Words from the IACDS President: Are we competitors or are we collaborators?

Published 7/3 at 12:21

That’s the question, as an industry, we must continue to ask ourselves and, overwhelmingly, I believe the answer has to be the latter; as we should we looking to work together rather than against each other.

Of course, we will always be striving to make our own businesses as successful as they can be, but I am clear that collaboration is the only way that we will all survive, and is the only way that the industry will thrive.

Globally, concrete drilling & sawing, and demolition are facing similar issues. In Italy, the Diamond Drilling & Sawing and the Demolition trade associations are seeking to come together to ensure they stay relevant and strong enough for their members. Sweden has already taken the leap, and I hear other countries may be about to follow suit. I covered this issue around how we should work together very briefly in a column nearly three years ago  (before the world became obsessed by Brexit and Trump!) and I am revisiting it now because I think it is time again to remind ourselves of its importance.

My big concern for the whole industry is the shortage of firms worldwide which are looking to grow, take on new staff, develop new skills and grow our industry. With so many companies opting to stay as micro businesses, I am worried that there is little or no succession being planned, and once the owner-manager retires there will be no business and no skillset left. Most of the guys and gals I meet at world meetings would be ‘concrete to the core’ if you cut them in half, and they are so busy at working in their business and doing the day to day bit they love, they give themselves no time to develop the company and, therefore, there is no future mapped out. One way of looking at that could be once the ‘main man/woman’ retires, it’s an opportunity for another company to mop up their work and grow their business that way.

But is there another answer? Can we work better together to create a brighter future for all of us and ensure that our industry’s future is protected? It’s an ambition of mine to see this come to fruition and to make sure we work as one to recognise where our shortfalls are as a global industry and, together, start to put them right.

I’ve never pretended to be someone who has all the right answers, but I am convinced these are the right questions to be asking ourselves, and we should all be looking beyond our lifespans with our businesses and peering way ahead to try to think what our industry is going to look like. As I have mentioned previously, I believe one of our shortcomings is our industry’s inability to shout about its success stories and to sell our ‘sexy’ industry to people – especially the young – as a career choice.

To that end, I was delighted to see that we have had record numbers of entries (and countries) for the Diamond Awards in 2019, which is a great example of how we can showcase the best of what we do and learn from one another’s best practice. For our IACDS annual meeting 2019, there will be a networking event showcasing all the job stories and then the presentation of the Diamond Awards at a ceremony which will take place at bauma on 11 April, 2019 in Room B11, Pavilion B1. There will also be a dinner in downtown Munich on the night of 13 April and then, on 14 April, the annual meeting will be held close to the show at the Novotel Hotel Muenchen Messe at 9am. 

All are welcome, so please come along to see what we are doing and achieving for our industry. It is a great marketing opportunity for all of our businesses and a chance, moreover, to meet with fellow companies from across the world and share ideas, best practice and to see how we can collaborate rather than compete. As to the awards themselves, for the first time this year we have an award for best product as well as best company, and I am delighted that our suppliers will be recognised in this way. We’ve had record entries for this award too; well I suppose that has to be the case as it’s the first time we’ve done it!

I have said for a long time that I believe it’s becoming more and more important for suppliers to be involved with us at association level, and I think a handful are now waking up to the opportunity of working with us as they can see the very tangible benefits for doing so. Where else could they network with some of their biggest customers, all in one room?

So it promises to be another fantastic bauma, where the whole industry from around the world meets in Munich and makes the most of the expertise we have from all over the globe. It follows on from World of Concrete, which was the largest show in a decade, where it was great to see everyone from all over the world and join in with the CSDA booth and events. Many congratulations to all of the winners of the Concrete Openings Awards with some incredible jobs. 

One winner (or should I say two), Cutting Edge Services Corp from Ohio, and Advanced Concrete Sawing from Minnesota, stood out to me. They joined together on a hydroelectric dam project which takes me back to my point at the top around competitor or collaborator. Are they companies who are very smart who join together to get the best out of technology and their people to provide the best level of service to their customer? That’s something to discuss in Munich! See you at bauma 2019.

 

Julie White, President of IACDS
juliewhite@d-drill.co.uk

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