With or without COVID-19 restrictions, many fabricators spend a lot of time alone. Aside from interactions with clients and employees, fabrication work itself is often performed solo, either onboard or in the shop.
Given the solitary nature of this profession, finding ways to make industry connections is crucial. Otherwise, where do you get your design ideas? How do you learn about new tools, materials and techniques that can help increase your efficiency, feed your creativity and boost your bottom line? Where do you find solutions to process and productivity problems? How the heck do you find and keep quality employees?
Fabricators tell me they rely on IFAI magazines, publication websites and industry events such as Expo, the MFA Conference, webinars and regional workshops, “to talk with people facing the same problems that I have.”
In June, IFAI launched a new way to have these discussions with like-minded people. CONNECT (www.ifai.com/connect), is an online community that facilitates discussions of issues facing businesses across the specialty fabrics industry. The questions at the top of this editorial are examples of some of the early discussion topics on the site. I encourage you to check it out and take part in these discussions—they are a rich vein to mine for insights and expertise.
As you page through this issue of Marine Fabricator, notice how many voices from the marine community are included—all offering suggestions and information to help elevate your projects and improve your business. Connections are key to everyone’s success, and I urge you to make them in as many ways as possible: at Expo, the MFA conference in January and online through CONNECT. The truth of that old African proverb still resonates: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.”