Three Common Mistakes That Can Sabotage the Battle Against Scarce Labor

By Tom Jaskiewicz
July 25, 2017
FEATURE ARTICLE | Management

With the lack of qualified labor holding a steady place as a top industry concern, time-saving products are increasingly prominent and important. Dealers and installers can especially benefit from products that work with the limited labor they have, while doing the work of the labor they don’t.

Each specialized area of construction has its own list of time-wasters, and exterior doors are no exception. Here are three common mistakes that can sabotage manufacturers’ efforts to help customers combat labor scarcity.

1. Using dated, manually-adjusted components

Many companies are still assembling, selling and installing decades-old products. Is an old-fashioned adjustable sill capable of forming an acceptable seal in perfect install conditions? Sure. But it requires installers to spend time they don’t have creating those perfect conditions. Components that require manual adjustments place installers in a lose/lose situation—they promote an inefficient use of time and/or cause corner-cutting. Either means that quality and performance suffer, and the result is added cost.

2. Relying on products that place unrealistic expectations on the installer

Our industry is facing a shortage not only in the quantity of available laborers, but also in the quality of workers. Many experienced tradesmen have left the industry, and the decades of tribal knowledge and craft tricks were never passed on to the new generation. Time constraints and imperfect site conditions only make the situation worse. Many jobsite alterations require timeconsuming fabrication and necessitate precision and skill.

3. Using solutions that can’t adapt to changing needs and conditions

Beyond installation, houses settle over time and opening conditions change. A door unit may be perfect before leaving your shop, but manufacturers, dealers and installers lose control over that unit the moment the truck leaves the dock. Traditional components cannot adapt without regular inspection or service. Even the best standard deadbolt locking system will lose the battle against warped doors or panels deflecting from wind pressure or exposure to extreme temperatures. And, some multi-point systems will eventually fail because they are designed to work when conditions are near perfect, not as they change over time.

The solution: strive for smarter, not better

A better labor-intensive product is still a labor-intensive product. Your customers are not looking for a new way to waste their time; they need smarter solutions that rely on robust product designs instead of skills and creativity of field installers. Indeed, there are tools that help eliminate unnecessary steps and time-wasters without compromising quality and performance.

Proven time savers can reduce unnecessary pressures placed on builders and allow them to do more with less—a smaller amount of time and hassle, and with fewer laborers. Making an investment into smarter products can result in labor savings and increased productivity. And this can result in a healthier bottom line.

Tom Jaskiewicz is manager of product development for Endura Products.