When you look back to how the relationship between manufacturer and contractor was, say five years ago, there seems to have been a change, and now the contractor carries a lot more responsibility, and as a result, has more influence on a project.
With increased obligation, roofing contractors in particular are having to give more consideration towards health and safety, regulations and also design. Because of this, the industry is now recognising the expertise of the contractor more than ever. This perception of the roofing contractor as an industry expert, allows them to have more of an input on how a project is carried out. This has also strengthened the relationship between manufacturer and contractor, resulting in projects becoming a more collaborative process where expertise is shared. These are the contractors who see the benefits and support that a reputable manufacturer, such as Sika, can provide.
It is key for us as the manufacturer, to build on these relationships by continuing to provide value. We support contractors with specifications for projects, but the process for us doesn’t stop there. We provide training, oversee the workmanship on a project, and give advice and technical support. However, we wouldn’t see the results we do without the right people on board and if the advice, trust and guidance we provide wasn’t reciprocated.
We also understand the importance of acting on feedback that we receive, especially as it helps us to develop as a manufacturer. To gain further insight we run contractor forums where we receive feedback on products, processes and services, which is invaluable to us. For example, from businesses we’ve acquired in Europe, we have been able to evolve new designs and application systems to the UK with the feedback we’ve received from contractors.
With all this in mind, I believe the future relationship between manufacturer and contractor will only strengthen but also change even more as the industry evolves. Something I predict is we will see a big move towards more investment in training and apprenticeships. There’s a real gap in the market for skilled workers in the roofing industry and I think we will see both manufacturers and contractors working together to encourage the next generation to engage with this industry more.
Article published in Total Contractor magazine: July's Big Question