Tony Malisani from Malisani Inc. in Great Falls, MT, opened the morning session of the New Jersey Stone Summit to a full crowd of fabricators and other stone industry members. The event, which was organized by Stone Worldand The Natural Stone Institute, was sponsored by Artistic Tile and held at the company’s slab gallery in Secaucus, NJ, on Thursday, October 11, 2018.The final count included 37 fabricators from 25 companies and 82 total participants.

The Stone Industry Education Series comprises 10 workshops a year, which are held throughout the U.S. The objective is to bring fabricators together to discuss current issues they are facing in the workplace – both with management and technology. Throughout the all-day workshop, participants of the New Jersey Stone Summit were engaged – asking questions and sharing experiences and opinions with their peers.

During his presentation, Malisani stressed to attendees that knowledge is power. It is important for fabricators to be aware of local competition and customer demographics. “What are you doing better than your competitor?” he asked. “Pay attention to what you are competing against. Don’t let that human characteristic overreact to it. Sit down and understand what is going on.”

Malisani also instructed workshop participants to make sure they have credit terms and agreements in place before starting a job. He explained that it is crucial to a company’s success to outline these terms with a customer to ensure financial stability.

Additional points discussed included how developing a social media platform is a sure-fire way to market and create a brand image, as well as engaging with both current and potential clients. Also, Malisani suggested becoming a CEU provider. “Become a local resource for education,” he told the crowd. “It’s a great way to put yourself in front of people who are decision makers. It’s a good way to network.”

Another area of consideration is issues that arise after an installation, said Malisani. “Know what you are fixing or is it a moving target?” he asked. “Are you fixing a seam or does it then go to the color not being right? Always define first what you are going back for.”

Moreover, Malisani pointed out that an annual insurance check-up should be performed. “Every year, see if anything has to be changed,” he said. “Ask if coverage for certain things has changed.”

Several brief breaks were taken throughout the day, which permitted attendees an opportunity to network with each other, as well as talk with sponsors of the event. There was also a lunch break that included a tour of Artistic Tile’s warehouse and a closing reception at the end of the day.

The afternoon portion of the New Jersey Stone Summit separated attendees into three breakout groups, which were led by three leading industry professionals from the area. The smaller groups, focusing on technology, business management and marketing, allowed a more intimate setting for participants to discuss specific topics that are affecting them and learn from each other on ways to handle them.

The final Stone Summit of the 2018 series will be hosted by Arizona Tile at their facility in Tucson, AZ, on Thursday, November 1, and expect soon the release of locations and dates for the 2019 Stone Industry Education program.