Editor’s note: The following consists of a conversation between Coffee Shops' COO Karen Edwards and Metal Roof Specialties Owner Jerry Iselin. You can listen to the conversation or read the transcript below.
Karen Edwards: Hello, everyone. This is Karen Edwards with MetalCoffeeShop, and I am being joined today by Jerry Iselin, one of our MetalCoffeeShop influencers. Jerry, welcome.
Jerry Iselin: Thank you. Good morning.
Karen Edwards: It's so nice to see you and be kicking off a new year with some new topics for MetalCoffeeShop. January's topic is all about training. We just want to talk about how are people getting trained to install metal building products, whether that's roofing, siding, frame buildings? Share a little bit of information with us about that.
Jerry Iselin: Well, it's a interesting topic. One of the biggest issues for our entire industry is training. One of the reasons why metal-related products are different than so many is because there are so many different options and manufacturers, and it's not common. Meaning a gable trim, for instance, is not necessarily the same for everybody. Every manufacturer makes them different. So in traditional roofing products, it doesn't really matter what manufacturer of shingle you use or whether what type of shape you use or what type of concrete tile you may use, the system for installing is pretty much the same.
That's not the case with metal. Every manufacturer's products being different, generally have a different installation method. Some manufacturers, let's use that same part, maybe a gable, might have five pieces to put it together. Some may have one, and some have of course, then two or three or four. So what is the difference and how do you do each one differently? It is a big issue for our industry because it is so hard to do generic training that applies to all.
Most training from my experience comes from the manufacturer. If the installer at that company is working with a particular manufacturer, that's great. Then they can generally get some type of training from them that will help them on their product line.
There are other training programs, certainly at seminars. Recently, Metal Time did some. Most of the roofing trade shows that are going on have those. Same with the metal building industry. That's even more specific. Generally, people are well-trained with that metal building manufacturer, but not necessarily will that ... A lot of that actually does transfer over easier to other manufacturers than it does in just generic metal roofing, metal siding.
So looking to the manufacturer is probably the best part. There's generic training through trade shows, things of that nature. But my true belief is the best way is within your own organization if you have people that have certain skill levels. It is well worth the investment to have that person spend time generally on the job working with people to help them understand. It doesn't take an awful long time of really focused time on a certain area to get that person to get it.
Don't expect them to necessarily pick it up just by watching other people work. What I've seen happen in cases like that is, generally the head guy then is doing all the work and the other people are standing watching because they haven't really been trained how to do it.
Back again, manufacturer of the product is the best way to truly get your training for that specific product. In-house if you have somebody well-skilled to teach your crews on how to do that, and then certainly trade shows do a better job of generics.
Karen Edwards: Do you find that contractors will tend to gravitate toward one manufacturer over another maybe just for that fact because they know it better and are trained in that?
Jerry Iselin: Absolutely. In fact, I think that could be the bigger driver than maybe access. In a lot of cases, the installer or company will move toward a certain manufacturer because they're local, because they have a relationship, because they service their area. That may be a big driver, too. But if you have maybe some multiple choices and you find that one does a better job with installation, guiding, or helping or training, that may move you toward them.
In our case, we represent a lot of different companies. We sell a lot of different companies's products. Certain ones we will move toward because they have better help within not only installation manuals, but maybe technical assistance as well. So yeah, that does have an impact.
Karen Edwards: That's good feedback then for our manufacturers?
Jerry Iselin: Well, I think so. Yeah. We would love to see all of them do more as they can. Some do more and some do less, and it's easy for me to pick them apart and push people a certain way because that information is clearer and easier to understand.
The key to, if you're going to get a plug to the manufacturers, is make it user-friendly. Sometimes we have people generating details and installations based on what they may see in a particular manual or an industry standard, but that may not be the best thing because it's so complex to install and ends up failing anyway. So focusing on user-friendliness in installation of these product, I think is always, helps us get a better result.
Karen Edwards: Excellent. Well, Jerry, as always, thank you for sharing your insight and your experience with our visitors on MetalCoffeeShop. We certainly appreciate you, and we'll get together again next month for a new topic.
Jerry Iselin: Thanks a lot. Good to hear from you. Take care.
Karen Edwards: Thanks, Jerry. Bye-bye.
Jerry Iselin: Bye.
Jerry Iselin is the president of Metal Roof Specialties. See his full bio here.
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