Presidents Column: Building on Innovation to Advance Our Business

Thinking outside-the-box can give you the inspiration to grow your business, from acquiring other businesses to investing in the latest equipment.

Nathan L. Dills

This month, SMACNews focuses on the fast-growing sector of architectural sheet metal. Contractors have been expanding their capabilities into this area, and for several it has paid off handsomely as the real estate owners, architects and developers embrace unique metal finishes and skins on buildings, many of which are highly creative and involve intricate designs that push sheet metal to the boundaries of its use.

If you run a shop and are reading this, then I know you frequently think about your own expansion plans. Sometimes people confuse expansion with innovation. Innovation must happen regardless of profitability targets. If you don’t innovate, you won’t remain competitive, whereas expansion is a way to grow profits and/or services.

The folks at SMACNA are working hard to make sure you are aware of industry innovations and advancements that can increase productivity and efficiencies for your business. Through Contractor Spotlight videos that give you the essence of a plant tour, Executive News Brief, SMACNewsProducts & Services email, the technical services team and SMACNA’s Premiere Partners and Associate Members, you are well-covered in terms of being kept informed.

Above and beyond innovation is expansion. Expanding your business can happen in a variety of different ways. I know some members are looking to acquire other businesses to add product lines, create a presence in a new market that supports a client or industry, or to buy out the competition.

At the same time, I know other members that are looking internally for growth by investing in the latest equipment to expand into a new line of service or dramatically increasing efficiencies to increase capacity. And still other members are looking to develop services that support and maintain their projects over time, enabling them to establish long-term relationships directly with building owners.

Development of new product lines for retail sales; suppliers to aerospace and automotive industries; launching a modular building capability; I can go on and on about these outside-the-box thinkers and how they are taking our industry into new directions.

For me, thinking about growth and all these possibilities gets me excited about the future. Even though I did not launch my company, I consider myself an entrepreneur through and through. Many of us need to remind ourselves of that and find our own inspiration to grow our businesses. Architectural sheet metal is one area.


Nathan L. Dills
SMACNA President