Business is booming in the stone industry! Either you are flooded with new business or you are wanting to be flooded with all that new business. Am I right? Hint: say yes so we can stay friends.
Working with fabricators for decades has shown us that growth can be a huge blessing, but also a huge pain. A growing shop is suddenly faced with strains on their current processes and more stress than ever.
But, growth is something to celebrate! And you deserve to be excited about it. So, we’ve compiled some practical tips that you can start thinking about now. That way you can put your feet up and enjoy the rewards sooner rather than later.
Update Your Processes
I know what you’re thinking – “You always say that!” And you’re right. Because it’s tried and true. The most successful countertop fabricators will tell you how streamlining their processes from quote to install have changed their business for the better.
This quote from the All Slab Fabbers facebook group was so perfect, I had to save it. “If you save 30 seconds on a step you do hundreds of times a day…”
If you could save time by increasing your efficiency in every step of your process, what could you spend that time doing? Being able to focus on the next part of your business that needs attention like marketing, customer experience, and metrics is vital to your growth. So is being able to take a vacation! With a streamlined process established, your shop can scale and grow without being dependent on one or two key people. That’s why we’re in the software-for-countertop-fabricators-business, after all.
Get your quotes out faster (and better)
The easiest change you can make right now that will bring the quickest results is to update your quoting process. If you need a week to crank out a countertop estimate, you’re limited in how much you can grow. You may be flooded with new requests for bids, but if you’re still drawing and estimating by hand you won’t be able to compete with the faster and more professional quotes from your competitor.
Here’s where software comes in. Adding drawing and estimating software to your shop can save you time and money. Possibly the two most important things to any business. Our quoting software, CounterGo, has helped thousands of fabricators increase their countertop sales through better, faster, and more accurate quoting.
Great Northern Granite went from doing 5-10 bids per day to somewhere around 120 bid at any given time, according to the Operations Manager Kristian Tharaldson. In fact, we highly recommend watching his interview about growing successfully if you’re interested in seeing how other fabricators do it.
Streamline your office and shop
Here we go with the software talk again…But really, this is a big one for growing shops. Communication can get lost and important tasks can fall through the cracks when everyone is at capacity. It’s money down the drain and stress on the brain!
Usually, countertop fabricators gravitate towards software when they’ve started to outgrow whiteboards and google calendar. That’s when the costly mistakes happen and they know that things need to change.
With scheduling and job management software, like Systemize, busy shops can make sure things run smoothly throughout the whole fabrication process. Communication between the office and the shop is clear, preventing mistakes. And better yet, with all job information centralized and easy to access from anywhere, anyone on the team can pull up a job status for all those new customers calling in.
Invest in going digital
For many smaller shops experiencing growth, their ability to do more jobs is limited by manpower. Machinery can take away this bottleneck and increase output. But it’s costly. So when is it worth it?
Kyle Williams of Earth Elements Design Center explained to us in StoneTalk Episode 33 that the way to grow very quickly is by going digital. His advice? “Embrace the digital revolution.”
If you are considering implementing machinery at your shop, we can’t recommend enough that you attend one of the many workshops in the industry. TISE, Park Industries Digital Expos, and BACA workshops are just a few that are really great for educating yourself on the many benefits and best practices of going digital. You’ll even meet other fabricators going through the same pains or learn from ones who already have.
Hire and retain quality talent
Easier said than done, right? One of the most consistent bottlenecks shops run into, especially during a period of growth, is hiring and retaining quality talent. Demand is growing, and there are just not enough skilled workers to fill the needed positions.
It’s also common that when growth is happening too fast, it can strain your employees and create a stressful environment for them. With Systemize, you’ll be able to increase efficiency with features like auto-schedule, mapping, and reporting. With the right reporting, you’ll be able to set up systems that reward good work and improve on problem areas with other employees.
After all, great employees train great employees. It’s the ultimate process to make sure you are set up for success.
Ready to enjoy growth?
Hopefully, you were able to find a few takeaways from this list that can help you embrace the good side of growth. It just takes some strategy and planning to get your shop in good shape for scaling. And as the fabricator experts say, “Never stop improving.”
If you’ve got some advice for your fellow fabricators out there, please leave it in the comments! We’re never done learning in this industry. Am I right again, or what!?
Find out if software is the first step
If you’re interested in seeing how estimating or scheduling software can help reduce your headaches, schedule a demo with our sales team. Expect to chat with us about your business and see how the software works.