The Sun Is Shining Again
The Sun Is Shining Again
One Saturday afternoon, I was sitting around trying to think of an inspiring topic for this issue’s Editor’s Message. I thought about focusing on a program like ORisk, Operation Safety or In-Plant Basic Training and how these tools can help make component manufacturers (CMs) more successful, but nothing really sounded right to me, for some reason. I had a bit of writer’s block, I guess. Then I thought about the upcoming work week and how busy things are getting at the plant. Over the past few months, the pipeline of work seems to be mounting. Then it struck me like a bolt of lightning—what we all need more than anything is some good news. The fact that business seems to be getting considerably better every day is something we should all be discussing as much as possible.
For the last six years or so, we have heard nothing but bad news. The building industry has followed the downward trend in the economy for longer than I care to remember. At times, I’m sure we all wondered when or if the market was ever going to hit bottom and begin to recover. Well, I believe we are beginning to see that recovery and I don’t see it stopping. Don’t get me wrong; things aren’t rocketing back, and I don’t see 2 million housing starts on the horizon anytime soon. However, I do see some very good signs that the housing market is on the upswing, with our plants and members throughout the country reporting strong sales for the last five months, a sign of things getting better on a wide scale. I think it is important for us to look at where we have been, consider what we have come through, and begin to think about where we are going to take this industry going forward.
First, I want to point out that, if you are a component manufacturer still in operation today, you are clearly one of the best. You don’t make it through something like what we have been through without being very good at what you do. I don’t think we are completely out of the woods yet, as I expect the mild winter has played some part in the increase we have seen, but I believe we are improving slowly and on the way out of this downturn.
I encourage all owners and managers to do something I did with my employees just a few weeks ago. I got everyone together to thank them for their hard work and perseverance over the last few years. We have survived the worst economic downturn in over 80 years. You may want to recall (as I did) some of the trials and tribulations of the last few years. Tell everyone to look around the room and remind them that this team carried us through those challenging times. They should all be very proud of what they have done together, and—if only for a few minutes—we should all celebrate that accomplishment.
The CM herd has certainly thinned over the last few years, and we all need to realize that the strong have survived. The companies and employees left standing should be proud of the fact that they were able to adjust, adapt and overcome the obstacles in their path. We’re turning a corner and clearly headed toward the light of prosperous times again.
As I reflect on all of this, I find myself asking:
• What can these strong companies left standing do to make themselves and this industry better?
• How can we create more market share for components?
• How can we prepare ourselves to handle the increased volume we are starting to enjoy?
I believe the answers to these questions are right at our fingertips. We have outstanding tools developed by our members and SBCA staff that we should take a hard look at. These resources can streamline your operation and give your employees the training and metrics necessary to make your operations truly world-class. The SCORE program and all of its subprograms will help us elevate our game as individual companies, while collectively raising the bar for our industry as a whole. It is time for us all to “make hay”—THE SUN IS SHINING AGAIN! If we commit to implementing the tools designed to make us all better, we will position our industry for exceptional growth over the next several years. Gosh, I guess I did want to talk about programs like ORisk, Operation Safety or In-Plant Basic Training, after all.
Our economy is on the road to recovery with significantly fewer CMs in operation. We will all become very busy soon. Let’s not miss out on the opportunity to boost our operations with industry best practices as we ramp up our manufacturing capacity to cover the ever-growing needs of our builders. The SCORE program will pay great dividends for your company as well as our entire industry.
Congratulations on making it through the last six years. Now let’s get to work and have some fun!