Today’s assignment is to write features for an upcoming issue of Roofing Contractor about my recent trip to China and Vietnam.
assignment is to write features for an upcoming issue of Roofing Contractor about my
recent trip to China and Vietnam. The China part was to visit our friends at China Building Waterproofing and
magazines I went to Vietnam
to take part in the Jimmy &
Rosalynn Carter Work Project with Habitat for Humanity International. Just today I had on
my calendar to consider traveling to India for a roofing expo in April.
This is the 9th Roof
expo, which is supported by the National Roofing Contractors Association and
other industry groups around the world.
China and India.
Combined their populations consist of TWO BILLION more people than we have in
our United States.
These sleeping giants are scarcely sleeping and that is the reason I am
interested in what goes on there and why I have invested in several visits to China - and why I must consider traveling to India (which
may not happen this year but must in the next couple of years for sure).
Vietnam. This developing nation has started doing some of
the heavy lifting formerly handled by countries such as India and China. As those economies mature it
makes room for emerging countries such as Vietnam. While our relations with
their government may not be that great we seem to be importing more of their
goods year after year.
the roofing industry we have historically felt ourselves insulated from the
emergence of competition from foreign countries. After all, the bulk of our
products are made in the USA
and our roofs are built here so our labor force must be located here. But look
at our labor force. A quantifiable percentage of roofing work is done by
workers from south of our border. Our plants may not have moved to Mexico like some
car makers, but many roofing jobs are now the property of foreign workers. Not
making a value judgment on that … just an observation.
I have been back from China
for over a month and while there doing my reporting thing and visiting friends
I also managed to pick up some roofing samples for one of my roofing
distribution associates. China
quarries a variety of slate colors that are not available elsewhere in the
world. We have historically been cautious with Chinese slate since the quality
of some is not so great. But it does not all come from the same quarry and for
some the quality rivals the rest of the slate world. Have not dealt directly
with the Chinese for slate yet, but it is coming.
Web site for one of my distribution company’s trade operations is designed to
attract leads for roofing contractors in Georgia
Got a note from our VP of sales and marketing about a lead we just received
from a Chinese skylight manufacturer. He was not looking for roofing materials
in the Southeastern United States, but was
very keen on us taking a look at his line of skylights. Interesting way of
marketing on his part, huh? I offered to go back to China for a tour of the skylight
plant, but I’m not holding my breath.
across borders is not new to the roofing industry. Back when I sold equipment
to roofing contractors we imported telescopic towable hoists from Germany. These
machines are still all made in Bavaria.
But they could be made in China
some day. Or Vietnam.
Or the Philippines.
Many small hand tools for roofing are made overseas now. Was not that way when
I sold them 25 years ago. Nearly all of the computerized metal folding machines
are made in Europe, as well as the
truck-mounted knucklebooms that we use to deliver roofing every day. But it is
conceivable that they could be made here or anywhere else on the civilized
do not be surprised to see flashings, accessories, skylights, or darn near
anything else that can be stuffed into an oceangoing container show up in your
roofing distributor’s showroom. I do not think they are shipping entire homes
or buildings yet, so we should be OK for a while. A small world indeed - and
getting smaller all the time.