The folks at Park Industries organized another great Digital Stoneworking Expo (DSE) in Bozeman, MT this month, with talks on everything from evaluating your shop to hiring strategies to meeting the growing demand for mitered edges. Four different fabricators were on hand to give presentations, and attendees were invited to tour two different digital shops in Bozeman.
In such a competitive industry, you might think that people would be too guarded to have any useful discussion. Not so! Park managed to foster a positive, open atmosphere where fabricators shared their stories of both success and failure. Because when it comes to improving your business, you need the courage to face the truth, to look at the numbers.
If you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it.
To that end, Park spent some time walking people through a process of establishing and tracking a couple of useful shop metrics: (1) square feet per labor hour, and (2) cost per square foot.
But they didn’t just say, “You should be measuring these things. Shame on you if you’re not!” Nope. They shared the tools, invited people to share their numbers, and the speakers were willing to share how they’ve been able to improve their numbers over the years. Attendees also went home with a spreadsheet they could use to get started – so everyone didn’t have to recreate the wheel!
“We cannot get to where we dream of being tomorrow unless we change our thinking today.”
Park Industries Co-President, Joan Schatz, opened with that challenging quote from Albert Einstein. Again, I think it set the right tone. It takes courage to change our thinking today, and the supportive atmosphere at the DSE helped people summon that courage.
As one of the speakers, Tige Rhoades from Out of the Woods in Layton, Utah explained, “Who you buy from is as important as what you buy. I received a lot of help as I was going digital, so I’m up here now because I want to give back.”
That fearless generosity says a lot about Tige, about the industry and about Park Industries.