- Roland Scherbel, President of Accent Surfaces, as a panelist at the Utah Stone Summit Fabricator Forum where he responded to questions concerning the countertop industry.
As a featured panelists at the Utah Stone Summit Fabricator Forum this spring, Roland Scherbel, President of Accent Surfaces, had the opportunity to respond to questions from attendees concerning a broad range of current industry topics.
The following is a portion of the transcript including Scherbel’s responses:
What is more profitable – residential or commercial fabrication?
Scherbel: Accent Surfaces was purchased by Fetzer [a large-scale architectural woodworking company] specifically to do commercial work. The risk is much greater. For example, we are doing work for the San Francisco 49ers new stadium in Santa Clara, CA. If my team misses a drawing, we could lose $100,000. That’s not the case in residential work.
What is the biggest challenge for a fabricator today?
Nelson: Cash flow. People want to grow their business, thinking that it will end their cash flow problems, but it isn’t that simple. In reality, Walmart has cash flow problems; the U.S. Government has cash flow problems.
Scherbel: I agree.We are in a growth period now, and it is an important strategy to know when you’re ready to grow. You need to meet your customer needs while also maintaining your reputation. That even comes down to small details, like making sure there is enough parking at your building to handle an increase in customers.
Where are you finding employees?
Nelson: Once you find a good employee, do everything within reason to keep them. A good employee is worth twice as much to you.
Scherbel: Unemployment is going down, so you need to make sure you keep your people happy more than ever.
What about safety during installs? How are you making sure people aren’t cutting corners on the job site?
Scherbel: Jobsite safety is the number one place where we have had OSHA-recorded incidents. Last year, we had a total of eight OSHA-recorded incidents, and six of them came on the jobsite. There were back injuries and even a couple of ACL injuries.
We talk about it, because safety is an awareness issue. Even having the glasses on serves as a reminder to be safe.
How do you identify who your leaders are?
Scherbel: You have to be looking for who your future leaders will be two or three years from today. You need to think of who your lead installers will be. It isn’t based on the time they’ve been there or even on skill. Leadership is a totally different characteristic.
What kind of benefits are you providing for your employees?
Scherbel:We pay for 100% of the employee [health insurance], and they can add family members at their cost. We also offer health screenings. Vacation time is earned over time.
We also do other things, like a quarterly barbecue for the employees. We sponsor an indoor soccer team, which allows the employees to come together outside of work.
To read the entire transcript, click here.