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.
Both general contractors and building product dealers have a lot on the line when they use subs, so it’s important to understand subcontractor liability. It’s common for both dealers and Big Box retailers to hire a subcontractor to install materials like hardwood flooring purchased at their stores. GCs likewise have relationships with many trade subcontractors.Continue Reading
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