A Brave New World

Mike Heering

October 2006

How prepared are we for tomorrow? This was the thought process behind the Foundation of the Wall and Ceiling Industry’s survey that was sent to the membership of the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry. If you are an AWCI contractor member, you should have already seen the survey results in the publication Preparing for Tomorrow; if you are not a member, excerpts from the book will be published next year in this magazine. Preparing for Tomorrow examines many issues we face daily and tries to put them in perspective so we can see the big picture on what is happening across the United States and also in Canada.

As I read the report I began to realize just how much our industry has changed. I remember when we weren’t concerned about who had the best computer estimating system. Either those systems were just not readily available, or most of us simply didn’t think we would ever need one. That turned out to be the biggest understatement of our time!

We now face such decisions as what software bundle is best suited to our needs, whether it deals with accounting, estimating or any other production-related task. We also find ourselves using the Internet more every day. We depend on it for submittals, gathering information on new products and materials, and some of us use it to bid online.

When I first responded to the survey I really began thinking about the things that were changing and how we did business, and I wondered if we were prepared for the future. Now that I have had the opportunity to read the responses from many other contractors and industry experts, I can see that we will have to become savvier in the technological world if we want to compete on a changing playing field.

Again the Foundation has published a very useful tool for our industry, and I recommend you take the time to not only read it, but see where you fit into the brave new world of construction.