Planning for the New Year

President's Message

Planning for the New Year

Make this your year to reach out and build your SBCA network.

As we wrap up last year and plan for 2017, it’s important to assess what SBCA has done in order to set goals for the future. I recently joined the SBCA officers for a few days of doing just that, meeting the SBCA staff in Madison, Wisconsin. We shared ideas and discussed the challenges we’re facing—it was most enlightening. I want to highlight a few of the issues we discussed with the hope of getting everybody’s perspective as to how we move forward.

We need to determine whether we are going to wait for others to join us or take the first steps now on initiatives like revising BCSI and ANSI/TPI 3. I’m looking forward to working with our framing partners to harmonize the documents and ensure the guidelines aren’t too cumbersome for those who must implement them—namely, our customers. We should consider whether to create a new SBCA bracing document that highlights techniques we’ve identified as industry best practices. Doing so would mean we spend our hard-earned dollars in the way that best serves component manufacturers’ interests.

We also need to pursue an updated quality control program. I’d like to see one that lets us take advantage of today’s technology to pull up the design of a truss, scan the plate locations, verify everything in a few seconds, and store all the inspection data in a cloud-based location for future reference. I’d like to see my QC efforts double as a management tool, giving me data I can easily analyze to identify ongoing problems with plating, design, handling and equipment. A good QC program is worth the effort and expense if it lets me assess day-to-day operations in my plant and make incremental process improvements.

I know I’m going into deep water here, suggesting that there might be issues with our existing in-plant and third-party quality control programs, but I’m looking to make an investment that will offer returns in increasing the value of the product I manufacture. I believe the standards and programs meant to ensure quality truss manufacturing,
like ANSI/TPI 1 Chapter 3, should be in the hands of manufacturers and not outside groups that don’t build the products. I want the trusses leaving my plant to be inspected by people who know the product, not by those who come into my plant just looking to fill out a form as quickly as possible. That’s a cost to me that doesn’t offer any valuable return. Whatever our path forward on revisions to SBCA programs, we will continue to work with equipment suppliers to create training material for safe equipment operations and work with CMs to improve overall plant safety and provide support for making operations more efficient.

These are just a few of the million or so topics the SBCA board and executive committee continue to discuss. There are several other exciting things I’m looking forward to sharing with members. I’ll be asking throughout this year for your input on ways to implement these and other ideas. Email or call me or staff at any time to share your thoughts. Also, please join our monthly calls—you’ll be able to stay up to date on everything we’re working on, and we’d be delighted to hear from you directly.

Lastly, as you start the new year, make plans to attend an OQM or regional summit. Set aside time for an online meeting to talk with your fellow CMs. This association is ours—by component manufacturers and for component manufacturers. Together is the way we need choose our path for the future. We need to keep up with changing technologies, codes and laws; understand the risks that each of us take and the personnel challenges we face; and appreciate the value of the products we design and manufacture. The true value you get from this association is the information you exchange with fellow members. Make this your year to reach out and build your SBCA network.