2015: Concrete Polishing Supercompetitor or Obsolete?

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A new year is upon us and with it brings a fresh start, new challenges and a world of opportunities. What new ideas or technology will you bring to your business? What heights will you reach this year? The world is yours for the taking.

Before we begin our quest for success, we should reflect on the year that has been and what we have learned. Understanding our past and learning from our experiences is one of the keys to improving our future.

The concrete polishing industry, like all industries, has key elements that business owners should focus on to improve their competitiveness. Asking yourself these 3 simple questions will help you determine how much you did to elevate your business, over your competitors, in the last year.

i) What have I done to improve my knowledge of my products and services, my customers and my market?

ii) What have I done to ensure that I’m using the best diamond tools for my applications and concrete type?

iii) What have I done to ensure that I’m building the best organization or team?

The first and most important element of running a business is understanding your business. If you don’t understand your business, your decisions will be based on personal opinion and guesswork rather than solid information. Basing your decisions on good information will yield better results and higher profitability so it’s in your best interest to acquire as much information as you can.

Understanding your business is more than the ability to install an acceptable floor, it’s knowing your market and delivering the best solutions to that market in an efficient and profitable manner without compromising quality or professionalism. Accomplishing this goal will require the right training, research and experience.

The second element and one of the least understood parts of the industry, is diamond tooling. When it comes to diamond tooling things are not always as they appear and this complexity is one of the reasons it’s not well understood. What do I mean by that?

You can buy a metal bond tool for $25/pcs thinking it will save you money over one costing $60/pcs but more likely than not that $25 tool will hurt your profitability compared to the $60 tool. That is assuming that you’re buying a high quality $60 tool and not an overpriced OEM tool.

It’s seems counterintuitive that a more expensive product could make you more profitable, the best way to explain this is to use another example in life where it pays to invest in the right equipment or tools. A product that clearly illustrates this example is an auto scrubber. Buying an auto scrubber is a substantially bigger investment than buying a mop but over the long term you will save a fortune in labor and it will boost your productivity exponentially. Good diamond tools will have a similar impact, lowering your labor cost while increasing productivity with the potential additional benefit of improving quality. This is particularly relevant for challenging grinds like hard or highly abrasive concrete, coating removal, or multi stage processes.

I recommend doing your own research and comparing your current tooling to a reputable, high performance brand to see where you stand. If you’re not aware of a good brand that you could use as a benchmark, I would certainly recommend using a Rossi Abrasives tool, you can find more information at grindandpolish.com

I will be writing a future article on diamond tool analysis that will go through the process from A to Z.

Last but definitely not least, I want to discuss building a strong organization or team. I like to relate business to sports, you need to have all the right players if you want to win. Think about the Miami Heat trying to win the NBA title without Lebron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh? It’s not going to happen. The same goes for your business, if you want to win you need good players on your team. There are only two ways to get good players, acquire them as the Miami Heat did, or develop them. Realistically you will need to develop most of your employees and that’s probably a good thing. When you have the opportunity to train someone from scratch, you can train them properly so they don’t have bad habits or problematic ways of doing things. There are many organizations that can help you with training; Rossi Abrasives supports the Concrete Polishing Association of America which offers a range of programs. More information can be found here, concretepolishingassociation.com

Once your employees understand the basics it’s all about job experience, there is no substitute for experience so be patient and don’t panic when they make mistakes. It takes about 2 years of development for an employee to reach entry level competence. That is assuming he or she is receiving the proper support and training.

I can’t overstate the importance of continually investing to educate and develop your team, like investing in good diamond tools, it’s one of the best decisions you’ll ever make. Here’s a great article, that is also relevant to our industry, discussing why it’s important to not only train and equip your employees but to compensate them fairly. http://www.strategy-business.com/blog/The-False-Dichotomy-of-Wages-vs-Profits?gko=d5b7c

Thanks for taking the time to read this blog and remember, you reap what you sow.

Carpe Diem,

Mark Rossi

President, Rossi Abrasives