Business Sense: Digital Stoneworking Expo Recap: Fabricators Sharing Best Practices

Digital Stoneworking Expo Recap: Fabricators Sharing Best Practices is Awesome as Ever

By Katherine Gifford of Moraware

Going to the Park Industries’ Digital Stoneworking Expos is always something we look forward to here at Moraware. We try to take turns so that everyone on our team can attend. It gives us more insight into the needs and business problems that our customers and other fabricators are going through. And, it’s really fun to spend some time together in person.

This time, it was yours truly and Harry attending the Chicago event. And we all know how much Harry loves these!

As usual, I learned a lot listening to fabricators sharing their stories and listening to their questions. So, I thought I’d share some of my favorite highlights from the DSE for you!

What is the cost to do nothing?

A lot of fabricators attend these because they know that something needs to change in their shop. And honestly, we should always be changing if we want to keep being successful.

If you are lucky enough to know exactly what the bottleneck in your shop is and how to fix it, what would happen if you continued doing nothing about it? Would you lose money and eventually go out of business? Would you keep having a high employee turnover, which ends up costing you time and money on training and hiring?

It doesn’t matter what it is that is causing you a big fat business headache, it’s going to cost you more to do nothing about it. Sometimes you have to invest in a solution to see better results. This could be developing a better culture to keep your great employees or investing in technology for your shop.

In order to change, you must have a process

So, you decide to go ahead and do something to better your fabrication business. Huge step!It can be overwhelming and pretty darn scary. As Geoffrey Gran from The Countertop Factory said, “Change can be scary, it’s the owner’s job to lead.”

I feel like a broken record here but it’s too true not to say over and over again – every shop needs a process. And it will change as your shop’s bottlenecks change. In the Identifying Your Shop’s Bottlenecks breakout, Brett Brunson of Evolution Granite said, “Bottlenecks – we fix one and find another.” It’s only circled a couple hundred times in my notes…

Attending these events, touring other countertop shops, and asking your fellow fabricators are some first steps in learning how to improve your efficiency and define your process. These tips will help steer you in the right direction and tracking your metrics will help you fine-tune the process that works best for your team.

Labor pains in the stone industry

I found it really interesting that one of the polls showed Labor as the number one business pain. All of the speakers mentioned retaining talent in some way or another. With a labor shortage haunting fabricators of all sizes, training and culture are more important than ever in a countertop shop.

Creating easy processes and taking the time to develop thorough training allows less experienced employees to be successful. It also prevents mistakes and bad habits that can end up costing you.

As for culture, Sepp Vanderputten from Sarto Granite talked about his employees feeling like family. He found that by caring for and treating his team well, they shared the same level of concern for their work.

Thanks for the love

It was incredibly humbling to hear Moraware mentioned as the “lifeline” for many fabricators at this event. In the breakout discussions I attended, I was amazed at how often Moraware came up in different conversations about best practices. Our goal here at Moraware is to help fabricators in their business, whether it’s our software or highlighting best practices and industry resources.

Attending industry events like these are educational for us, too. We learn what fabricators are facing in their businesses and can continue developing solutions to help. Come say hi to us at the next one!