Like most large asset owners, Sainsbury’s need to answer questions easily about their estate every day. This is why the one of the UK’s largest retailers has been working with GroupBC to create a ‘Digital Estate’ – a globally accessible, secure web portal, to manage, update and query spatially-located asset information, supporting those making decisions during the asset lifecycle. That this digital estate is created, not from 3D models but from existing 2D drawings, is what makes this RetroBIM solution truly inspiring.
With 1000s of existing 2D drawings of more than 300 petrol stations, 786 convenience stores, 601 supermarkets and 3D new builds, the project was vast and complicated. The goal was to enable Sainsbury’s to make best use of these 2D assets to answer plain language questions – ‘how many of these do we have, how big are they and where are they?’ (previously this would have involved opening every drawing individually to find the necessary information). This would in turn ensure that initiatives across their stores made progress quickly and economically by empowering Sainsbury’s teams to make better decisions.
In the past, Sainsbury’s would have refurbished a store maybe once in every ten years – but now, with the brand’s growth and increasing development of existing stores to make the best use of space (for example fitting-out Click and Collect areas) and the acquisition of assets such as Argos, some store projects can require up to twelve interventions a year. This often involves costly surveys for each store.
With so much historical data about their assets having been kept in different places and in different formats, such as on microfiche or 2D drawings, Sainsbury’s required a new single source of truth
However, they quickly realised that simply replacing their existing 15-year-old systems or converting 2D drawings of existing stores and assets to 3D wasn’t viable in itself for their future aspirations. Instead, Sainsbury’s searched for a solution which would integrate their current systems and allow them to make the best use of their existing data. They digitised their historical 2D drawings to interrogate, extract and validate the asset information from them before getting this data into GroupBC’s Common Data Environment (BC CDE).
BC CDE was chosen to support the project, seamlessly integrating with their existing specification and standards system (ICON Systems) and ensuring information wasn’t duplicated but was accessible from one place. With best practise advice from PCSG, this implementation of GroupBC’s software (known locally by Sainsbury’s as One Property) enables them to trust their data and make better informed decisions.
The benefits are again about answering those plain language questions. If they want to report how many pizza counters they have, the Sainsbury’s team can now simply search in One Property to find out where they are located, what size they are and click through to any related drawings and documents.
As a new Sainsbury’s store is created or a new investment is allocated in Salesforce, One Property is now able to synchronise that data. This ensures individuals have faith in the data, saves money on surveys and saves time when searching for the correct version of a document. With the right structure and technologies in place, Sainsbury’s can build on their Digital Estate programme and ensure future integration with other systems easily and more efficiently.