Specialty Fabrics Review February 2020 - 6

BRIEFINGS

FORETHOUGHT

Making more than money

J
Galynn Nordstrom
senior editor

anuary always brings two things forcibly to mind: first, the NFL
playoffs, and second, an almost viral need to find lists of reasons to
make business or economic predictions for the coming year. (This
is the February issue, I know, but it's January 14 as I write this.) The
Minnesota Vikings ... washed out of the playoffs again last weekend in San
Francisco. Since 1961, the Vikings have been in the playoffs 30 times, and
have made it to the Super Bowl four times. They lost four times. Coupled
with the frequent necessity of shoveling heavy snow, Minnesotans really
can't handle the stress of another Super Bowl. For us, we can just move
faster to saying "just wait until next year."
The year ahead, of course, is an election year. Tuesday, Nov. 3, also is
the first day of IFAI Expo 2020. I'm not sure what that portends for the
opening of the exhibit hall on Nov. 4; there probably isn't enough snow
in Indianapolis in early November to tempt everyone outside for an
invigorating snowball fight-but everything I've been reading seems to
indicate that the pundits do not anticipate an economic crisis based on
election results.
There are other causes of economic crises, of course, but most of them
we can't do much about, except possibly to shut down the stock markets
when they panic and drag the rest of us into their messes. So, for those
predictions: in 2020, robots will be after our jobs (especially management,
in terms of handling data); 3D printing and biological engineering will

PERSPECTIVE

Innovation management | change management
David Callahan, owner of Granite State Cover & Canvas Inc. in
Plaistow, N.H., jumped from the food industry to the truck tarp
industry in 2007, focusing first on educating himself, and now
on educating customers that product quality and innovation
are more important than a bottom-rung price. Truck tarp
systems have become more regulated and more automated,
and sometimes his team needs to get very creative to put
together exactly what a customer needs. Callahan relies on
the expertise of his staff and also, at times, of his competition,
or people in other industries. "Open your eyes as much as
possible and bring in as big a circle of people you can consult
with as possible," he advises.
If you'd like to nominate a fellow IFAI manufacturer member for coverage in
a future "Perspective" article, please contact Galynn Nordstrom, senior editor,
at gdnordstrom@ifai.com.

6 REVIEW FEBRUARY 2020

Delete the adjectives,
and you'll have the facts.
~Atticus Finch

allow us to make replacement body parts
by 2030; mobile apps will redefine service
industries; social media will undergo a
backlash; newspapers will cease to exist;
the DIY economy will rise in industries
like the media, travel and retail; the role
of educational institutions will emphasize
online learning; China will move up the
value chain; older workers will re-enter the
work force; and existing workers will need
to be retrained in new technologies. Isn't
there a natural connection there?
Technology is a major business and
economic force, but it's not the only
socioeconomic driver in town. And it's
not just older workers that know the
attractions of skilled work. The workforce
issues in our industry can be addressed
with training, public and private, as long
as wages and benefits are commensurate
with the value these employees bring to
a business. Any business owner can learn
how to use social media effectively, handle
mobile payments and adapt the equipment
and materials used to take advantage of
the latest technologies. Perhaps these
unretiring workers can help younger
workers with skills training, and be helped
with mobile technology in turn.
Years ago, I was trying to replace a
doorknob, and finally decided the house
had been built around it. I won't be
teaching anybody how to build fabric
structures when I retire. On the other
hand ... editing is eternal.
Just wait until next year.



Specialty Fabrics Review February 2020

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