How Product Design and Training Are Mitigating the Lack of Skilled Labor
The on-going shortage of skilled labor in the construction field is forcing manufacturers to find creative ways to deal with it, particularly in product design and training. First, the products themselves need to be intuitive and designed to eliminate unnecessary mistakes. Sub-flooring products offer a good example of how to design for easy installation.
Secondly, training materials industry-wide are getting more visual and concise. Helpful infographics and installation videos are replacing text-only installation instructions.
“I would challenge all manufacturers to greatly expand their use of video and start YouTube channels so that construction newcomers can watch a video rather than getting bogged down reading installation instructions,” says Shawn Van Dyke, a leading construction industry coach, author and speaker. “If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a million.”
Van Dyke feels that brilliantly designed products and training materials are only part of the solution to the nagging labor shortage problem. "It's no secret that the value of a traditional college education is not what it used to be, but parents keep telling their kids that it's the only path to a high-paying career. These students and their families are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, and about 40 percent of college students go to school for six years and don't get even get a degree. Meanwhile, artificial intelligence is wiping out a lot of white-collar jobs in medicine, finance and law. Many young people could have lucrative careers as carpenters and electricians, but their parents still aren't encouraging that path."
LP, however, is active in supporting the early development of students studying design and construction. LP supports the University of Tennessee Knoxville’s annual studio design challenge in conjunction with the Nashville Civic Design Center. Additionally, LP supported the Fredericksburg Independent School District in its pursuit of the 2017 Best in American Living™ Award by donating LP® SmartSide® Trim & Siding and offering training. The FISD high school students built the award-winning home with the help of the Hill Country Builders Association.
There are only two ways to boost your bottom line: increase revenue and cut costs. In this blog, we'll explore innovative ways for builders to cut costs in order to increase homebuilder profit margins - and we'll examine revenue enhancement in a future post.Continue Reading
According to the latest American Community Survey from the U.S. Census Bureau, about 4 million people now work in residential construction (both single-family and multifamily) - down from the 5 million who were employed just before the Great Recession. Although the workforce has shrunk by 20 percent nationwide, some parts of the country are experiencing less pain than others. Similarly, light commercial construction has been reportedly back on the rise post-Recession, with IBISWorld reporting that the recovery started just before 2014 and continuing steadily through 2019 (source).
It's frustrating when factors outside of your control cause you delays or unexpected expenses during a project. Those factors could be weather delays, insufficient staffing, breakdowns in cash flow and unreliable product availability. LP devotes significant resources each year to ensure that its product availability is second to none. Because even the most innovative building solution is useless to customers unless they know that it's available when they really need it.
It's a silly name, but a "butt joint" is an application technique where two pieces of material are "butted" up against each other. It is the simplest joint to make, and a butt joint can be either end to end or end to face. Depending on the width of the wall, butt joints will occur where two pieces of lap siding come together, creating a vertical seam. LP® SmartSide® lap siding products are available in 16' lengths, and can help reduce the amount of seams where a butt joint would normally occur when using shorter pieces.