Our manufacturers and suppliers are doing a great job, but sometimes we don’t show enough appreciation for their hard work. Maybe I am prejudiced because of the 23 years I spent working for a gypsum company, but I know first-hand the important role they play in our success as contractors.
Their work is not easy. It is difficult enough to manufacture products and keep the industry happily supplied—never mind the challenge of constantly developing new products to best meet industry needs. Think about it. Remember when 1/2-inch and 5/8-inch gypsum were all that was available? Now we have all kinds of products that meet specific needs. I recall when we had nailable metal studs. Did you ever try putting a nail into a fine line to make it hold into those metal studs?
Today, I look at the product manuals of our manufacturers and am amazed. Product development is very expensive but it is done as the need occurs. Fred Anderson, who made a small lumber yard business in Sacramento into a billion-dollar–plus company that includes Pabco Gypsum, once told me that as difficult as it was to make gypsum products it was even more difficult to get it delivered to the high-rise market in downtown San Francisco. But he figured out how to do it.
The contribution of our suppliers and manufacturers is significant. They make our industry go. One of the ways we can show our appreciation is to take some time to talk to them about their products and what they do. A good place to do that is at conventions. I just got back from the Florida Wall and Ceiling Contractors Association’s annual convention and trade show, which was a huge success on many fronts. The participation by manufacturers and suppliers at the conference was a terrific example of “partnering.” The same was true at a Detroit meeting of the Architectural Contractors Trade Association a couple of months ago.
Next time you are on a job, take a look at what it takes to get your supplies. Think about the technical support that is available a phone call or e-mail away. And think about the day-in day-out support we get at AWCI from our suppliers and manufacturers. They are our partners. Take them to lunch and let them know how much you appreciate their contribution to your success. And pick up the tab.