It's one day since our meeting of the Remodeling Futures Steering Committee at Harvard University as I write this, and I can tell you that you're not alone if you're searching for answers.
The Remodeling Futures group, which meets twice a year in Cambridge, Mass., comprises some of the greatest minds our industry has to offer. Yet this time around, it was very apparent that there were a lot more people asking questions than there were offering bonafide answers.
Harvard, as you may know, predicts the current downturn will not show any significant signs of recovery until sometime in 2010. And even that prediction comes with an asterisk. Nobody knows precisely when the economy will turn around and breathe life back into consumers' willingness to spend their hard-earned dollars on home improvement projects.
But with new home construction sucking wind even faster than remodeling, building product manufacturers and suppliers have turned their focus to remodelers to help drive sales.
So the highlight of the conference for me was a panel discussion "The Renewed Importance of the Remodeling Contractor in the Residential Supply Chain."
Led by Therma-Tru Vice President Jerry Oleshansky, Stock Building Supply Director of RMI Dave Corna and Case Design/Remodeling President Bruce Case, the discussion revealed suppliers and manufacturers' increased interest in everything from co-op advertising to special delivery services to dedicated sales reps for remodeling contractors.
When you get right down to it, we're all in this together. After what I witnessed yesterday, my advice to you is to get on the phone with your suppliers and find out what they're willing to do for you. The supply chain, after all, begins with you.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 630/288-8057.