As the new calendar year begins midwinter, we are all looking for signs of spring. Not specifically the season welcomed with tulips and robins, but rather the advent of an economic recovery. The signs that trigger hopefulness will be a bit more difficult to recognize than the equally welcome arrival of warmer weather, but just like in the erratic early spring months, there might be a few more surprise snowfalls before summer truly sets in.
Our hunt for spring began last year, when we kept tabs on the state of business on the SCN website and in the magazine. Over the course of those most trying months, I spoke to several integrators and consultants who were already seeing shoots of green, and more who thought they could sense a thaw months before 2009 ended.
The resilience of the commercial AV integration industry has been something to behold in recent months. Even among those who had to make painful cuts, the difficult moves were part of a long-term strategy for endurance.
This is, after all, an industry that operates in the long-term, even if years of planning and waiting suddenly end with the launch of a project that needs to be completed in two weeks. But maybe the core strength of this business is specifically that ability to remain in a holding pattern indefinitely and then immediately gather the resources to respond to a client’s urgent need.
Coordination from the top level down to the tiniest detail on a project is what enables these leaps into action. Perhaps while the industry gathers momentum, it is a good idea to take that notion one step further and extend the concept of coordination into fully wrought integration.
Some would say the end goal is simply to “make it work”—whether they’re talking about design, installation, or the manufacture of a product. There’s certainly truth to that maxim, but long-term business growth comes with a customer’s happiness, which leads to loyalty and referrals. Happiness stems from coordination, which affects speed of delivery, the meeting of expectations, service response, and the ultimate task of making a system work.
More than a few readers have seen how a lack of coordination on one piece of equipment can have an impact on an entire project. It all comes down to coordination on all levels of manufacturing and integration, no matter what the economic climate. Watching for signs of new life is essential, but our readers know the real survival tactic is to always be ready for a sudden surge.