Take Advantage of Your Time with Old Man Winter

President's Message

Take Advantage of Your Time with Old Man Winter

Challenge yourself and your team to look for opportunities for improvement this winter so you can weather many winters to come.

As the calendar turns to December, the temperatures are undoubtedly getting cooler in most parts of the country, and business is probably pulling back a bit as well. When I first ventured into the truss business, I dreaded the long dreary winter months Montana is known for. I didn’t like the uncertainty of not knowing when spring would hit and we’d be flooded again with jobs. Orders would come through the door, each more important than the last, with customers expecting them to be delivered as quickly as possible whenever spring arrived.

Yet after a couple years, I found myself looking forward to winter and the opportunities the slowdown in business created. Not only did I spend a few more days on the ski hill, but I also started looking critically at my business and the areas that needed improvement. In winter, we can relocate machinery to improve efficiency, look at our processes to enhance our designs and conduct training sessions to better educate our employees.

I anticipate this winter will allow us to do more of the same after a very hectic summer and fall. I have a long to-do list that includes implementing many of the ideas I picked up at BCMC, both on the show floor and in the educational sessions. If you didn’t get a chance to come to the show in Milwaukee this year, or you attended but didn’t get to go to all the education sessions you wanted, this month’s issue is jammed full of useful information from the presenters of the most popular sessions.

This winter I also plan to take advantage of some of the programs and services offered by SBCA. While we’ve put a few of our employees through the Truss Technician Training (TTT) programs, I want to go through the training myself in hopes of picking up a few additional tips and tricks. I also plan on implementing the QC program and look forward to the information it delivers. On top of that, the relationship SBCA has formed with Lockton for an industry insurance program has me intrigued at the potential cost savings on our annual premiums.

The idea of continuous improvement has driven my business forward over the last several years through some lean times and into the better market we’re experiencing now. When business wasn’t so good, we survived by improving everything we could to increase efficiency and drive down costs. Now that business is better, I look for areas in which we can maintain our competitive advantages and find new ways to stay ahead of the market. I encourage each of you to do the same.

Complacency is tempting when business is adequate, but it will result in a great deal of anxiety when the market inevitably takes another turn downward. Challenge yourself and your team to look for opportunities for improvement this winter so you can weather many winters to come.

SBCA’s programs allow my company, a relatively small component manufacturer in rural Montana, to use the same best practices as the goliath national truss companies out there. I don’t have the time or expertise to craft similar, quality training materials for my employees, nor to develop tools to improve my business. SBCA programs are one of the ways that we, one of the small guys, compete with the big guys.

Take a look at the various programs SBCA offers to determine how they can help your business. It will be well worth your time. If you’re struggling with where to start, give me a call (406-265-5140) or send me an email, or contact SBCA staff for guidance. I’m eager to talk with any of you interested in improving your business and eager to explore the options. 

My dad came to BCMC this year, and he was surprised by how many people knew me by name (and pronounced our last name right). I made the mistake of telling this to my friend Jason Blenker, this year’s BCMC Chair. To have some fun, and to “reward” me for presiding over my first SBCA Board meeting, Jason presented me with this shirt from the movie Anchorman. Thanks, buddy!