Technology has advanced exponentially in the past 30 years. Computers now have the ability to run software that was only seen in science fiction novels. The processing speed, the resolution, the overall inter-webbing of a society. It seems like nothing is impossible… or is it?
The truss and component industries have seen technological leaps and bounds in the past 25 years. We went from calculating and cutting everything by hand, to designing it in a 3-dimensional space and knowing exactly how many pieces of lumber were in a house design before it was built. We now have saws that cut everything for us to the 1/16th of an inch along with laser tables showing us exactly how to lay out our components. These advancements in our industry have made us more efficient, saved us time and money. Like many other areas in our lives, we must keep up with technology or be left behind. It goes the same for your job or career. If you don’t take advantage of technology, someone else will and they will have the jump on you. I feel like this will be the case for our industry. If another plant can design, cut and build it cheaper and more efficiently than you can, because of their upgraded software and saw technology, you will start losing orders to your competition indefinitely.
So there are a couple things going on here. You have an ever advancing technology that is forcing us all to keep up with it or be left behind sooner or later. You also have a society that is infatuated with becoming bigger, faster, and more efficient with no end in sight. Every year we try to out do ourselves from the previous year because it is in our nature to advance forward, never backwards. Are we pushing forward faster than most of us can keep up?
Lets get down to the question of this blog, ” How do we innovate the Component Industry? “. In my opinion, I think we should start looking at house design as a complete system, not individual pieces put together that fit. With energy efficiency becoming a growing issue, we need to start implementing new building methods into our components. You see a handful of companies in the U.S that are doing this but it has been common building practice for people in the UK for a decade or more. You have wall panels in some cases to be almost 20” thick for increased R-value and air-tightness. The United States is so far behind with new building methods that promote higher household efficiency than the rest of the would. I’m sure politics have a major hand in all of this. I also feel like we, as a country, are more greedy and ignorant. Contractors would rather build it cheap and fast to make that money than actually think about the bigger picture and how it will affect people in 20 years when the house starts to fall apart. It’s sad really. People have to start seeing the bigger picture in what and how we do our job in the component industry. We have a major impact on the building process as a whole. To innovate the component industry would mean to innovate the construction industry as well and I’m all for it. It is a new era in building. We all need to do our part though. We all have to do it together. That is the only way it will work.
I would love to hear from people on this. I am a component Designer and I would love to share my knowledge for the greater good…to innovate the industry to a new level. To use components to build a better future of homes We can if we try hard enough.