The Game Is a’Changing

Mike Taylor / March 2017

How has your business changed in the last 10 years? Think for a minute about just the changes that have occurred around whom you do business with. What percentage of general contractors do you do business with today that you did work with 10 years ago?
    
Many of the old, established contractors that we all grew to know over the years are either gone or are mere shells of what they use to be. They have been replaced by huge unfamiliar companies. It is a startling change and unsettling to many of us.
    
So how has your business adjusted? I suspect that most of us have changed our pricing practices, whether we freely admit it or not.
    
That’s not the only change we have witnessed. Our vendors—the local family owned businesses that sold to you for 30 years or so—have merged into large distributor enterprise. In my state of Tennessee, and some of the nearby states, every one of our current distributors wasn’t here a decade or so ago. These new companies take a very different approach to business. That approach has its strengths and its weaknesses.
    
Swift technological change has at times been almost overwhelming while our labor force has gone through restructuring at an unbelievable pace. Skilled labor shortages are serious now and not expected to go away in the near future, and it is complicated by the fact employee loyalty has waned.
    
I will leave you with this thought to ponder: Have you or are you in the process of adapting/preparing your companies to meet even more changes during the next decade? If not, you might well end up like some of those who fell to the wayside in the past decade or two.
    
Like it or not, change is the only constant in our business—adapt or fail.
    
Hope to see you at our convention in Las Vegas, March 26–30.

In addition to being 2016–2017 president of the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry, Taylor is executive vice president of Liddle Bros. Contractors, Inc. in Nashville, Tenn.