As has been covered in the news over the past year, the current administration plans to alter its policies to be more protective of certain domestic manufacturing industries judged as disadvantaged by foreign imports. One of those industries targeted for review is the steel and metal products industry. By April of 2018 or earlier, we may see a drastic shift in policy towards reducing imports, which will dramatically increase the price of metal products in the marketplace.
Why Is The Policy Changing?
A recent report by the US Commerce Department determined “excessive steel imports have adversely impacted the economic welfare of the U.S.,” citing concerns over “numerous U.S. steel mill closures, a substantial decline in employment, lost domestic sales and market share, and marginal annual net income for U.S.-based steel companies.”
The report follows up on a similar report in 2001, which investigated the same question of whether steel imports had an effect on national security. In 2001, no changes were recommended to the existing import policy.
What are the Recommendations?
Citing the level of “import penetration” and the “reduction in basic oxygen furnace facilities since 2001,” the US Commerce Department has issued a recommendation to reduce imports “through quotas or tariffs” to a level that will “enable U.S. steel mills to operate at 80 percent or more of their capacity.”
“They Have the Answer Within Five Minutes”: What MiTek Customer Service Means to Accurate Housing
For Darin Sellers, a key part of Accurate Housing’s relationship with MiTek is customer service. “Any time we ever need anything, you can just get on the phone and call them,” he says. “And nine times out of ten, they have the answer within five minutes.”
“You keep the customer happy, you’re good”: the Story of Accurate Housing and MiTek
“I would recommend MiTek based off the relationships we’ve had with everybody… I would recommend MiTek for the people,” says Nick Gutierrez of Accurate Housing. “Everybody is very knowledgeable in what they’re doing, and extremely willing to help.”
Customer service, he says, “is what it comes down to.”
What It Takes to Build a Truss Plant… Simplified
Building a truss plant can be complex, but for Accurate Housing, it’s easier with MiTek on their side. “They provide you with everything you need to get started, and set up, run everything,” says Darin Sellers. “[F]rom software all the way down to the equipment and the plates.”
How easy is it to get up and running with BLADE? Ask the folks at Accurate Housing.
“You’re able to train a guy relatively quickly,” says Nick Gutierrez of Accurate Housing. “I’d say within a couple weeks.”
MiTek MVP Keeps Accurate on Track
MiTek MVP software has a special role in ensuring operations run smoothly at Accurate Housing.
“We run MVP for everything,” says Nick Gutierrez. “[A]fter everything is batched out, MVP runs everything through board tracker with the saws, and then they track all their productivity…. It’s great for being able to print out reports.”
At MiTek, “we build the building industry” isn’t just a slogan. It’s a statement of fact.
Our products have made the journey to 95 countries around the world, connecting component industry leaders to solutions that improve their workflows and solve everyday problems on the shop floor and the jobsite. Our construction software is a part of our customers’ everyday operations.
We wanted to bring our experience streamlining the component production process, to the building community. First, we know the challenges builders face are complex. Like you, we couldn’t do it alone. That’s why we brought together a family of companies underneath the MiTek umbrella to create a new way of doing things.
We promise you nothing less than a complete hardware and software ecosystem for the building industry.
Our hardware–truss plates, connectors, fasteners, Hardy Frames, and hangars–are the backbone of the industry. Furthermore, construction software touches every corner of a builder’s operations, estimating, and design processes.
Together these parts and pieces form one powerful, unified, comprehensive system–all designed to put peak performance, within your reach. Now isn’t that a vision you can believe in?
It’s almost here: this year’s BCMC will be hosted in Omaha. From October 24th to October 27th, leaders in the component industry will gather to learn from each other, build knowledge and resources, and push the industry forward to create stronger, safer structures for their customers. This year’s theme? “Raise the Stakes”! Visitors can look forward to a fun, innovative show. The fun, friendly Midwestern city of Omaha is familiar territory for MiTek, and for anyone who follows business and investment trends, as the home of Berkshire Hathaway.
Learn From the Best in the Industry
As with most BCMC shows, there’s always something new to learn. Educational sessions allow attendees to benefit from others’ expertise. No matter what challenges your business faces, there is a session for you: learn how to implement Lean Principles with BJ Louws of Louws Truss, or hear more about how to lead today’s designers with Tony Acampa of Shelter Systems. Learning labs and roundtables supplement the educational sessions and keep visitors’ schedules jam-packed. Then, of course, there’s the show floor, where visitors will want to spend time getting to know the names and faces of the industry.
Outside of the show floor and the closed sessions, there will also be the annual 5K—and undoubtedly, a bevy of happy hours.
As always, the host city will play a starring role in visitors’ experience of BCMC. Omaha, Nebraska is home to the only museum on Latino art and culture in the Midwest, as well as the Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum. It is split by the Missouri River and hosts four Fortune 500 companies. It’s also a great place to order a steak. Be sure to spend some time walking around the host city of this year’s show—as you take in the collective experience of an industry and find out how to Raise the Stakes.
“Prospection” is just a fancy word that means “looking ahead.” But it can make all the difference for the success or failure of your business. There are potential pitfalls to our thinking when we remain stuck in the past—but also when we try to look ahead.
It may surprise you to learn prospection drives a lot of human behavior, since many businesses do seem to get caught behind the curve. Those who are good at prospecting, however, have an intensity of focus that allows them to disregard naysayers and pursue their vision of the future with a level of clarity that looks almost supernatural. Picture the Wright brothers inventing the airplane despite little experience and few credentials.
But—you may object—what if I take a gamble on the future and find I miscalculated? Not to worry—you can still reap the benefits of experimentation in business without investing your life savings into the automation equivalent of the jetpack. Joe Hikel of Shelter Systems spent $10 million building his plant—but did it in such a way that he could innovate without disrupting legacy systems. He accomplished this by creating “greenfield” operations to perfect new technology on the side without disrupting mainstream production run on older technology.
If this sounds like a lot of time, energy, and money… well, it is. But the rewards of prospection are well worth the costs, and ten or fifteen years down the line, you may be grateful you pushed your shop towards progress—and with the power of Better Technology, found a path toward Better Building.
In response to the need for ever-greater productivity and output, MiTek recently introduced a new, highly-efficient material handling system. With MatchPoint DirectDrive™, component manufacturers can now process 800-900 board feet per hour per build station.
As the industry continues to be constrained by a shortage of skilled labor, minimizing labor is almost required in a better component manufacturing process. MatchPoint DirectDrive™ not only reduces labor needs, it also reduces training time for new hires. And it adds no additional square footage to the operation.
How It Works
The whole system is composed of the: Ranger RS™, MatchPoint BLADE™ Saw, Conveyors, and the Wizard PDS® as well as the MiTek Virtual Plant (MVP) software. Together, the system offers sorting, optimizing, and printing capabilities.
With all these parts working to shave time off processing speed, component manufacturers will experience improved material flow and lumber handling patterns. In fact, it almost entirely eliminates truss manufacturing “setup time,” a major factor that can limit truss production output.
One of the key aspects of the system that increases efficiency is the BLADE linear saw, which improves cut member accuracy, minimizes re-cuts, and optimizes lumber. The Wizard gantry also gains efficiency under the new system. Another star player, MVP also works to coordinate the truss manufacturing process for all WIPs.
MatchPoint DirectDrive™ is poised to set a new standard in roof truss component manufacturing, and we can’t wait to watch roof truss manufacturers enjoy better efficiency in their processes.