StoneTalk Episode 39 – Mike Schlough and Rob Bromley

StoneTalk Episode 39 – Mike Schlough and Rob Bromley

In StoneTalk Episode 39, Patrick speaks with Mike Schlough (Co-President) and Rob Bromley (Sales Consultant) of Park Industries. We’re big fans of Park’s “digital expos” – so be sure to attend one if you get the chance.

Listen to this episode to learn more about:

  • What it really means to be a family business
  • How making great countertops is not the same as making a great business
  • Running your business efficiently to get the most benefit from the equipment you have
  • Thoughts and trends on the stone industry

Be sure to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes… and please let us know what you think! You can leave comments for this show on the StoneTalk Facebook page or on this site.

If you have stories or insights that you’d like to share with other fabricators, please reach out to Patrick.

Download mp3 directly

Transcript

Patrick: Today, I’m speaking with Mike Schlough and Rob Bromley from Park Industries. How are you two today?

Rob: Great.

Patrick: Good. It’s always fun talking with two people, then you worry about stepping on each other’s toes. But that’s okay. Let’s jump in by talking about Park. I know that Park Industries is one of the most important manufacturers in the countertop industry. Let’s go back to the beginning, what got you into this industry in the first place? How did you get started making equipment for countertop fabricators?

Rob: That’s a great question and one that we get frequently. So, this business was started by my grandfather in 1953 of very humble beginnings. Trying to find a way to split material that resembled stone in blocks, you know, the size of a loaf of bread, into smaller more manageable pieces for masons to install as wall denier. That grew into larger splitting machines which grew into large diamond tipped sawing machines in the late 70s and different sawing technology. And then C&C routers came onto the market in the 80s and early 90s, the technology actually came into the market before the material was affordable and then the advent of affordable granite countertop material started to become more and more prevalent in the US and Canada. And we followed suit and have not looked back in helping people fabricate what now is the preferred material for a majority of construction remodeling. So, that’s the short version of the last 64 years of park industries.

Patrick: That’s actually very interesting, I had never thought how the price of the material itself had such an impact on our industry. That never occurred to me.

Rob: Before granite was affordable, it was only going into the most exclusive locations. So, it’s been around, you know, for hundreds and hundreds of years, but so few people could afford it.

Patrick: I know you’re based in Minnesota, if I’m not mistaken, right?

Rob: Yes.

Patrick: Is everything that you make, made in the USA? Is it made in Minnesota?

Rob: Not only is everything that we make made in Minnesota, everything that we do comes out of Minnesota with the exception of a few remote associates that travel primarily. But…

Patrick: Got it, got it.

Rob: We do everything from primary market research, machine design, fabrication, assembly, installation, ongoing support, parts, and service. Everything is headquartered here in St. Cloud, Minnesota.

Patrick: Very nice, it’s nice to have American business and be contributing to the local economy, not that there’s anything wrong with the foreign saws, but I live here too in Michigan and it’s nice to have things contributing to our economy. So, thank you for that.

Rob: It wasn’t as thoughtful a model as one might think in retrospect because in the beginning, we had to do everything ourselves because there was no such thing as outsourcing different things such as fabrication or assembly or installation or service especially when you’re a much much smaller organization. So, as we’ve grown up, we’ve realized that it’s a little bit more involved to do everything yourselves, but it truly is the only way to provide the shortest and brightest line of communication and support to our customers when you can call here and we’re it. That’s why we stick with it.

Patrick: Nice. And, you’re actually pretty big now. Do you still consider yourself a family business?

Rob: Absolutely. We are, in terms of an organization, as high a performance as we’ve ever been in terms of size and scale.

Patrick: Okay.

Rob: But we are very much a family business, but not so…I don’t see family business in the more traditional sense, we look at family business a little differently. We look at it in terms of the family of our associates that come to work here and their families and what’s our role in that relationship. And that carries over into serving our customers and then into not only our associates, their families and in our community because we believe it’s important that a vibrant community is dependent on the contributions of the organizations in that community. But, ultimately, we also create communities of our customers. So, we like to think about it as, the Park family, you know, in many facets because the value that we see in our customers coming together and helping each other with their successes and failures so that everybody involved in what we do as a business or in a community can ultimately be more successful.

Patrick: Nice. And I’ve gotten to witness some of this first hand. I’ve attended several of your digital expo events and I did get that sense that it was a very tight-knit group at Park Industries delivering the event, but just as importantly you so a great job getting fabricators in the room together and letting them feed off each other and essentially becoming a family and learning from each other. I think that’s a very powerful model.

Rob: Yeah, it seems to work and the feedback that we get is very positive. I am on the road from time to time talking to customers and the value that networking amongst fabricators brings, in the words of somebody that shared this with me last week is, because it’s not about an environment where you’re trying to figure out if you should buy something or not, it’s an environment where you’re trying to figure out “If I can walk away from this and be 5% better with my business, what would that mean?” And that’s truly how people view those types of events, it’s about improvement.

Patrick: Yeah. You’ve focus on education, I would say, in those events. And again, you talk about going digital and what that means to your business which is obviously, why we’re there as well because we can often be part of a customer going digital. So, obviously, I’m sold on that approach. What led to creating those events? How did you know that that would be a worthwhile thing and how did those evolve?

Rob: Well it was not as refined as it is now. We’ve been doing them for 10 years.

Patrick: Okay.

Rob: In the beginning, we noticed that some fabricators were more sophisticated than others. And the things that became obvious or automatic were still foreign or unknown to others. So, we brought people together from all parts of the US and Canada and brought up general topics of improvement. And I remember years and years ago, people were asking questions about “What do you do with a remnant?” or “How do you sell?” or “How do you schedule?” And there were people that were present in those early meetings that had never thought about that aspect of their business. They thought about “How do I take a piece of stone and make it into a countertop and install it?” But they haven’t [inaudible 00:07:26] “What am I supposed to do here running my business?” And that realization that there’s a gap of understanding and experience has grown into what we offer throughout the country now, and our curriculum or agenda evolves when we uncover areas where there’s still more learning and sharing to be done.

Patrick: A friend of mine, who is a business person and smarter than I am about these things, had a quote that I really loved. He said, “A job is a system for turning time into money and a business is a system for turning other systems into money.” And what you just said reminded me of that distinction. A lot of times people get into the fabrication business because they enjoy making beautiful countertops but, that isn’t enough. You’ve got to dig into the aspects of creating systems that will generate money on a continuing basis. And I get the sense in your digital expos that you help with that aspect. You don’t say that consciously, but you certainly do that in my opinion.

Rob: That’s what we hope to achieve, and it falls under the general spirit of…we’re trying to help people be more successful. Period. That can come in a handful of different ways. It can come in how you think about managing your operation, it can be in the flow and layout of your operation, it can be in the way you accomplish automated tasks. There’s all sorts of different ways in which you can get better but if we can help people get better incrementally, that’s good for everybody.

Patrick: You have a lot of successful fabricators who come and speak at these events too. People like Scott Haynes and Paul Menninger or John Lankto and The [inaudible 00:09:13] and wonderful people like that. What do you think makes them successful? Or maybe just pick one of them. You know, why is Scott Haynes successful? What do you see from a successful fabricator that you think other fabricators need to emulate?

Mike: Well Patrick, I think as we look at the people that come and actually present at our DLCs, there’s one common denominator that all of these guys possess and that’s that they employ a distinct set of processes in their shop. And I think if you listen to them as they come and tell their story, they all come back to the same beginning of success and that is that they had to employ these processes and educate all their employees what their responsibilities were and then help hold them accountable for all those responsibilities. Along with that, they’re gonna pay attention to a couple of areas that we also discuss and that’s gonna be their cost per square foot and their square foot per man hour to make well-informed decisions in competitive projects and taking on new employees and all of those sort of things. So, when you know your cost, it’s always gonna be integral to maintaining a healthy bottom line. And that’s one of the statements we really try to push forward to people as they attend these. And then the last thing that I think all of these people have, is that they’re quick to recognize personnel with valuable skill sets and they’ll move them forward while also quickly ascertaining those people that cannot be brought forward and they’ll maybe move in a different direction from them.

Patrick: Got it. It sounds, like, that successful fabricators aren’t necessarily cookie cutters of one another, from what you’re saying. You don’t all have to have the same processes, you need to have some reasonable process that works for your business, am I correct?

Mike: Absolutely. The processes are gonna be defined based on your shop, your type of work that you do, the equipment that you employ. All of those types of things have to be taken into consideration.

Patrick: For sure. Let’s talk about one of your processes. The product development process. You mentioned that you were inspired to go in certain directions based on the price of granite dropping which is interesting. What else causes you to decide to make a new piece of equipment? You know, if you…I remember, in the last year or so, you came out with a new saw, for example. What made you say “We need this new saw,” and how long does it take to go from the idea “We need this new piece of equipment” to having a new piece of equipment in the market?

Rob: Great question. How do we decide what we’re gonna do next? Couple of different pieces of information go into that. One is listening to our customers and the struggles that they’re facing, another is observing what’s going on in the market. What materials are people being asked to fabricate? What are the challenges that come along with fabricating that material? When quartz was new to the market, it had its own inherent challenges in terms of material stresses and, you know, stuff in the quartz, so to speak. So, we need to look at what people are trying to do and what they’re saying about what they’re trying to do. And then we need to bring that in-house and decide “How can we convert the desire to satisfy those needs into a solution that will create true value for our customers?” Meaning, if they invest in this improvement in their business, it brings them a definable return and it’s something that will be dependable and reliable in the long term so that we’re proud to put our name on it.

How long that takes? That is a real difficult question to answer with specificity because it depends on how much complexity and refinement is involved. If we’re building a new version of something that we’ve made many times, there aren’t a lot of groundbreaking thought discoveries required. But, if you’ve never done something before, sometimes you just don’t know what problems you’re gonna have to solve because you haven’t been there before. But I can tell you that one of the comforts that we have is the decades of experience that we have in developing and supporting products in this industry because cutting stone is a process that is unlike most other cutting and fabrication processes. And with our teams of technical people, you know, to have a few hundred years of machine design experience is extremely helpful knowing that we’re gonna figure it out. The question is, “What’s gonna be the best solution for our customers?”

Patrick: A scenario that came to mind when you were talking was, mitering. So, that sounds like…is that a reasonable example of the sorts of things at some point in the past you heard people saying, “Hey, we need to do more miter cuts. My customers want these kinds of cuts.” And so you had to take that into consideration potentially across a variety of products and come up with a solution. Is that a reasonable example of the type of thing you would hear from listening to your customers or am I missing the point?

Rob: No. Absolutely, and some of the challenges that go into that are understanding, when you cut this material in a mitering orientation, what is the resulting impact on the machine? Does it push the blade? Does it deflect the blade? Does the material chip out? Can you plunge cut? Do you have to step cut? The idea of I want to miter a piece of a certain material, yeah, we get that. But to make it such that we can produce an edge that meets the needs of our customers so they can process it in the final, I guess, the final configuration in a way that they can do it all day long easily and sell it. But, mitering, that’s a great question. How do we do this? It’s not as simple as making the machine tip.

Patrick: Yeah. So, I was going to ask you for a hint of what’s coming next but I actually think it’s more interesting to ask about the problems. So, separate from your solutions, have you heard fabricators talking about new things that…and maybe that’s too general a question. But, you know, is there…obviously, there’s nothing as big as “I need to create miters” that hasn’t already been addressed. But what new things do you hear people talking about that cause you to stroke your chin and say, “Hmm.”

Mike: Well, I have a few things that I’ll mention and then I’ll ask Rob for his input. But, they’re not new, but there’s always a new twist on these big issues and one is labor. Labor continues to be a challenge, how do I find the right labor? How do I best utilize the right labor in my operation? How do I keep them current on technology? And then, the material that I have to process. It’s big, it’s heavy, it’s fragile to some degree, it does certain things when I need to process it with whatever…like I said before, whatever end configuration people are desiring. But it’s how do I get better with my labor? And how do I get better with this big clumsy material?

Patrick: Got it. And actually, there’s one thing I’ve noticed. Your dashboard product, I apologize, I can’t remember the name, but I know you track time on the equipment. We at Moore, where we have certain kinds of tracking, there’s an interesting intersection there that I know people care about in regards to “What is my labor cost?” essentially “How long does Johnny take on CNC one to do what needs to be done?” That’s an interesting problem because it’s not precisely clear who in the marketplace should even solve it. Whether that should be saw manufacturers like you, whether it should be us, whether it’s some third party. It just kind of…it’s an interesting problem that falls into somewhat of a grey area. When you said labor, I’m, like, “h,” that’s another twist is, how do we track it?

Rob: Mike, your thoughts?

Mike: Well, I agree with you, and I think the quandary has always been, how do I get more out of the same equipment out there? So, a number of years ago, our team put together a software program, and it’s called Ops.

Patrick: Okay, that’s right.

Mike: And it’s the owner protection services and the owner productivity services. The productivity side actually will track your linear footage and your square footage coming off your machines, and it also tracks your idle time that your machine sits there waiting to either have a table loaded or unloaded and things like that so that you can better set your expectations on your shop floor. Maybe you work on improvements in your employees paying attention to a machine coming to an end of a cycle, getting over and unloading and loading. And, if we can minimize those down times and maximize the run times, the end result is always a better bottom line.

Patrick: Definitely.

Mike: So, it’s just a tool to help people run their shop a little bit more efficiently.

Patrick: Got it. And I know you have a bunch of competitors, this is a competitive market. Do you pay attention to them much, or do you just focus on what your customers are doing and saying and asking you?

Mike: I like to think we pay attention to both aspects. You know, we always need to remain cognizant of what our competitors are doing, what are their successes, what are their failures and, you know, how does that work into our equipment mix as well. And while we’re paying attention to that, we also need to work closely with our own customers and pay attention to what it is that they’re asking for and actually how they’re utilizing our equipment. You know, the funny thing is, you can build equipment and you can have an idea of how you think it’s going to be utilized in the market place, but when we get out there and work with the actual end users, we find there’s a different set of expectations or a different set of uses for the machine. So, we really rely on our own customer base to come back and share with us, maybe better ways to optimize our equipment in the field.

Patrick: Interesting. I have a soft spot in particular for newer fabricators, newer businesses essentially, taking the leap and growing and making their businesses better. So, let’s say that’s me. Let’s say I don’t yet have an automated saw or a CNC and I’m starting to think about “I should look into this.” How should I approach the sales process in a marketplace with multiple vendors? So, you know, one choice would be to go to a place like stone expo and, you know, go to a trade show and see a bunch of them. Should I just contact each of them and start talking or should I talk with my peers, you know, talk with other people who have made these purchases? Do you think there’s a right way for a customer to approach that whether or not it’s necessarily the best way for Park Industries? But as a fabricator how do you…who is just looking at getting into automated equipment, how should I start the process of looking?

Rob: Sure. Well, I think that’s a great question. And, you know, while most of the big stone shows are very well attended, they can also be very confusing and distracting. You can walk the aisles for hours and look over equipment but you may not come away with a real solid understanding of what the different vendors are offering out there. So, while I think a big stone show may be good for just an overview of understanding what the market is offering out there. A better opportunity for people to get a close look at things is maybe to make a visit to a manufacturer or a vendor, come in and better understand the process, be able to spend some time undistracted, looking, touching, feeling a piece of equipment, working with people to better understand the software and how the machines actually work. And then maybe also get an inside view of how the machines are built and put together and how the support team may be there to help you over the course of the years of ownership.

Patrick: Right.

Rob: And then, you know, as far as peers go, I think peers are probably a great reference point for helping you better understand how a particular piece of equipment can positively or negatively affect your business. And as long as you make sure that the person you’re talking to has experience with the product that you’re looking at and is willing to invite you in and allow you to get a first-hand look at the equipment, how it runs, talk to the operators and programmers. I think that can be an extremely beneficial opportunity to allow you to make a very sound and confident decision in purchasing a piece of digital equipment or any equipment for that matter.

Patrick: As a fabricator, how do I even know when to make that leap? Obviously, it’s easy if you have unlimited funds but what if I’m new? How do I make the decision to get a traditional bridge saw versus holding out for an automated one? Are there rules of thumb? How do I know which things to buy first? Getting a CNC before water saw or vice versa. Those seem like really difficult decisions to make.

Rob: Well, I agree. It is challenging for just about everybody out there and we get that question all the time. From a digital perspective, if I were at a level of business that I was struggling finding the right number of employees, I was having a hard time getting my delivery dates so my leave times were extending out you know two, three, four, six weeks, eight weeks, now I’m starting to lose business because I can’t meet the demand.

Patrick: Interesting.

Rob: So, if I’m going to step up my production, in today’s world if I’m at that point, I’m probably going to go digital. It just makes sense. It’s the way that the industry is going. So, to go digital, to make the most of it, I would wanna be able to get a digital template system and digitally template my jobs, bring them in. I would like to use that digital template from the very beginning. So that means the first piece I personally would employ would be some sort of a digital saw. Whether that’s a CMT saw a CMC saw jets, or what have you, I would go that route. And then the hard work is done. Now I’ve cut all of my tight inside corners, all of my sinks, all of that radius work is done and I can simply have somebody come in and shape and polish or I can run that through a CMT router or maybe an inline edge machine and take advantage of it all.

Patrick: Interesting. Another twist in that decision is a line polisher. I’ve heard people say that a line polisher, I believe yours is the fastback, that, that has one of the highest ROIs that you can get. I think people don’t perceive it as glamorous as a saw or a router. Is that a separate kind of decision? Or, I guess I would summarize that you’re saying as it really should come from your already having business and you’re getting stretched in the amount you can deliver.

Mike: I think realistically Patrick, you have to look at the type of work you do. If you’re a high-end custom shop and you have a lot of radius work, an inline machine probably doesn’t benefit you as heavily as it would if you were a production shop doing a lot of straight line work with just a flat eased polish. So, to answer that, the first thing you need to do is break down the type…the mix of work that you’re doing…

Patrick: Got it.

Mike: And evaluate how much time is being spent on just straight line work. An inline polisher can actually replace about four guys from a productivity perspective and give you a beautiful finish in the end. And you’re right, it’s an inexpensive way. For about the wage of one employee for a year, you can put that machine in and run it for the next 5 to 10 years. So, it can have an incredible effect to your bottom line.

Patrick: So, especially if you’re doing a lot of splashes or something like that.

Mike: If you’re doing a lot of splash or just a lot of straight line work with that flat ease type polish.

Patrick: Got it. Just coming back to the digital expos, for a moment. If I’m a fabricator and I want to go and talk about these things with other fabricators at one of your events, how do I get included? Is there a way to sign up or do I send you an email?

Rob: Sure.

Patrick: Do I go to your web page?

Rob: I’ll make it really easy. If you go to our website, www.parkindustries.com.

Patrick: Okay.

Rob: You’ll go to the front page and right in the upper right-hand corner, there’s a tab that says “education”.

Patrick: Okay.

Rob: Click on that and it’ll drop down a link to the digital stone expo with an online registration form right there. You simply fill out the form and send it in right there online, there’s no charge to attend and we will get you registered, we’ll even make hotel reservations for you if you need that.

Patrick: Perfect. Very nice, thank you. Before we wrap, let’s just talk about kind of the forward-looking kinds of questions. Are there any just broad trends in the countertop market that you see that maybe others aren’t seeing or are, and even just the economy as a whole. We’ve been through some ups and downs in the last decade or so and you’ve weathered those very well. Do you see anything on the horizon that should make people pause and say “time to retrench”?

Rob: Great question. I get it all the time. We spend a fair bit of time with regularity tracking lead indicators for our business that we believe give us some sense of the future. And have been doing that for a number of years because while this industry is growing, it’s not big enough to really attract the attention of the same types of third-party insight as other much larger industries. But, we look at things that those other industries related to what our customers put a lot of interest in. So we look at what’s the demand for new housing and construction based on demographics and immigration and the need for household formation. You know, we need in the neighborhood of a million and a half new dwellings a year. We look at the outlooks for the remodeling index. We also pay attention to those, like, the national association of home builders, we look at those in the mortgage industry, Wells Fargo, and other big banks that have a keen interest in these types of things. What’s the outlook for building materials? Because if you need to build a house, you need shingles, you need siding, you need windows, you need countertops. Another aspect is what are the materials that are gonna be used in these homes for countertops and what’s the trend in materials, what’s the preference. As I mentioned earlier, as granite became less expensive, it got into more and more homes. So, we feel encouraged that the group of materials that is preferred in modest homes and up is something that our customers are involved in delivering. So, we can’t find anything in the near term that would create one to pause and say “Hmm, this doesn’t look so promising.” Because we got the right materials, there’s a lot of remodeling and home and dwelling construction that needs to take place and the underlying factors are still sound.

Patrick: Wow. So, first of all, good to hear. Second of all, at some point in the future, that might change and it sounds like you do a ton of work to keep abreast of that and so if it does change then you’ll adjust accordingly. It sounds like…is it as simple as just turning down the dial a little bit and just recognizing that, “Oh, our orders might slow down a little bit if all these indicators started trending down”? Is it that simple?

Mike: Well, theoretically, yes. But in reality, no, because you can’t just slow down the organization and then turn it back up again. So, what we concluded after the recession was how should we adjust the position of the organization so that when the next inevitable slowdown of the economy occurs in the housing segment, we don’t have to dial it down necessarily, we just need to adjust. So, as a result of that, we have diversified our business. We’re in the beginning stages but were producing equipment for cutting metal. Primarily, or I should say, initially, CNC plasma cutting machines for cutting plates of steel because that is an area where from an equipment development standpoint, there’s nothing there that we don’t know how to do.

Patrick: Right.

Mike: For whatever reason, people say, “Why have you been in the stone machinery business for the last 64 years?” Just because we have. But we’ve discovered that we can make equipment in other industries that are not tied to housing that will help us weather storms. So, when you say, “You just dial it back.” We don’t want to have to dial it back.

Patrick: Got it.

Mike: We would prefer to adjust as necessary so that we can continue to grow and be vibrant and healthy.

Patrick: Two follow-up questions to that. One, does the fact that you can cut metal…make machines that cut metal, do you then use those machines to make your other machines? Or is it really for a different market?

Rob: We own machines to do what we are now building.

Patrick: That’s cool.

Rob: We don’t currently use our own machine in our own fabrication process because we’ve invested in large equipment to build our own stuff before we decided to diversify our product lines. So, could we use our own machines to build our own stuff? We sure could, but since we’ve already got the infrastructure in place, it’s not necessary.

Patrick: You’re essentially in a different part of your purchasing cycle. Things might be different when those need to be replaced.

Mike: Yeah. If we could wind the clock back a few years, we have built what we bought from somebody else? There’s potential, yeah.

Patrick: That’s very interesting. Okay, last question then. That makes a lot of sense from a broad business perspective to have some sort of countercyclical diversification so that if things go down in one market, you can adjust and get things from another market. Do you know of anything that, that would apply to for our mutual customers? Have you seen someone diversify in a successful way as fabricators? Or is that something that we need to be thinking about as…you know, our fabricators need to be thinking about?

Mike: So, to make sure I understand the question correctly. What are our customers or what should they consider doing to diversify their own business?

Patrick: Yeah, or is there anything, or is…you know, is there anything you’ve seen someone do successfully or have you heard someone talking about it even? I, off the top of my head, I can’t think how one would do that but it’s an interesting question.

Mike: Well, I know people have…some have decided to go into it and some have decided that it’s just not their sweet spot. And that is, “How do I get a larger share of the investment, a larger share of the wallet of my customer?” Some guys get into cabinetry and other aspects of construction.

Patrick: Got it. Okay.

Mike: But, if they’re not building a house, they’re not buying cabinets either. So, how to diversify a countertop fabrication facility into something…I do know of people that have gone into broader fabrication businesses.

Patrick: Right.

Mike: Rob, your thoughts on that?

Rob: I think you’re kinda right in line. I know we’ve got a number that offer flooring.

Patrick: Right.

Rob: A lot of granite shops also do tile. All of those kind of things. But the hard part on the countertop side is…it’s any diversification if they go into cabinetry or flooring or anything, it’s still building related.

Patrick: Exactly. And it’s a trade-off in general, whenever you look to diversify something it also can hurt your focus. So, it’s not for the faint of heart. It’s just an interesting, interesting question.

Mike: Something, I will interject though, is I do have some customers with saw jets that have done custom work for other people whether that’s water jetting out metals or maybe some shower door panels and different things like that. So, I think that there are some…if you think outside of the box a little bit, there’s maybe some other industries that they can do some sideline work for.

Patrick: To me, I think this points me back to one of our key philosophies that we try to share with customers, don’t make it a race to the bottom. Right now, we’re in a good market, as you said.

Rob: Correct.

Patrick: And there’s no indicator saying that it’s going to go down anytime soon. This is the time to prove your value to the customer by being, not the low-cost provider but being the best quality experience provider. Because, if the bottom ever did drop out of the market, I would think that the people who are scraping by margins, to begin with, have nowhere to go. People who were winning based on something more than just the price of the material but on the overall experience of the purchase, then they can lower the prices a little bit and still be okay, right? Now, there are still going to be people who want an overall experience. That’s just a theory, I could be completely wrong but it’s a very interesting question to ponder I’m sure for our customers.

Mike: Well, I think that also goes back to what Rob was touching on in our digital expos. Getting our customers to understand the performance of their business in terms of numbers.

Patrick: Got it.

Mike: Is critical because you can say, “Well, how is your business performing?” and a lot of people don’t know how to quantify that.

Patrick: Got it.

Mike: But if you know how your business is performing, you know what you can do and still make money.

Patrick: And even you would at least notice when things did start to change. You know, if you have long leave times or don’t have a good grasp on your sales funnel, you know, how many calls my people are making, how many could turn into sales, you know, how many quotes we have to make before we get a sale. That sort of thing. Then you’re not gonna know when things change that, you know, could be a couple months out. If you have a couple month warning, at least you would be able to adjust.

Mike: Yes.

Patrick: All right, but on to happier subjects. So, again, this was really helpful to talk with you. I have to say, I’m a fan. I really like Park Industries, I like the work you do. So, thank you for coming on and talking with us and sharing some of your experiences and knowledge.

Mike: Thanks, Patrick.

Rob: Thanks, Patrick, have a great day.

Patrick: You too, we’ll talk to you more soon.

Mike: Okay, take care,