The Future of Housing and Metal Products

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By Paul Deffenbaugh

The U.S. housing market has been through the worst recession in the history of housing. In fact, 2011 will probably be marked up as the worst year during that period. While the previous years' demonstrated the meaning of "bubble," it was last year's anemic performance that took the prize for futility.

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METALCON and the Hall of Fame

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By Paul Deffenbaugh

On October 9, the metal construction industry will gather at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill., for METALCON International 2012. For architects, contractors, building owners and suppliers interested in the metal construction industry, this is the most important gathering of the year.

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On the Upside

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By Paul Deffenbaugh

Since 2008, the goal of every business in the construction industry has been to survive. We've all made the hard choices forced by reduced revenues. Shrink the budget. Reduce workforce. Shutter locations. Identify new sources of capital. For those that moved aggressively to get their business models in alignment with the new reality, now seems to be a time to breathe just a bit easier.

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Strategic Dynamics and Driving Change

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By Paul Deffenbaugh

With the recent high-profile ouster of University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan, there has been a lot of discussion of how corporate tactics work. If you're unfamiliar with the story, Sullivan was asked to resign rather than be fired by the Board of Visitors because-as they stated later-they felt she was not driving change in the university quickly enough. In particular, the board was concerned the public university was failing to keep up with the new demands and opportunity of online learning.

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Metal in a Rising Tide

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By Paul Deffenbaugh

Where is the hottest residential market in country right now? Phoenix, if you can believe it. Phoenix was may not have been the epicenter of the housing industry collapse, but was right on the edge. Today the market is making a strong comeback. Why?

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The Real Value Chain

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By Paul Deffenbaugh

Our standards of customer satisfaction are not being set by our competitors or ourselves. They're being established by companies such as Disney, Fed-Ex and Mercedes Benz. The experiences our clients have with these and similar companies establish a deeper understanding and expectation for customer service. 

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A Life’s Work

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By Paul Deffenbaugh

All of us dream of leading meaningful lives. To give our time here a purpose. For those of us in the construction industry, there is a unique testament to our life's work in the form of the buildings we design, construct, supply materials for or own.

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Foundations of Strength: Lessons from a Home Builder (1)

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By Paul Deffenbaugh

A strong building is constructed on the foundation of a company's culture. The design is important, of course, as is the precision of the engineering and the quality of the products. But if the company constructing the building has a flawed culture, the building will be flawed. Why?

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Blossoming with Renewed Life

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By Paul Deffenbaugh

For years, Modern Trade Communications has published Metal Home Digest to help home builders, remodelers and architects understand the techniques, opportunities and values of the use of metal in home building and remodeling. The characteristics of metal-its durability, adaptability and design presence-all suit the residential environment well.

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Engagement = Education

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By Paul Deffenbaugh

It's a cynical world out there and getting marketing messages through to an audience that takes a jaundiced eye to any hint of self-promotion can backfire. We are bombarded daily with marketing messages. You can't sit in an airport lounge, pump gas or stand in a checkout line at the grocery store without having some message of "buy, buy, buy" flash at you.

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The Drive to Compete on Quality

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By Paul Deffenbaugh

When I talk to contractors in the metal construction industry, I always ask, "How do you compete against your quality competition?" I find it's a good way to get them to articulate the best aspects of their companies, rather than just the mundane.

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TBL for Success

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By Paul Deffenbaugh

A friend of mine often observes, "You can't make a green product with a brown company." She applies the admonition equally to products and services, not caring whether the company is a building product manufacturer, commercial contractor or magazine publisher. The point is that companies who claim they make a green product can't truly assert that if the back end of the business is as brown as mud.

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