It is always an enjoyable challenge to put together our Editor’s Choice feature. Enjoyable because we get to learn about new and improved products, systems, and initiatives produced to make roofing products better or help your roofing business run more smoothly (or both). The process is a challenge because often the range of new offerings is broad and we have limits on how many choices we can make.
While you will find our Editor’s Choice feature beginning here, I want to toss in a few observations on things that caught my eye while I was making my way through a series of trade shows and educational events over the winter.
This column took note last month of the speed at which the roofing industry is warming up to the new technology of aerial roof measurement systems. It seems that is only the beginning as we are witnessing the rapid deployment of other technologies that tie the disparate pieces of the business together to reduce the friction in the estimating, presentation, execution, and back-office activities such as purchasing, invoicing, and collections. These innovations, coupled with a more enlightened consumer, may make competing out of a trunk a near impossibility in the very near future.
Steep-slope roofing manufacturers seem to be bringing new products to market more quickly than ever before. Pre-blending composite slate shingles on pallets to take the guesswork out of color blending is an idea whose time seems to have come. New looks, colors, and styles are appearing in asphalt shingles just when the market has nearly completed the shift away from three-tabs to the wood-shake styled dimensional shingles. Will another style take over, or are we headed for a time when a variety of styles will be the order of the day?
It was interesting to see technology in play at the International Roofing Expo as the seminar on social media was packed and the session on Building Information Modeling (BIM) was fascinating. It was a bit sad, however, to see how poorly an excellent presentation on OSHA and emerging trends in safe work practices was attended. The industry must embrace an advanced safety culture to grow, and I continue to have a sense that we are not there yet.
Some of my favorite things during this go-round were not things at all but some all-too-brief encounters with some of the legends in our business. I had the great good fortune to run into Melvin Kruger on the tradeshow floor; Glenn Langer between some hospitality functions; and Dick Fricklas at the NRCA luncheon. I will not even attempt to tell you what each of these fine gentlemen have done for the roofing industry; this column is not big enough. My only point is to share with you what a blessing it has been for me to have known them and of their fine work over the years in the roofing business.
I guess that is the point. This is a great industry full of some very smart, hardworking, dedicated people. That includes a number of folks who have a certain passion for coming up with a better mousetrap. We think our picks are tops, but we would love to hear what you think. Drop us a line or visit us online at www.roofingcontractor.com.