Same Old Song and Dance

Laura M. Porinchak / January 2023

It might be a new year, but we still have the same old problems. Ever since the onslaught of COVID-19 in 2019, things changed, and the effects are still being felt in ever-climbing interest rates, labor shortages, material woes, loss of markets and cashflow problems. Same old song and dance, right? That’s why we continue the related discussion with an article on page 24 that talks to AWCI member contractors about the supply chain, availability of materials and how prices are affecting their customers.
    
Managing lead times and working closely with your supplier seems to be a key for success in getting the products you need, when you need them. Other options include adding new suppliers to your roster—if they’ll have you. However, as one contractor pointed out, building warrantied systems is getting harder to do when it’s difficult to obtain key components.
    
But the big problem is cost. Some of our members are being hit hard as some materials’ prices are rising faster than others. What’s a contractor to do? Pass along the increases to customers, or grin and bear it? A lot depends on timing. If you don’t lock in your price at bid time, you could be facing higher costs come build time. That’s another reason your relationships with suppliers should be good and with great communication.
    
Great communication is also key to hanging on to employees. Many of you have probably either practiced or heard of an exit interview, that last talk you have with an employee who is leaving your company for what are perceived to be greener pastures. But what about employees who aren’t going anywhere. Have you ever heard of a stay interview for them? I hadn’t either until the article that begins on page 30 came across my desk. According to the article, recruiting experts say that stay interviews make current employees feel valued, and you learn about what is working and what is not. This article explains how to conducting a proper stay interview and gives tips for what should happen next. It’s an interesting theory, and I can see how these interviews could be of great value to your company, even though it may also lead to a few surprises.
    
Our third feature article (page 34) brings you some great takeaways on how innovations with payments are affecting the supply chain. Once again, thanks to the effects of Covid, a key way of doing business has changed: Payments are digitized now, and you need to know what’s going on.

Finally, at first blush business in 2023 doesn’t feel much different from 2022, but sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference. As you turn through our pages you will see that we have made a few small changes in our magazine, and we think you’ll like them. For example, the column name “Wachuwanno” has retired; it is now known as “Codes & Standards.” This new name tells you exactly what it’s about, no question. We are excited to introduce other new offerings throughout this year that you will learn about later when I have more free space to write. In the meantime, enjoy!