size of the files causing problems in terms of overall architectural design of hundreds or thousands of elements in a single kitchen layout.
Most of the times Manufacturers have production drawings that are not optimize for designers’ needs. Additionally, we recommend not to share those drawings in any case, because they can have trade secret inside. Based on the status of the original drawings, we can match expectations from the market but it is necessary to convert or optimize (or re-build from scratch in some cases) the starting material. These below are the most common situations:
|o IGES, STEP or any other production files
o Revit families with built-in accessories and variant
|For the purposes of architectural planning file sizes should never exceed 1 Mb. Furthermore, files for the purposes of manufacturing contain sensitive and/or proprietary information that should not be shared. These files should be used only as a guide/reference.|
|o DWG files – 2D only: top view or top, front, lateral view
o DWG files – 3D only
o DWG files with not optimized insertion point or scale or unit of measure
|These files can cause a lot of manual work if imported as-is in a project by a foodservice designer, converting them in an acceptable layout|
|o DWG or Revit files with pre-assembled elements (static standalone)||These files can not be modified by a foodservice designer without manual workaround or can not be configured with different variant, accessories, colors|
|o DWG or Revit files in other standard
o Non FCSI/IFSE standard Revit files
|These files can not adhere to the standard recognized by the Foodservice Industry or satisfy partially or locally (country-based) foodservice designers needs|
Why Specifi, differently from any other Design Studio Firm or Content Creator and Distributor on the market, is not creating or providing Revit Families?
While Specifi is committed to best practices that Autodesk is recommending and since 2016 is sitting at the worldwide technical roundtable of FCSI (Foodservice Consultants Society International) to define standards for Foodservice Industry in terms of geometry and parameters (FCSI US / IFSE Europe), there is a unique technology composition developed during the years from R&D Department of Specifi that can satisfy all the needs of different equipment, so it is possible to avoid creating Revit Families that are bigger in size and comprehensive of all variants and accessories but limited in country-based information, and build a system that can be modeled and feed with right information for the right country with correct variant and accessories that are easily manageable in big layouts of hundreds of equipment.
Technical and Commercial Information about Equipment
Specifi is using the same information Manufacturers are sharing through their usual catalog, website or spec sheets, so what is needed to build a consistent replica of data into a software environment:
- Short and long descriptions (in any available language)
- Technical specifications (weight, power, any other data based on different type of equipment)
- Parts, configurations, variants
- Attachments association (if any, with images, spec sheets, manuals, certifications, etc.)
- X, Y, Z coordinates of connections (retrievable from drawings or spec sheets)
Database is the real core of any digital catalog and digital representation of equipment. Specifi is using a 5D multi-Dimensional Data Model, a method which is used for ordering data along with good arrangement and assembling of the contents. The Multi-Dimensional Data Model allows customers to interrogate analytical questions associated with market or business trends, unlike relational databases which allow customers to access data in the form of queries. A relational database is a collection of information that organizes data in predefined relationships where data is stored in one or more tables (or “relations”) of columns and rows, making it easy to see and understand how different data structures relate to each other. This allows users to rapidly receive answers to the requests which they made by creating and examining the data comparatively fast.
Specifi, like any ERP and any other system, built its own unique database structure so that we can map and associate accessories and compatibilities. There is a different level of “readability” and automated action (or software like our Specifi Organiser) to recover data, based on different source files, that reflects into a different timing, effort and cost. Manufacturers can share with Specifi any kind of export to quickly put data into Specifi:
- from ERP systems or any other platform on the market
- XLS files
- CSV files
- SQL files
- any other digital format available
Digital Catalog Management
Can a Manufacturer add multiple pricelists? How a Manufacturer can manage different products and specifications for different countries?
There is no limitation of adding any language or number of pricelists into the database.
Specifi is a multicurrency and multilanguage software, so it will be possible to upload descriptions in every language Manufacturer can provide as well as how many pricelists and currencies Manufacturer wants to share. Based on a specific distribution system, Manufacturer can assign or share different pricelists to different countries, filtering by the pricelists’ association to the relational database, therefore showing the products and the content associated with those products to the approved users.
Specifi is an open platform and the final choice is always made by Manufacturers.
There is no limit on how many updates are possible to share, both by signing a contract with Specifi to manage Manufacturers Data or by doing the work by themselves thanks to our PIM product Specifi Organiser.
Bad data costs Manufacturer money and is extremely frustrating for clients. Specifi Organiser is a PIM (Product Information Management) tool specifically designed for equipment manufacturers.
Upload all product symbols, photos, spec sheets, price lists, videos and other files. Instantly. Engineering, sales and marketing will all have access to the same, current information. Specifi is an open platform, so it is possible to import and export data whenever if needed.
Specifi Competitive Advantage
At Specifi, our mission is to help our Manufacturer Partners sell more equipment. Creating and distributing CAD & BIM content is just the beginning. We want to help Manufacturers share with their customers how easy it is to find the information and symbols they need to specify equipment. With sister company magazine FER (Foodservice Equipment Reports), Specifi is a full Media Brand for Manufacturers, offering any marketing support from social media to digital advertising.
Specifi Share is a plug-in for websites so that Manufacturers can distribute their own content using Specifi’s sophisticated configuration and visualization software that requires no one to be a Specifi software subscriber to access and use it. There are different levels of adoption of the solution, that can be customized to Manufacturers’ need.
Specifi is a partner that help Manufacturers selling more equipment and converting potential customers into buyers.
In order to make smarter decisions on sales and marketing, Specifi is providing Analytics based on views, downloads etc. by country or by product or category at a selected time frame.
Distribution of Manufacturers Data
This portal is meant to give Manufacturers full control over their data. Through this system, a Manufacturer receives direct requests from Specifi Design and Quote software users to access their digital catalog (drawings, pricing, spec sheets, etc.). A manufacturer can then decide whether to authorize these users, designate which pricelist they can access, and change the user’s status over time.
How about Intellectual Property? Is there any NDA or other document that is preserving Manufacturer trade secret to be shared?
Data that Manufacturer sends Specifi for content creation is its own property and everything is regulated under officially signed NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement).
When we are creating content on Manufacturer’s behalf, what we are producing is under Specifi intellectual property because Specifi is adding its own expertise (and so “know-how”) to build something “different” and more useful to designers and estimators but we are not sharing any trade secret: our drawings represent just the external envelope of the equipment with real colors, logos, standards and shapes but no construction or production sensitive information; our database is filled with the same information any dealer or designer can find on catalog, website or spec sheets of the Manufacturer.
Notwithstanding Specifi Intellectual Property, the Manufacturers shall always own their data. Specifi will not lay any claim to the Manufacturers supplied data. Specifi only lays claim to the proprietary software used to create and distribute data.
Specifi offers 12-month or 36-month contract duration, depending on Static Standalone or Smart Content choice. Moreover, our costs are transparent and divided by:
- Drawing creation or manipulation (conversion, optimization, maintenance)
- Database creation or manipulation (conversion, optimization, maintenance)
- Data hosting and distribution