CM Perspective: Innovation Comes Through Sharing Ideas


CM Perspective: Innovation Comes Through Sharing Ideas

During a safety-focused SBCA webinar this past summer (Building a Safety Culture in Your Plant), the presenters posted a live poll asking attendees if they had an in-house safety committee to self-audit their safety performance. I was surprised when 80 percent indicated they had one. We didn’t. I immediately took that back to my management team and now we have our own internal safety review group. It’s made a huge difference, and it’s thanks to that one moment in that one webinar.

Since I’ve become involved in SBCA, I have found one of the most valuable aspects to be all of the opportunities to learn from fellow component manufacturers and suppliers. The educational sessions and discussions on the exhibit floor of BCMC last week in Milwaukee gave me several ideas I can’t wait to explore in our facility over the coming months. It was well worth the time and investment to attend just for those ideas alone.

BCMC isn’t the only place to get great ideas though. SBCA’s weekly webinar series has also provided me and my staff a wealth of knowledge. It’s been especially helpful for our design team. They have all been actively pursuing certification through SBCA’s Truss Technician Training (TTT) program, and several of the webinars count toward the ongoing education requirements. SBCA’s Technical Director, Jim Vogt, has given a number of webinars filled with guidance on truss loading and timely issues like mold.

Another safety-related example that has made a big impact for our company is logging every lockout/tagout. After hearing how a CM did it at their plant we implemented a similar approach. It now provides a much more accurate picture of what is going in production on a daily basis.

There’s even more to learn at SBCA’s Open Quarterly Meetings (OQMs) where CMs freely share their ideas and best practices in meetings and in after-dinner conversations. If someone from your company isn’t actively engaged in one or more of these activities (SBCA webinars, BCMC or OQMs), you are likely missing out on ideas that could transform your business in a positive way. I’d encourage you to start by attending one or more the webinars scheduled between now and the end of the year.

If you find those informative, consider attending the first OQM in February in San Diego, California.

About the Author: Dallas Austin is design manager at Big C Lumber in Dowagiac, Michigan. He serves on the SBCA board as well as on the Emerging Leaders and BCMC Committees.