CM Perspective: It’s All About the Heart (and Soul)


CM Perspective: It’s All About the Heart (and Soul)

I’m a firm believer in supporting the industry you work in. If you’re going to pour your heart and soul into it, well, pour your heart and soul into it. For instance, I’ve been a very active member of the Structural Building Components Association of Minnesota (SBCAMN) and Builders Association of Minnesota (BAM) for decades because I’ve learned associations are one of the more effective ways to help my business while also helping the component industry thrive in Minnesota.

One of the best things about being a part of SBCA’s Minnesota chapter is the ability to commiserate with my peers in the market. I remember a fellow competitor once complaining, “I hate gable-end trusses.  My customers are always calling and complaining about them and I can never make enough on them.” I was shocked someone felt exactly the way I did about gable-ends! Knowing others struggle with the same problems gives me greater confidence as I search out solutions to them.

I’ve had many conversations with other component manufacturers (CMs) that convince me I have much to learn from others doing the same thing I am. I’ve also learned there are no state secrets that I can give away that will cause me to lose business, but there are so many little things I can learn to incrementally improve how I do things to grow business.

Recently, I’ve also started attending the SBCA quarterly meetings. I learn a ton at these meetings, but the real return on the investment for the time and travel are the one-on-one conversations I have in between the meetings and at meals. There are CMs from all over the country and they’re all willing to share what they do.

At the most recent SBCA meeting in Tampa (which you can read more about here), it was interesting to listen to the struggles CMs had in other markets. They weren’t struggles I currently face in Minnesota, but it gave me a heads up on issues that might eventually be problems in my market.  Those conversations give me time to think and ideas to ponder in the meantime.

It goes back to your heart and soul. You can bury your head in the sand and just crank out components, but you’ll miss out on so many opportunities to get better and get ahead. If you’re like me and you want to pour your heart and soul into this industry, you need to get more involved in SBCA and your local SBCA chapter.

Keith Kylmala is general manager of Kylmala Truss in Saginaw, Minnesota.