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Trends Are the Face of a Changing Industry


Trends Are the Face of a Changing Industry

Last week, industry economists reported that builder confidence dipped three points in February, reflecting higher costs and the lack of available labor.  There remains widespread agreement, however, that the industry as a whole remains strong and poised for a very successful year.  This optimism is due, in large part, to fundamental economic indicators that appear to be on solid footing:  consistent job growth, low mortgage rates, and pent up demand.  But, to some degree, it’s also the result of a slew of trends and growing product lines within the industry that are reshaping how companies approach the many facets of the building products and related sectors.

There is, perhaps, no better example of a growing sector in our industry than engineered wood product (EWP).  Just last month, the Engineered Wood Association predicted that by 2020, EWP output will increase between 25% and 33% thanks to the increase in US housing starts.  Rapid growth for EWP producers can be expected to continue beyond the end of the decade, and the long-term impact of the product line is being felt throughout the industry.

Other rising trends are helping to launch our industry into what promises to be a successful year.  Many companies are utilizing offsite construction as a way to save costs and work around the lack of skilled labor in the market.  Prefabrication or modular approaches also have the ability to save time, which is a major point of attraction for construction companies competing for more and more projects coming online.  Technologies like Building Information Modeling (BIM) and laser scanning programs are becoming not only supplemental but critical tools of the trade for many large-scale projects.  And as the green industry grows, so grows technology designed to help builders develop LEED-certified homes and projects in a more efficient, cost effective manner.

In addition to technology, new design trends are also transforming the way many are approaching the industry.  There has been no greater design trend than the boom of multigenerational housing, which has increased market opportunities for many in the sector.  While some economists predict that the trend may relent this year as single-family housing starts increase, it is hard to imagine the trend falling away completely.  As more families consider a multigenerational approach to home construction as a possibility – and oftentimes a solution – it will continue to be a force in the industry.  There is also a growing demand for “walkable” communities with close access to public transportation, schools, and other services near residential areas.  We expect demand for these projects to rise throughout the year.  Specific interior construction designs are trending as well, such as increased USB and wireless connectivity, island space in kitchens, enhanced laundry areas, and outdoor rooms.

All of these trends lead us to two conclusions.  First, our industry is growing and changing rapidly.  Second, in order to take advantage of growth opportunities and to keep up with changing trends, companies must overcome the continued lack of available talent in the industry.  We believe the best way to do that is to partner with an organization like Schaffer Associates that understands the industry and the trends that are reshaping it every day.  Call us today.

Schaffer Associates

Schaffer Associates is an executive search firm specializing in talent acquisition for the hardware, home improvement, building materials, and consumer products industries. As premier executive recruiters with expert focus on your industry, we help you HIRE SMART. Contact us today for help with your officer-level or mid-management level search.

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