Manufacturer Resources

What Architects Are Looking for When Talking to Manufacturers

Beth Hayden / Acelab Team

As a building product manufacturer, you know that getting specified by architects is crucial to your business growth. But simply offering a great product is no longer enough.

Architects are under immense pressure to deliver innovative, sustainable designs on tight timelines and budgets. They need manufacturing partners to provide streamlined support and collaborate effectively throughout the specification process.

So, what are architects really looking for when they work with manufacturers like you?

In this blog post, you’ll learn how to stand out from your competition, position your company as a trusted advisor, and become an architect's go-to product partner.

1. Streamlined Product Information Access

Architects need product information that's easy to find and understand.

In the 2022 American Institute of Architects (AIA) report, “The Architect's Journey to Specification” report, architects stated that technical information, product specs, and design guides are still the most critical resources they require for specification.

Survey respondents also listed “More information on website” as the top improvement they’d like to see in their collaborations with manufacturers.

When architects visit your website or use your digital resources, the experience should be intuitive and seamless.

Too often, manufacturer websites are difficult to navigate, outdated, or missing key technical details. Don't make architects hunt for the information they need. If they can't readily access it, they may move on to another product.

Make sure your website has:

  • Simple, logical navigation

  • Up-to-date and complete product specs

  • EPDs, HPDs, and standard test results from organizations such as ASTM, ISO, ANSI, etc.

  • Technical data sheets

  • Installation guides

  • Warranty details

  • Sustainability certifications

  • Product-specific photography (not stock art or generic product line photos)

Many specification platforms today don’t have user-friendly interfaces, so architects get frustrated trying to find and compare products. Consider additional ways to make your product information more accessible and helpful for your audience.

Focus on anticipating what architects need at different stages of product research and selection, then curate your information to help them determine if your offering fits their project requirements.

2. Knowledgeable and Reliable Support

Architects need responsive support from manufacturers throughout the specification process. They value manufacturers who understand their project needs and can provide helpful answers quickly.

When architects call a generic manufacturer hotline, they rarely get connected with a rep who has specific product expertise relevant to their project. This leads to wasted time and frustration.

Give architects an easy way to connect with the right people on your team to help them with their projects, and on your website and other platforms where you connect with architects, be ready to:

  • Thoroughly address technical questions

  • Discuss customization and special order options

  • Provide samples, mock-ups, or product demonstrations

  • Offer specification writing assistance or templates

  • Suggest solutions for design challenges

Keep in mind generational communication preferences, too. Many younger architects strongly prefer text or chat-based support over phone calls. Consider offering multiple ways to get in touch.

3. Early-Stage Design Process Collaboration

In 2004, Patrick MacLeamy drew a set of curves that shows that architectural projects get more difficult to change as they develop (this makes sense logically, right?)

Architects are increasingly looking for opportunities to collaborate with manufacturers in the early stages of design. This allows for more flexibility and innovation in product specification.

Response to desirable improvements in relationships with manufacturers (Source: AIA Architect’s Journey to Specification)

Engaging with architects while they're still in the schematic design or design development phases is a huge opportunity to build strong relationships and influence design direction.

When you offer support early on, architects have more time to properly explore your products. They aren't rushing to meet deadlines, and you can provide education on features and benefits that impact their initial designs.

Early-stage collaboration with architects enables you to:

  • Understand project goals and requirements

  • Identify opportunities for your products to add value

  • Assist with specification writing and documentation

  • Solve potential design or construction challenges

By positioning your company as a trusted partner from the start, you increase the chances of having your products specified and maintaining that spec through to construction.

4. An Innovative Tech Approach

To stand out as a valuable partner to architects, manufacturers must stay at the forefront of technology and innovative specification methods. Embracing digital tools can help you streamline communication and provide the right information at the right time.

Many architects still rely on antiquated, time-consuming methods for researching and comparing products, such as using dozens of spreadsheets or physical sticky notes on a whiteboard — and they’re ready for more user-friendly, time-saving options.

Platforms like Acelab offer a solution by providing digital resources that make architects' lives easier, as well as seamless ways to connect with the product manufacturers they’re interested in working with.

Investing in technology shows architects that you value innovation and efficiency, and it positions your company as a cutting-edge resource that can help them achieve their design goals faster and more effectively.

The Future of Architect-Manufacturer Collaboration

Architects need manufacturing partners who can get them the information they need, when they need it, and provide streamlined support throughout the specification process. By providing easy access to product information, offering knowledgeable support, focusing on early-stage collaboration, and embracing innovative technologies, manufacturers can position themselves as trusted advisors and increase their chances of getting specified.

Acelab is designed to solve each of these problems at once for building product brands. With Acelab, architects can easily discover your products, connect with your reps, and collaborate with you during the early stages in the design process.

Ready to transform your relationships with architects and increase your specification rates? Sign up for a free demo of Acelab today and see how our innovative platform can help you become a trusted partner for architects during specification and beyond.