Welcome to Spring. How’s it feel?
Pretty good for most of us, we’d say. Things are looking up for the building industry: this year, 73 percent of construction firms expect to hire new people to address demand. It’s a hopeful environment, a reassuring one.
And while you should stop and smell the roses, you should also look forward. An upward-trending year is the perfect time to examine your situation and plan for the year ahead. Much like how New Year’s is the perfect time to set a resolution.
And like New Year’s, such plans often fail to bear fruit. Why, and what can you do? In a new article for Builder, Clark Ellis – principal at Continuum Advisory Group – explores that dilemma.
A few weeks ago, between a series of meetings with a homebuilder client, I was asked if I wanted try out their virtual reality prototype, which involved me donning a pair of heavy goggles and clumsily shuffling around within a 10’ x 10’ open space. The open space, of course, was reality. But what I was seeing through the goggles was the living room of one of their best selling house plans. On the horizon was a beautiful, scenic mountain range, which could be easily enjoyed from the fashionable L-shaped couch that I was virtually standing beside. From a stationary position, I could rotate in a 360-degree circle to see the kitchen, covered porch, downstairs bathroom, stairs, and the entrance to the 1st floor master bedroom. From the master bedroom, I could walk around the bed, check out the master bathroom, and even take another look at that mountain range. Perhaps the coolest part of this experience came from the upstairs hallway, where I could approach the banister of the stairs, bend at the waist, and see the downstairs foyer. While not available on this particular day, the ultimate end product will include the option to change everything from the color of the walls to the structural layout of the house. You’ll be able to build your dream home and experience it, just at the small price of wearing a bulky set of goggles.
Amazon is no stranger to stirring things up, and their newest invention is no exception.
Yesterday, I read an article about their first grocery store in Seattle – a pilot for now, but it’s really happening – with no cashiers and no lines. There’s not even a self-checkout: customers are tracked via technology that senses what they take from the shelves. When they’re done, they just walk out. Payment is processed automatically.
We don’t sell groceries, but we can learn from Amazon. Their efforts are an outstanding example of the type of breakthrough thinking we need in the construction industry. Supermarkets have lines, and beeping registers, and the candy next to the conveyor belt. That’s their paradigm. But what is the one thing we all hate most in the supermarket? Standing in that very line.
At Continuum Advisory Group, we call this phenomenon the 4th Quarter Fire Drill. It is a natural consequence of bad habits. Like any bad habits, these can be unlearned and prevented.
On Tuesday, June 28th, Brandon Hart (Senior Consultant) and Clark Ellis (Principal) of Continuum Advisory Group spoke to members of the Greater Orlando Builder Association on one of the industry’s hottest topics: the trade shortage. The repercussions of the recession are still looming, and homebuilders across the country are being forced to consider the impact that constrained trade capacity may have on their long term business planning.