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Be Intentional When Trying New Products

Michelle Boykin Trying New Products
July 13, 2020 at 6:00 a.m.

RCS Influencer Michelle Boykin says that companies should ask what problem a new product will solve for them.

Being innovative in any industry can be tough.  As you begin a search for a new product or idea, you can sometimes create a domino effect of being attracted to anything bright, shiny, and new.  Being a member of RT3 (Roofing Technology Think Tank) has opened our eyes to new and innovative solutions we otherwise wouldn’t have known about, and had we not been methodical in our approach, we may have been susceptible to this “shiny object” problem.  That’s where prioritizing comes into play. We ask ourselves, “What is our biggest pain point right now, and how can we solve it?”  This has allowed us to focus on new products with intentionality and purpose.

One of the major issues in the roofing industry is and will always be Fall Protection.  Training for this can become boring and monotonous.  So, when we heard of ASSP’s (American Society of Safety Professionals) Virtual Reality Training Program, we knew this would be a perfect product to try.  It solved a pain point in our industry and in our company.  This has paid for itself tremendously as we’ve been able to provide additional training for our employees, we’ve used it as a recruitment tool, and it was essential as a discussion point with OSHA regarding our safety program.

Another major issue in our industry is an aging workforce, and an untrained new generation of roofers.  When we heard Ken Kelly’s presentation on the Microsoft Hololens product, we knew that this would help solve this problem.  We can now take an experienced roofer and put him or her in the office and virtually (through Augmented Reality) place that roofer on many roofs in one day, many more than one could visit physically, through the eyes of the Hololens.  This also allows an inexperienced person to be on a roof and receive additional training while utilizing this technology.  While we have only recently adopted this technology, we are already seeing so many benefits and uses for this product. 

As roofing material manufacturers release new products, we don’t start the conversation with pricing.  Instead, we ask what problem this new product will solve for us.  If it can solve a problem, typically the cost-benefit makes sense to our bottom line.  If not, we may be hesitant to try the new product until we feel we need it. 

New product offerings can be daunting and overwhelming.  But, if you can be intentional in your approach to trying or searching for new products, you can alleviate this headache.  Think of your biggest problem within your company right now.  Then, ask yourself is there a new product or technology you are able to utilize that can help solve the problem.  If you keep this in mind, you can avoid the “shiny new” overwhelm that happens to so many of us. 

Michelle Boykin is the COO and Integrator of Rackley Roofing Company, Inc. See her full bio here.



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