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By Karen L. Edwards, RT3 Director
In March, when business as usual was suddenly no longer business as usual, things were a little scary. As an industry and community, we were taken by surprise. There was no time to prepare and many in the roofing industry were stunned and unsure if we were making the right decisions. With conventions and meetings being canceled, we could not talk to our peers in person to share experiences or gain reassurances.
RT3 members quickly launched the first of several special webinars in late March, bringing the industry together to have important conversations about pivoting to virtual operations. The response was overwhelming with nearly 600 people registering to attend and since then over 500 viewing the recording.
The industry was hungry for information, education and being able to feel like they were together with their peers. The response sparked other industry leaders to offer informational and educational opportunities on the best ways to run your business during the pandemic. During April and early May, there were so many webinars available that it was hard to choose which ones to attend.
Technology played a key role in keeping us informed and educated about what was happening in the early days of the pandemic. Industry leaders and RT3 members Beacon Building Supply, Cotney Construction Law, GAF, RoofersCoffeeShop, Roofing Contractor Magazine and the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) were hosting webinars, town hall phone meetings and helping the industry navigate the murky waters of safety regulations, Small Business Administration assistance and providing education on tools that are available to keep businesses operating efficiently.
The roofing industry is resilient. We have survived depressions, recessions, wars, catastrophic events, and we will survive a pandemic. While technology has typically been slow to be adopted by the industry, that is no longer the case. Technology is going to move us forward and help us emerge stronger.
Now is the time to take a hard look inside of your business. Meet safely or virtually with your leadership team to identify areas for improvement. If you do not think you can objectively make an accurate assessment, consider bringing in a third party as a fresh set of eyes. Once you have identified areas that can be improved, it is time to find the technology solution that will strengthen your business.
Choosing your technology solutions
Make this a team effort. If you pick solutions and force them on your team, you might be met with resistance. Start with your roofing service providers. Many have developed their own technology solutions that may be right for your business. Visit the websites of your distributors and manufacturers. You will find tools that will help you improve communications, increase operating efficiencies, and strengthen your team and your business at the same time. Often the tools are free to use.
Take advantage of a bad weather day to host a virtual meeting for your team and share the technologies with them. Watch the demo videos or recorded webinars about the technology and discuss afterwards. When your team is part of the decision-making process, the implementation of the technology will be a smoother process.
You are not on an island in this unusual time. Use the free resources and support being offered by your associations, manufacturers, suppliers, and service providers. The roofing industry is like a family that has come together to help each other get the resources, information, education, and technology that will allow all of us to emerge stronger.