Editorial Director Paul Deffenbaugh discusses the products that will change our view of home building over the next few years.
Note: Links to the 100 Best New Product Categories for 2008 can be found below.
If you work for a builder today, you are focused on controlling or cutting costs. The person who is probably feeling the most pressure, though, is the purchasing manager. Slashing nickels, dimes and even pennies from building product purchases is essential. At the beginning of the recent downturn, some builders turned to their suppliers and asked for a 10 percent reduction of cost right off the top.
Now we're to the point where the product manufacturers and distributors have nothing left to give. They're facing increased commodity pricing and reduced demand, which is a supply versus demand economic model nightmare. Add in soaring energy costs, and we've got quite a puzzle to solve.
Nonetheless, in the midst of these desperate times, manufacturers are still innovating, making new products that builders and their purchasing managers can potentially use to find those nickels, dimes and pennies of savings.
For the second year, Professional Builder editors have identified the 100 Best New Products that were introduced in the last year. These are the products that will change our view of home building over the next few years.
To make the cut, products met all or most of the following criteria:
The product represents advancement in technology. This is a common area in today's technology-driven world, but real technological advancement — not just enhancement — is rare. When it comes along, that manufacturer will force its competitors to make changes or flounder.
The manufacturer makes a significant improvement to an existing product. Some of the most notable advancements in building products are built on a platform of an existing product, not the creation of a whole new product.
The manufacturer introduces a whole new line. Every editor at Professional Builder receives dozens of e-mails, phone calls and posted mail daily about changes to products and services. Usually, the public relations firms contacting us are trying to create buzz around the most mundane events — a new color for a product that hasn't changed in years; securing distribution in some backwater area where only 7 homes are built annually; or Cousin Doug's promotion to regional sales manager. To determine the 100 Best, we weed through all that distracting information to root out what is truly new and innovative. Introducing a product line is new. Introducing a new stain to an old product line isn't.
The product increases competition. This criterion is my personal favorite. What we're after are products that have instantly become so popular that every competitor out there is moving to get something to market that competes with it. That product is serving the market's needs in ways others aren't.
- Construction Equipment and Tools
- Structural, Insulation and Housewrap
- Paints, Caulks and Sealants
- Millwork and Molding
- Mechanical and Electrical