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Are You a Dinosaur?

I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but at some point in the not too distant past I went from being the young “up and comer” to the seasoned veteran who can’t seem to embrace or even contemplate change. Not that I feel old or even relish the thought of being viewed that way, it’s just that things have changed so much in our industry over the last decade that I can’t help but feel I haven’t kept pace with innovation or technological advances, and I’m at risk of becoming a dinosaur.

Innovation in our industry, particularly when it comes to new tools and materials, has historically been slow to develop. However, the last 10 to 15 years have seen significant advances that require estimators and project managers to constantly stay abreast of new products. This requires a thorough knowledge of the limitations associated with each new product as well as installation procedures that may differ from what’s traditionally been done in that past. Most of this innovation is driven by the desire to improve productivity in the field and provide the end user with a superior product that will enhance the performance of their building.

In the office, improvements were made to the way we estimate. Gone are the days of colored pencils and pulling tape (or at least I hope). We now use digital take-off software that’s fully integrated with estimating software, which speeds estimating time and improves accuracy. Revised drawings and scope changes are easily added to an existing estimate reducing the amount of time it takes to update pricing and budgets.

Our project managers, field managers and project foremen are now armed with smartphones and PDAs that allow them to stay connected to project team members and stay up-to-date with the latest project information. From my perspective, these devices have created a huge paradigm shift in our industry. Where in the past we identified a problem and then sought out a solution, it appears these devices are a solution in search of a problem. Software developers are constantly introducing new apps to help perform various mundane tasks such as payroll and time collection, processing of field work orders, material ordering and daily job reports.

In order to stay on the cutting edge, contractors, suppliers and manufacturers alike must devote ample time and resources to training and educating their staff. There is no better resource for this training than your industry trade association. As the largest interior and exterior systems association in the country, the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry is fully committed to presenting education seminars, webinars and publications that provide the information necessary to make sure you and your company don’t become dinosaurs.

In addition to being the 2014-2015 president of the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry, Casabona is president of Sloan & Company, Inc. in West Caldwell, N.J

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