CM Perspective: Opportunities to Share Ideas Are Key Value of SBCA Involvement


CM Perspective: Opportunities to Share Ideas Are Key Value of SBCA Involvement

Dallas Austin

Dallas Austin is design department manager at Big C Lumber in Dowagiac, Michigan. He serves on the SBCA board and Emerging Leaders Committee and is BCMC 2020 Programs Co-Chair.

If you haven’t watched an SBCA webinar recently, you are missing out. You’d be surprised how much you can learn from other component manufacturers not in your market. For example, during a safety-focused SBCA webinar I attended (Building a Safety Culture in Your Plant), the presenters posted a live poll asking attendees if they had an in-house safety committee to self-audit their safety performance. I was surprised when 80 percent indicated they had one. We didn’t. I immediately took that back to my management team and now we have our own internal safety review group. It’s made a huge difference, and it’s thanks to that one moment in that one webinar.

SBCA’s webinar series has provided me and my staff a wealth of knowledge. It’s been especially helpful for our design team. They have all been actively pursuing certification through SBCA’s Truss Technician Training (TTT) program, and several of the webinars count towards the ongoing education requirements. SBCA’s technical director, Jim Vogt, has given a number of webinars filled with guidance on truss loading best practices. You can’t find valuable, industry-specific training like this anywhere else.

Dallas’s team at Big C also used BCMC 2019 to enhance their workforce development efforts by inviting students from one of their local tech schools to take a closer look at all the components industry has to offer. Read more here.

Webinars aren’t the only place to get great ideas though. Since I’ve become involved in SBCA, I have found one of most valuable aspects to be all of the opportunities to learn fresh ideas and innovative solutions from fellow component manufacturers and suppliers. The educational sessions and discussions on the exhibit floor at BCMC always give me several ideas I can’t wait to explore in our facility once I get back to the office. It is well worth the time and investment to attend just for those ideas alone.

There’s even more to learn at SBCA Open Quarterly Meetings (OQMs) where CMs freely share their ideas and best practices in meetings and in after-dinner conversations. If someone from your company isn’t actively engaged in one or more of these activities (SBCA webinars, BCMC or OQMs), you don’t have the opportunity to gather ideas that could transform your business in a positive way. I’d encourage you to start by attending one or more the webinars or an OQM this spring. And be sure to put the dates for BCMC in Indianapolis (September 22-25) in your calendar today.