Exploring the "Basis of Design" and How it Affects Product Specification iStock

Exploring the "Basis of Design" and How it Affects Product Specification

AIM's white paper explores and challenges the popular belief that products labeled as "basis of design" automatically have an advantage over products from competing brands.

Accountability Information Management, Inc. (AIM), a leading B2B research company, released a white paper on the role of the "basis of design" in manufacturing specifications and how the label influences the path to purchase. The 12-page report, titled "Putting Specification Odds in Your Favor: A close look at specifications and who actually calls the shots" seeks to help manufacturers of any product used in a commercial building understand the landscape and challenges associated with becoming the "basis of design" in a product category, and the extent to which the label impacts the decision to purchase a product.

"Putting Specification Odds in Your Favor" answers questions about the role of specifications, including their importance, impact on purchase, and which professionals play key roles in determining the selection of products. The report also explores the current spec language and vocabulary and gives manufacturers advice on how to utilize that language to increase the chances of their products becoming the "basis of design."

"AIM's years of research in the commercial building industry give us a detailed, historical perspective of how specifications and the path to purchase have evolved over time," says Patty Fleider, lead researcher at AIM. "Our white paper will help manufacturers understand how often products are specified as the 'basis of design,' how it can vary, and how manufacturers can improve the odds of their products getting purchased."

Drawing from industry sources such as ConstructConnectâ„¢ as well as in-depth interviews with architects, designers, and contractors, AIM's white paper explores and challenges the popular belief that products labeled as "basis of design" automatically have an advantage over products from competing brands.

"Manufacturers often struggle to identify who is making the decision when it comes to brand selection and purchase," explains Fleider. "There is no one method or guarantee because the path to purchase is complex, involving many professionals who can de-rail the decision at any point. While classification as the 'basis of design' can be helpful, it is one factor of many that is considered before a final decision is made."

AIM's analysis, which used the faucet as a typical common product, included a search of over 30,000 specifications over a three-year period. The data indicates that overall, only 7% of the faucet specifications included a "basis of design" specification. AIM's findings apply to multiple types of projects, and the implications of the research are addressed in detail in the white paper.

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Looking at all commercial specifications over a three-year period, overall only 16% include "basis of design." This analysis shows that faucet specifications with basis of design are slightly lower; but there may be other areas where it is non-existent.

"'Putting Specification Odds in Your Favor' is a great resource for manufacturers who want to understand how specifications and 'basis of design' work, and how to use that knowledge to their advantage," says Jim Nowakowski, president of AIM. "The report sheds light on a complex process and offers conclusions that will help manufacturers succeed as they navigate specifications in their industries."

Download the White Paper here.