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A time for reinvention: Investing now in new equipment gives competitive edge in tough market

There is no doubt that times are tough. The economic forecast seems bleak, yet every time you turn on the television you hear more news about "hope" and "upticks." John D. Rockefeller said, "The secret of success is to do the common things uncommonly well," and as business owners, this means finding ways to reinvent your business while creating a competitive advantage. Although this can take great thought and planning, if done properly, your company will be well positioned to increase profitability during and after we exit this recession.

Gaining Traction

Your costs are increasing, and you are giving back some of your profits to help secure projects. There are limited ways to save money. Right now is the best time to update your market strategy and invest in equipment that will bring increased profitability to your bottom line and give you greater control of your project.

Think about it logically. Metal roofing has had double-digit market growth over the past 10 years. It continues to gain market share from competitive products such as asphalt and membrane roof systems; it is made of recycled materials; and it is recyclable at the end of its useful life. But maybe there is more that can be done to gain a competitive advantage. Buy a rollformer! Rollforming equipment today is safe, easy to use and, when working with the supplier, gives you all the tools you would receive from a current metal roofing supplier. You can change from a snap lock to a standing seam and then back again in a fraction of the time as compared to older equipment. This allows you to offer more products, thereby diversifying your product mix. Owning a rollformer gives you the ability to manufacture locally-a huge advantage when fuel costs and other factors are taken into consideration.


Lease to Own

With suppliers lining up credit sources on your behalf, you can lease equipment to fit your needs. For example, a $65,000 machine can be leased to own for about $1,600 a month without any money out of pocket; plus, you'll be able to take advantage of the small business benefit from a Section 179 tax deduction.

New Market Opportunity

Owning a rollformer also gives you the ability to run panels and quickly adhere thin film photovoltaic solar laminates. This provides greater flexibility than purchasing prefab panels with adhered thin film applied with less risk for damage. Simply run and clean the panels and laminate the films on the project site prior to installing the metal roof system. Owning a rollformer allows you to take control of your project, giving you greater flexibility while increasing profitability on your project.

The Right Supplier

The suppliers that support the portable manufacturing of metal roof panels make it simple for rollformer owners to have the tools necessary to compete with traditional manufacturers of metal roof systems. These tools include complete engineered metal roof panel assemblies, building product approvals, wind uplift tests, fire ratings, hail ratings, weather-tight warranty programs, and architectural support and details. There are also quality assurance programs to ensure proper manufacturing and compliance, as well as long-term traceability of the installed materials.


Owners of these machines have figured out that there is a huge cost savings and benefit when aligned with the right partner who has all the tools to support them. When you own a machine, your responsibility goes beyond just purchasing coil. Work with suppliers that understand the portable rollforming metal roofing market and can provide the support for everything from machines to installation when using your new investment. Ensuring you have the right supplier partnership takes most of the associated manufacturing and material risks off of you while ensuring you are supplying a quality product that can be traced from the mill to the project site.

Owning rollforming equipment makes more sense today than ever as suppliers have learned how to align partnerships and give you the ability to compete and win with little out-of-pocket costs. It is a win-win for your business, especially as metal roof systems continue to gain market share.

Brian Partyka is president of Ivyland, Pa.-based Drexel Metals LLC; a board member of the Metal Construction Association, Glenview, Ill.; and chairs the MCA sustainability council. For more information, go to