Running Ragged? Look to SBCA

President's Message

Running Ragged? Look to SBCA

SBCA has a lot to offer, so it’s easy to forget all of the programs available to help CMs. Here are some of my personal favorites.

To be perfectly honest, I’ve been feeling worn out lately. Rebuilding business as the economy creeps back to a new normal has been a struggle. It can be exhausting, but the truth is a lot of other component manufacturers (CMs) probably find themselves in a similar spot. That got me thinking about what we all have in common—SBCA—our trade association. With too much to do in too little time, it’s understandable to get buried, but SBCA is there to help lighten the load.

Risk Management

Jobsite Packages: For just a few dollars a job, you can protect your business and fulfill your duty to warn by providing customers with our industry-developed best practice information regarding handling and installing components. If you are not currently providing a Jobsite Package with every job, trust me, you need to implement this simple practice at your business. The reason? Should you have any problems on a jobsite, this will be the first-aid kit for solving those issues.

• ORisk: This online training course is a great way to inform your employees on critical risk management concepts tailored specifically to building component manufacturers. In a lot of ways, it’s like preventative maintenance, and I definitely want my managers to be familiar with these concepts for their everyday activities.


• WorkForce Development (WFD): Everyone’s looking for people right now. SBCA’s WFD website is a free member benefit that allows companies to post jobs and view resumés from potential candidates. I know that staff is working hard to find as many resumés as they can to populate the WFD site.

• In-Plant WTCA QC: As I’ve said in the past, a reputation for quality is something your truss plant can’t afford to be without. The In-Plant WTCA QC program can give you the systems and metrics to get there. Customers are interested in QC too. I recently met with an owner/developer whose eyes literally lit up when I mentioned that we use the industry standard QC program. He said it gave him “warm fuzzies,” if you can believe it.

• Financial Performance Survey (FPS): This biennial survey covers income analysis, size breakdown, and key ratios. We use this in our internal business for benchmarking purposes and as a support system to ensure we do not have a cost category that is out of control. This year, SBCA has added additional questions and metrics to make managing your costs even easier as you review your bottom line.

• Wage and Benefit Survey (Wage): My business uses the Wage and Benefit Survey to help develop our pay and compensation. It includes information on wages, bonuses and promotion; vacation/personal/holiday pay; insurance; retirement plans; and time policies. When a current or potential hire asks about our compensation package, we pull out the survey to show them the breakdown by region and how we are continually evaluating our policies on salaries.

• Business Solutions Groups (BSGs): BSGs bring together non-competing business owners and managers to talk openly about their businesses. Peer to peer, they discuss topics such as best business management practices, financial performance, operational management, labor and employment issues, and asset management.

Personnel Training

Truss Manufacturing Orientation (TMO): Rather than throw new hires to the wolves with no truss industry experience, this online training program introduces employees to the basics of component manufacturing, so they begin with an overview and can more quickly assimilate to the operational processes of a truss plant.

In-Plant Basic Training: Putting employees through this training before they hit the shop floor is a win-win for new hires and our company. We’ve even seen a reduction in turnover within the first few days on the job. If someone sees the training and feels this job isn’t for them, they usually leave right away. Those who remain are serious about giving the job a try.

Truss Technician Training (TTT): This is a must-have course for truss technicians. It teaches them the principles of truss design and is one of the building blocks of the SCORE program.

Operation Safety: All of our new hires, both full-time and temporary workers, watch the Operation Safety DVD as part of their initial training. The program also includes Forklift Certification and Combustible Dust Housekeeping Training as add-ons.

Connect with the Industry

Chapters: Chapters can be a powerhouse when it comes to educating building officials, architects and engineers; getting involved with a local HBA or state legislators; or addressing a local issue affecting CMs. It’s also a great way to connect with other CMs and actively participate in shaping the industry’s future at the grassroots level.

BCMC: Year after year, I always walk away from BCMC with valuable insight. Here’s my challenge to everyone reading this who does not plan to attend BCMC: please attend and call me and tell me why BCMC was not a worthwhile experience and how we can make it better. For those who already attend on a regular basis, please tell me what makes this year’s show valuable and how we can improve it.

BCMC Build: Talk about an event to recharge and remind you of how very fortunate we are and how great this industry is. Please call Jill Zimmerman of staff for more information on this very humbling BCMC charity build.

Open Quarterly Meetings: Held throughout the year, OQMs are a great opportunity to see your association in action. Especially valuable is the CM Only Roundtable, where CMs work through some of the industry’s most challenging issues, which can help you refine your business’ strategic and tactical plans. It is also a place where long-standing industry friendships are formed because it is very much like a support group—everyone has a lot in common and, when we collectively work on industry issues such as lumber design values, camaraderie and depth of knowledge are very helpful.

If you’re like me, some days you’re running ragged, but the support system, friendships and community of SBCA help lighten the load.

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