5 Tools Everyone in the Component Design Industry Should be Utilizing
Component design has become ever more complicated since its inception in the ‘60’s. Truss designs were simple, single pitch trusses with flat bottom chords. No hips or valleys or vaulted ceilings. Cut parts have evolved from laying the parts out at the assembly table and cutting them with a skill saw, to computerized design software, automated saws and automated assembly tables themselves. Many an industry has sprung up just to create the software and equipment needed to supply the component manufacturer of today.
When I started to write this article, I made a list of the tools that I thought every component manufacturer should have access to. As I progressed, my list became longer and longer. I finally whittled it down to 5 tools that are a must. Here they are as I see it:
- Quality People: Without the right people in the right positions within your company, you’ll never achieve your production or revenue goals. From someone who answers the phone or carry’s out the trash, to the CEO that makes all the hard decisions, industry knowledgeable people are a priority.
- Software: There are many choices of component design software for computers available today, with all levels of design schemes that do it all, to calculators that can do the “bare bones” designs. MiTek and Alpine are the big players and widely used. Simpson and Eagle are smaller, but may do the job for you. Decide which to use and stick with it.
- Equipment: It is impossible to run that sophisticated design software without the right computers and designers. You can’t use the software output properly without the computerized saws and automated assembly tables in support. Delivery trailers, phone systems, printers; all have to be in place to achieve those afore-mentioned goals.
- Industry Contacts: It really pays to make contact with other truss plants in the area, either through an association or a simple drive by. See what they’re doing different that you might utilize in your own location. They just might help you out in a time of need. Framers who set trusses, carpenters who can build a wall, a Structural Engineer, locally or on call, who can help with repairs or confirmation of your design, a trucking company, a mechanic shop, an electrician, are also good to have on call.
- Back-up Plan: This might just be the most important tool you have. What to do if everything else fails. Your designer(s) all decide to take a week off, who do you call? Your truck driver’s wife is having a baby, who will fill in? Your assembly crews all come down with some mysterious illness, where do you get more laborers to build the trusses and fill those orders? As soon as you say, “That won’t happen to me.”, it’ll happen. BE PREPARED.
These 5 tools are at the top of a longer list, but I feel, if you follow those listed you’ll be covered for any contingency. How many more can you think of?
Richard Gould – Design Administration
Gould Design, Inc.