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Innovation: Can It Help Your Company?

At the time of this writing, all nominations for AWCI’s new Excellence in Construction Innovation Award had been received. As a member of AWCI’s Industry Awards Committee, I was very excited to review and judge these submissions with the rest of the committee members/judges last month at our annual Industry Executives’ Conference & Committee Meetings in Miami Beach, Fla. Both this new award and our Excellence in Construction Quality Award will be announced at AWCI’s Convention & INTEX Expo in San Antonio in March 2013.

Steve Jobs once said, “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” Well there is no doubt in my mind that taking the time to think is necessary to be innovative, and sometimes we are so busy working and doing our daily tasks that we do not always take the time to tap into our creative side. However, the intuitive leaders will always explore or have their people take the time to explore and develop new means and methods to make a better mouse trap and foster new and better ways to compete in the business world.

Remember, using history as a tool to help show us the way is great, but performing today’s tasks using yesterday’s methods will not always guarantee your company’s success in the future. Utilizing innovative ideas and new technology in the field just might be the answer to increasing our margins, which have been badly beaten down over the last few years. Imagine how good it would feel adding five to 10 points to your gross profits from operations just by being a little more innovative with the way you go about constructing?

I am happy to say there are some forward-thinking companies in our industry that are already going down this innovation road, and the rest of us need to be jumping on the train. It doesn’t matter whether they are contractors, manufacturers or distributors, the good ones all understand the need to embrace innovation and change in order to continue to improve business and maintain profitability within their companies.

Remember the immortal words of Robert Kennedy: “Some men look at things the way they are and ask why? I dream of things that are not and ask why not?”

In addition to being the 2012–2013 president of the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry, Burley is president of B&B Interior Systems, Inc. in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

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