The Industry Insider

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Overheard at Design & Construction Week 2018

The Schaffer Associates Team at the Crystal Vision Award Breakfast


Last week, Schaffer Associates joined thousands of industry insiders in Orlando for Design & Construction Week (DCW), comprised of the International Builders’ Show (IBS) and the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS).  Both shows were incredibly well-attended, showcasing the latest trends and newest products on the market.  And as it always does, DCW gave industry experts a chance to discuss the current and future glidepath of the industry.

Here’s a sampling of what Schaffer Associates’ senior team members picked up on during their conversations in Orlando:

  • Most show attendees have reasonably high expectations for 2018.  While 2017 was a positive year for the industry as a whole, many conversations in Orlando centered around the prospect of business improving in 2018.  Reasons given for this expectation included strength of the economy within the industry and as a whole, renewed confidence among customers, reasonably strong housing numbers, better access to capital, and improved supply chain infrastructure.
  • Some manufacturers are investigating ways to make their products faster to install, and easier to install correctly, with an intent to save the builder installation and/or call-back time.  By ensuring better use of their contractors’ time, they can get more done in less time, resulting in more efficiency, less manhours, and ultimately lower costs for everyone.
  • There is widespread concern about the inability to find qualified individuals to fill positions that are either currently open or will be in the future.  The vast majority of organizations we spoke to are running a very lean operation, either by intent or as a result of the lack of available talent.

Schaffer Associates team members with industry leaders, Dave Jenkins of Empire Building Products and Dan Higgins of Monarch Materials Group.

That last point is always a key topic of discussion at industry shows, but it seemed especially pertinent this year in Orlando.  The “talent gap” is real, more so now than at any point in our industry’s recent history, and it is preventing companies from realizing their full potential in a growth year like 2018.  It’s the reason so many organizations approached us at the show in hopes that we can help connect them with qualified, experienced individuals within the industry.  We can do the same for your company.  If you didn’t connect with us in Orlando, we hope you will contact us today to learn more about what we can do to help you hire the best people and make the right organizational decisions to capitalize on 2018.

Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, Schaffer Associates is a national management consulting firm specializing in executive search and organizational strategies for the hardware, home improvement, building materials, and consumer products industries. As the premier management consulting firm serving the industry, we help build organizations and leadership teams that foster corporate growth and success well into the future.

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