You Must be Adept to Adopt to Adapt
If we have learned anything in the last year, it is that you must be skilled in reacting to changes in order to survive in the business world.
2020 hurled COVID, lockdowns, and work from home at us, nevermind economic and health crises unlike we have ever seen.
As a business, you get very introspective in times like these and as we exit 2020, here at CaraGreen, we look at the changes that we made, quickly and efficiently to not only survive but to come out of this year stronger. Cause we have plenty of 2020.
Where have all the meetings gone?
Online, duh. Like everyone else, we latched on to Zoom, and then transitioned to Google Meet, and then decided that both platforms work, and given the volume of meetings that we were having we needed to support multiple platforms. Without lunch in hand, meetings with architects and designers needed to be succinct and shorter, so we led with that in scheduling. Nobody wants to think they are signing a chunk of their day away to hear some stranded salesman ramble on about their products. 10 minutes is often sufficient if you are skilled at articulating the key points of your products. We also launched virtual “trunk shows” to liven up product presentations (to schedule a trunk show, click here).
Where are Architects and Designers finding products?
There are no communal design libraries, so services like Material Bank, Swatchbox, Mortarr and Source quickly found their legs. The companies, like us, that chose to engage early on were quick winners in online discovery and sampling. Our brands Durat, elementAl, Organoid and TorZo saw sample requests begin to transition online. If your brand has not yet launched on these platforms, you are missing out on a key discovery point for your products. If nobody can rummage around in a physical library, they are quickly going to resort to online platforms for just in time sampling. Not all libraries are online, though. Organized, in Denver, is building physical office space for remote designers to come in and peruse the brands. Since a lot of large physical locations are closing down, companies like Organized Corp, who serves as a consolidated resource for architect and designer sampling needs, is opening safe, accessible libraries for their remote clients to come to see physical samples.
"We realized we had to adapt to the changing environment and the needs of our clients as a lot of firms and individuals will continue to work from home," Organized Corp's President Emily Odell stated in a recent email to CaraGreen.
"We created a safe, consolidated, well-vetted library of materials, where designers can have that tactile experience and put project boards together, without having to store and manage boxes and boxes of samples in their homes or home offices."
Understand Design Collaboration went online
Building Information Modeling, or BIM, is essentially the ability to render your materials and buildings in 3D online. Having these models available to designers means they can plug your materials into their designs easily and share those designs with remote coworkers. BIM has been around for a while, but companies like BIMSmith are getting more integrated and including specification services like MasterSpec and sampling services like Swatchbox in order to get architect’s submittal samples in hand using a single design platform. Material Bank continued its expansion with Material Desk, an online interactive, real-time design collaboration tool that allows its users to swap swatches in and out as they curate their finishes together - but apart.
What Projects are Happening
We decided it was time to invest in a project database that would allow us to see where our materials are specified as well as what projects are moving forward and which ones are on hold. We settled on the Construct Connect platform that houses both iSqFt, a bidding software and Insight, a more specification driven platform to see what public and private projects were going out to bid. Having this visibility into the types of projects that were still progressing through the pandemic allowed us to more accurately manage our inventory and plan for the upcoming months as the gears started turning, albeit slowly, haltingly and sometimes not at all.
All of these transitions that we made were relatively seamless and quick. CaraGreen has always reacted quickly and been quick to accept change, and often willing to fail or make a misstep in order to learn and progress. 2020 has pushed our skills at adapting to a new level, and we were able to adopt these changes and grow while it felt like the sky was falling. We are not out of this yet, and as evidenced by the news cycle on a daily basis, reality continues to set in - hopefully for everyone - and we remain adept at navigating these wrenches 2020 keeps throwing.
Check out this blog post to learn more about the changes we made in 2020.