Learning from Manufacturers and Suppliers

Travis Vap / August 2022

What is on your mind?
    
This question can lead to in-depth conversations and experiences. It is such a powerful question and a great way to start a conversation or to continue one. This question can open doors, solve problems, lead to unique experiences and connect us to people more deeply.
    
What is on my mind? How can we drive more value through our manufacturer and supplier relationships?
    
Manufacturers and suppliers are like blood in the human body. They go everywhere, know everyone and see everything. They can tell us the latest trends, the healthiest market segments, things we might want to avoid, what products reduce labor, what products increase production, what products keep us safe, which VE options we should consider, which are the best, who the innovators are and how to successfully use materials and equipment. They can introduce us to people we want to meet and so much more.
    
In good times these partners help us drive our businesses. In tough times they become invaluable. Sometimes, though, communications are tricky because they have been trained to get us talking and keep us talking. But when we get them talking and telling their story, there is so much to learn, so much value to be had and lifetime friendships to be cherished.
    
I challenge you to open this magazine to the buyers’ guide and call two people in the guide. The first call could be to a long-valued partner, the second to someone you haven’t met but would like to get to know or learn more about. During your conversation, ask them what is on their mind. See where it takes you, what you learn.
    
On another front, AWCI’s Industry Leaders Conference will be held in New York City, Oct. 11–14. You should attend if you are an executive, a leader or aspire to be one, are the next generation in our industry or are a safety professional. Special content that will provide experiences to help you develop as a leader is being curated for each group. We often talk about how some of the best ideas at conferences are learned in the hallway and after hours. AWCI CEO Mike Stark and the AWCI team have been working hard adjusting this year’s agenda to bring those conversations into the sessions.
    
When I see you at our conference I cannot wait to talk to you and find out what is on your mind.


In addition to being 2022–2023 president of the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry, Travis Vap is CEO of South Valley Drywall, Inc. in Littleton, Colo.