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.
While LP® SmartSide® Trim & Siding is easier to install, builders may feel pressured to skip a second look at installation guidelines in order to get a project complete on time or makeup for labor shortages. However, whether you’re a new or longtime LP SmartSide Trim & Siding user, taking the time to be attentive to proper installation will ensure you are upholding your product warranty and avoiding potential issues down the road.Continue Reading
Performance is written into everything we do at LP Building Solutions. This goes beyond the way our team members do their jobs, how we manufacture our products and the drive to deliver building solutions. We also watch, measure and steward our environmental performance. Sustainable sourcing and energy efficiency are just two ways we act as stewards of our environmental performance, but recently Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) and LP signed a landmark conservation agreement to support 6.2 million acres in Manitoba’s boreal forest. This agreement is the culmination of an 18-year partnership between the two organizations that was jointly released in January 2020.
The homebuilding industry is always changing, thanks to housing trends, shifts in buyer preferences, new technologies and even finance options. We recently sat down with Brad Southern, CEO of LP Building Solutions, and Mike Sims, LP’s SVP of Marketing and Business Development, to discuss the latest industry developments.
Many construction companies and remodelers have been sorely challenged by the shortage of skilled laborers. As more companies struggle to find good workers and juggle projects, many are thirsty for strategies that promise to trim time.