You might think World of Concrete is the highlight of the year for TCP’s editors, but here’s a little secret: summer is really the time we look forward to the most. Sure, we like barbecues and hanging out at Lake Michigan, but it’s also our favorite time of the year at the magazine because we get to hear directly from you.
The annual TCP Survey is underway and we’re getting some great insights into what producers across North America are doing, and planning to do. Although we spend the year tracking trends, covering exciting projects, and reporting new developments, the summer survey is our chance to capture the pulse of the industry.
Last year’s producer survey revealed most producers had come through the worst of the recession and were poised to take advantage of rebounding construction markets. But we wondered, exactly how have producers positioned themselves for the economic recovery?
Roughly half of this year’s survey respondents tell us they have invested in new equipment, expanded their customer base, and of course cut expenses. “We’ve improved equipment and facilities and are concentrating on our niche,” says Matt Metheny, vice president of Metheny Concrete Products in Oklahoma City. Some say they’re implementing new technology and others are expanding product lines (especially precasters and block producers).
As always, some survey results are unpredictable. We’ve been surprised at the number of producers who have said they have not made significant strategic changes over the past 12-24 months.
Industry economists are predicting 2015 will be the best year for concrete production in five years, with gains in residential, commercial, and public construction. But how well is the concrete industry prepared to meet this pent-up demand? How quickly can producers recapture their pre-recession success – especially if they’re not doing things differently than they’ve always done?
The TCP Survey is still open. Tell us what you think.