There is no doubt for anyone in surfacing that our industry is going through monumental changes from supply to consolidation, as well as increased technology advancements. During our last Rockhead Group meeting last April, our members had an opportunity to listen to industry leaders about key indicators that are shaping the future of our business. 

It’s one thing to learn about and develop operational efficiencies that improve the bottom line and the customer experience, and a different thing to understand how to react, if at all, to external economic factors and the continued advances in technology.

Our Group prides itself on providing a forum for our members to bounce ideas off one another, share experiences and knowledge, and facilitate making guided decisions. Based on our member feedback, we have learned the following about these very important topics:

Concerns on supply – It’s not OUR race to the bottom

Tariffs continue to be a hot topic of discussion for our business and we are all seeing how it affects each individual business, but we are recognizing that it is not a race to the bottom. While supply, tariff exposure and cost of materials continues to be in question for most, the focus a majority of our members have taken is to focus on ways to increase the customer experience and the average ticket sale by offering what we call “hot sauce items.” These are services or add-ons such as 3-D renderings, chip minimizer edges and warranty programs. These types of offerings increase the value of product installed and the average price per project.

Embracing technology – Right now is the time to act

While there is speculation and hesitation on investing and embracing technology due to economic uncertainty, this is the time to act and prepare to remain competitive, and still drive the customer experience. Any tool, machine or system that adds efficiencies and supports shop digitalization will go a long way in providing best-in-class quality of products. Even technology that goes beyond machinery can be informative and insightful. Understanding and reacting to digital marketing strategies, such as search engine optimization and website metrics, helps drive consumers and trade audiences to businesses and facilitate the sales process. This is the time to start preparing to capture more market share.

Leverage your network – It’s what you know and who you know

More than ever before, it is extremely important to engage with the fabrication community to learn and adapt as needed. We find tremendous value in providing our members with great monthly information sessions that help minimize external noise and keep us focused on the most relevant issues. Right now is the best time to engage and share with your peers and supply partners.

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