Each year, the May issue of Stone World publishes the year-end import and export statistics from the U.S. Department of Commerce. It takes a few months for the government to relay these figures to us, but it is worth the wait, since the import totals offer an excellent snapshot of how our industry is faring - especially compared with the figures from previous years.
When I was in journalism school, I was taught that the space for the editor’s column is the most valuable page in the entire magazine. And once again, I am using this prime real estate to urge the industry to focus on safety in the workplace - whether that is a shop, a warehouse, the jobsite or even the office.
Whenever I attend a major U.S. stone industry event, one of the first things I circle on my calendar is the “Fabricator Forum,” where industry members gather and present their issues to a panel of industry experts. These forums generally do not have a rigid agenda, and they sort of follow a “Town Hall” format, where people share their problems (and hopefully solutions) with their peers.
Now that we’re in the middle of “Trade Show Season” -
with StonExpo and Coverings taking place within a span of two months - I find
myself continually writing about the various seminar programs for the stone
Every January, Stone World presents its annual Fabricator
Market Forecast, where hundreds of stone fabrication professionals from around
the country present their expectations for the coming year as well as their
feelings for the long-term.
At a time when the international stone industry is
scrambling on a global level - where it seems that no port is safe from this
economic hailstorm - Italy
has managed to ride out the crisis by maintaining its position as an innovator
in all things stone.
A decade ago, I traveled to the famed Giallo Veneziano
quarry in Brazil -- via helicopter -- and immediately counted it among the most
interesting places I visited while doing this job. To see an entire mountain of
granite being worked by nearly 100 people was a sight I will not forget.
With fabrication shops working on tighter margins than ever before, many shop managers and owners are eliminating unnecessary cost by increasing efficiency. Recently, I conducted a roundtable on increasing shop efficiency with members of the Stone Fabricators Alliance (SFA), which can be found on page 62 of this issue.