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Build faster and better. Follow IKEA’s example by creating the perfect building package. Research shows that connecting experts across the (pre-)production process is a huge time and cost saver.

In this blog we will explain why and how to connect with your (pre-)production partners. This will help you make sure that day 1 of the structural building process is a perfect day with a perfect building package.


We love IKEA

Don’t you love IKEA? Maybe you do, maybe you don’t. But you have to admit that their do-it-yourself (DIY) concept really stands out. Do you remember how you felt the last time you opened one of those brown cardboard boxes with a funny sounding name on it?

It’s no surprise that inside these boxes you find a building package and a building manual. These two are key to your satisfaction with their product and to your mood. More importantly, in the context of yacht and shipbuilding: the building package and building manual are crucial to minimize duration and maximize efficiency of your building process. 

IKEA is well aware. Their DIY concept has always been part of their philosophy. Every IKEA product comes in a box. This explains why all teams - from design, to engineering and production - are expected to make sure their ideas ‘fit the box’. The result? The combined knowledge across disciplines is reflected in the building package and building manual. They know that great boxes lead to successful building and happy customers. 

So what can shipbuilders learn from IKEA?


A perfect day

Imagine day 1 of the structural build. Today the first plates and profiles of your hull or superstructure will be welded together. What would a perfect start of that day look like?

We imagine that it requires having the perfect building package. All your (pre-formed) plates and profiles are not only on-site, but neatly sorted. Every part has extensive building information printed on them. Not just a POS number, assembly and grid lines. In addition every part has relevant markings, indicating connected parts, weld specifications and profile information.

And we imagine that it requires having the perfect building manual. Everyone involved has access to the same information. The instructions should facilitate 2D and 3D viewing. It should be available on any device and easy to read and search. The instructions should be information rich, including detailed profile cutting information. And drawings must always be in-sync with the inevitable last-minute changes.

What would it take to create this perfect first day of the structural build?


Easier said than done

Obviously, a ship is nothing like an IKEA Billy bookshelf. Both in terms of complexity as from a process point of view, shipbuilding is incomparable to IKEA.

Shipbuilders are experts, innovators and craftsmen from a diversity of backgrounds. They are often expected to create ships that are partly or completely customized to the -  often exotic and demanding - needs of their clients. The designers, engineers, cutters, formers and welders involved in the same project are likely to not share an office, not be involved at the same time and/or not even be aware of each other's involvement somewhere in the building process.

However, what holds true for both IKEA and shipbuilders is that a perfect building package and building manual requires the combined knowledge of everyone involved in the production and pre-productions process. In shipbuilding the challenge is to let these experts exchange knowledge at the right time, with minimal efforts.

How can we best connect the experts involved in the production and pre-production process?


Eyes on the prize

Connecting a diverse group of experts, from different companies sounds like a big challenge. So why bother? Because the stakes are high. The shipbuilding sector is under continuous pressure to improve margins. Efficiency is the name of the game. Building a ship is usually a race against the clock. And we know that small details can have a big impact on the bottom line.

So any contribution to save time or save costs is very welcome. A perfect building package and building manual have proven to be able to lead to substantial time and cost savings. They greatly increase your odds of winning the race against the clock.

We notice that shipbuilders that are leading the way have all managed to connect the experts in the production and pre-production process. 

What are these leading yacht and shipbuilders doing differently?


Process & mindset

We imagine you’re interested in a step-by-step process. But before sharing concrete tips on what to do, let’s be very honest. It all starts with a mindset. 

As a precondition, you have to be willing to critically evaluate your current way of working. This is hard. It requires being open to try things that are new and perhaps even uncomfortable. But, because the stakes are high and the potential is huge, we know it’s worth it.

So what are leading companies doing and what can you learn from this?


Best practices

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to connecting experts involved in the production and pre-production process. If only because it depends on the perspective we take. For example, the perspective of a yacht or shipbuilder that outsources engineering, cutting, forming is very different from a yacht or shipbuilder that has these facilities in-house.

For the sake of example, we will take the perspective of the structural builder that has been asked to create a hull and/or superstructure. Our goal is to create a perfect day 1 of the structural build. Therefore we want to connect experts and create a perfect building package.

Below you find a few concrete best practices from some of the leading structural builders.

  1. Complete construction model - Leading structural builders wait for the engineer to complete the 3D geometry before connecting all the experts. Because the model contains the context for them and their partners to share their expertise.
  2. Shake hands on the model - Leading companies share potential concerns about the 3D model and invite their cutter and former to do the same. When no concerns remain, they agree together that the model is ready for pre-production engineering.
  3. Identify building preferences - Today, pre-production engineering can be fully customized to the preferences of all partners. Therefore, leading structural builders specify their preferences in great detail. This ranges from desired on-plate markings and building information to specification of (sub-)assemblies. 
  4. Check cutting and forming preferences - Next, these leading companies invite the cutter and former to share their needs. These specialists will, for example, point out their double-sided printing options or their desired file formats, to match their specialised equipment.
  5. Agree on a single-source of truth - Structural builders that want to avoid confusion ensure that all their partners have access to the same 3D model. This way the exchange of ideas and expertise is a rewarding and efficient process for all.
  6. Build, measure, learn - Leading companies know the proof is in the pudding. After the build they analyze key metrics and take time to evaluate. With the same partners, they will initiate a discussion on what went well and where there is room for improvement. 

Thanks, but where do I start?


Start today

In future blogs we will elaborate on these six best practices. For now we want to make you aware of the technology that’s available to help you follow in the footsteps of the aforementioned companies.

At Onepush we’re on a mission to help you build better and faster. To kick-start your efforts,we decided to make available (for every company, for free) our pre-production engineering tool. What this means is:

  • You can register in 1 minute
  • You can upload and scan 3D models
  • You can view and edit 3D models
  • You can give your partners access to your 3D model

We’re making all of this available for free, no strings attached. Only if you decide to actually produce your 3D model and transform it into a high quality building package, you receive a custom quote.


Our aim was to inspire you to start connecting with your (pre-)production partners. And offer you some tools to create the perfect day 1 of the build and the perfect building package.

Let us know what you think. And for future stories follow us on LinkedIn.

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