ISFA Annual Conference Roundup: Top 6 Takeaways
Hot on the spurred heels of the International Surface Fabricators Association (ISFA) Annual Conference last week in Arizona, we wanted to share some of our experiences from Rancho de los Caballeros (pretty sure this translates to “Dude Ranch”). The show rounded up all the issues and concerns that fabricators confront, the solutions that associate members are providing and the best practices that the leading fabrication shops have implemented.
We corralled our top 6 takeaways from the desert:
#1 There were certainly a lot of dudes but the ladies showed up in force, including CaraGreen’s own Jessica McNaughton and fellow board members Laura Grandlienard from ROCKin’teriors and Kimberly Homs from Great In Counters.
#2 Creating Value in your Business establishes a solid brand and is crucial to your strategy whether the goal is growth, acquisition or selling the company. ISFA Director Eric Tryon walked us through value estimation based on EBITDA multiples and the factors specific to the industry that should be considered when determining the value of a fabrication shop. Aaron Crowley explained how to saddle up for the tumultuous and unpredictable rodeo that is selling your business. Ted Sherritt of FloForm masterfully guided us through the decades of acquisitions, expansions and transitions that his company has orchestrated. Sheritt shared his evaluation criteria and the myriad of obstacles and challenges that comes with wrangling many companies into one pasture.
#3 PinPoint – “Where’s my package?” meets “Countertop installation” with this savvy solution for tracking Callback Karen’s kitchy kitchen. PinPoint is a software developed by former fabricators looking to solve the issues of the unsettled homeowner who calls incessantly, creating a game of phone tag that is a time and patience suck for everyone involved. PinPoint shows you where your countertop/flooring installer or home repair specialist is, when they will get to you, and even lets Callback Karen offer a real-time review of the experience (uh-oh). Jokes aside, this service connects businesses to customers and increases efficiency, ultimately adding value to a company.
#4 Stone Services Group offers supplemental solutions that zero in on the prickly pain points that stone and solid surface fabricators face on a daily basis: install crews or other personnel, data tracking, interpreting and visualization, and IT systems. Stone Services Group can fill the gaps in these areas by providing the right personnel or support services based on your needs using their established network of industry professionals and years of recruiting experience. Don’t spin your wagon wheels combing through Indeed and LinkedIn resumes hoping to get past the wordsmithing and spelling errors in an effort to unearth some hidden gold. It is likely not there. Stone Services Group sifts through the sediment and delivers the services that really rock.
#5 No Lift System, launched by former fabricator Aaron Crowley, is a No Brainer. The patented system lifts and positions heavy countertops, offering installers a pain free way to do their job, lowering labor costs and the risk of injury so you can increase profitability. This solution not only helps you keep your installers moods lifted, but, well, helps you keep your installers.
#6 Silica – While we socialized in the desert sand, the surrounding setting served as a reminder that silica remains a prominent issue. Airborne crystalline silica released during quartz and granite production was not addressed properly for decades and now the legal battles are breaching the horizon. Companies need to be prepared to have riders on their insurance policies that cover this litigation. And, most importantly, the proper controls must be in place both in the field and in fabrication shops to mitigate exposure from the get go. OSHA is your friend here, and adherence to OSHA standards could keep you in business and out of the hoosegow.
Overall, we had great discussions about moving the industry forward, technological solutions to common problems, health and safety in our workplaces, and how to roll stone-based companies into the digital age. So, as we ride off into the sunset, we want to tip our hats to all the dudes and ladies at ISFA for an amazing time.
ISFA Staff and Board Members at the 2021 Annual Conference in Arizona.