First-time Digital Expo-er here! It couldn’t have been more worth the trip. We left the amazing views of the conference room Thursday with new names to remember, new topics to dive into, and a bunch more knowledge. Harry was right.
Park Industries does a great job, from experience as well as research, in understanding the pains and problems that businesses in this industry face. I made some notes of the talking points that I found really powerful.
Spend your money to make your money
With a shortage in labor and a somewhat bleak prediction for unfulfilled jobs over the next decade, Park Industries’ Co-President Joan Schatz stressed the importance that Park places on recruiting, retention, and re-engineering. Essentially, save yourself some stress of trying to fill that gap by establishing some preventative programs that bring the right employees to your company, provide an environment that shows appreciation and produces long-term employees, and if you have a process that can be automated – definitely do it.
Similarly, Co-President Mike Schlough spoke on the steadily increasing growth we’ve seen and predicts that it will only get busier for our industry, hooray! I enjoyed the enlightening point of a shift in homeownership trends. “Millennials likes nice things.” Just because a new generation may not be living in new homes, they’re still going to need installs. Let’s get ready for a remodeling boom!
Just like any growth, this good news is going to require labor. To Joan and Mike’s point, now is the time to invest in your business through employee retention and automation.
Don’t be afraid to charge
This confidence in pricing was a common theme mentioned by multiple speakers, including 2018 Fabricator of the Year Dave Scott from Slabworks Montana. It may seem like a safe move to offer lower prices than your competitors but it’s only making it harder to invest in your business. These speakers run successful shops by providing their best work and being confident in their pricing. Story after story revealed that customers would always return and pay what it costs for quality results even if it was more expensive. Knowing your worth is an important first step to investing in your business.
Always be improving and track your progress
Another Moraware “super-user” Geoffrey Gran of The Countertop Factory shared his essential tools for increasing their shop’s efficiency and productivity. He knows that as technology evolves and grows, their shop is going to change and adapt along with it. Geoffrey offered the helpful tip that customers always go with the option that shows them exactly what the results will look like, even if it’s more expensive. You can’t produce sales wisdom like that without having the right technology tools.
Also highly notable from this segment, as you’re tracking your progress, don’t compare yourself to other shops. As long as you are improving, you are on the right track. Don’t make rash decisions or open yourself up to mistakes because you are in a competition with another company’s metrics. Everyone’s business is different and all that matters is that you are getting better and growing steadily.
Advertising is free when you place the customers experience as first priority
We’ve all unfortunately lived through really bad customer service at some point in our lives. Liz Roth of Keystone Granite refuses to normalize that. She places the overall customer experience as the most important aspect of her business. From educating the customer to having movies on hand for customers with children to creating impressive rates of customer loyalty, we have to applaud Liz on her success and dedication to this principle. To the Keystone team, being digital provides a better sales strategy. And by being able to produce more and better with their machines, they are able to have another important reason for their customers to be loyal. What’s better than a happy customer referring all their friends? The fact that it’s free advertising!
Why attend a Park Industries Digital Expo?
With everyone being so busy, why do attendees make the time and effort to go to these? One poll showed that the most popular reason for attending was to improve efficiency. Attending these events lets you ask top performing industry leaders questions, introduces you to new tools for enhancing your business, and visiting the shops on the tour may inspire some new ideas for your own shop. Sign up for one here.