The New “Business as Usual”: COVID-19 and the Role the Building Industry Has to Play

Doug Vickerson Offers His Perspective on the Role of the Building Product Industry in a Climate of Economic and Social Disruption

“[…] digital business is the new ‘business as usual’”

Cultivate Care. Commit.


As we collectively experience the global coronavirus situation, we have many new questions to deal with.

  • How should a business operate in this new environment?
  • What should I be doing to help my family, my company, my customers, and my industry?
  • How do we venture forward?

To help me navigate these questions, I am constantly reminded of one of our core values at Renoworks: “Cultivate Care. Commit.”

This core value reflects our commitment to first and foremost operate with care and consideration of our staff. This “people-first” focus has never steered me wrong.

After all, it is our people who bring with them the ability to adapt to changing circumstances and, in turn, drive our company to continue to deliver exceptional value to customers, investors, and the industry at large.

And it is with this guiding principle that I share this message with you.

The Building Construction Industry Plays a Critical Role

There is no right way to begin addressing the situation surrounding the Coronavirus outbreak. Many are discussing its impact on the industry. However, it is also important that we talk about the impact of the industry during and after Coronavirus.

Throughout history, construction has been synonymous with strength, stability, and perseverance.

So, in times like these, we have the opportunity (and the responsibility) to carry these characteristics with a tone of optimism for others, including our teams, to follow.

In fact, we’ve done so before in the past.

After major recessions and wars, the building industry fueled growth and economic activity. Skylines filled with workers crafting structures – symbolizing that a future of possibilities laid ahead. Construction projects helped lead the way of curing uncertainty, brought a sign of comfort and fueled economic growth.

I believe that the industry will once again play this role after the crisis has ended.

The Digital Transformation is Here

In the near-term, we must adopt a new characteristic: adaptation.

The industry needs to adapt to this new environment and show all our customers that “digital business” is the new “business as usual”.

“[…] digital business is the new ‘business as usual’”

This means contractors and builders need to use remote, touchless, sales processes and tools to continue their businesses. Building industry players need to shift operational processes toward cost-saving automation, and their sales and marketing functions toward deeper customer-centric solutions such as CRM and digital channels.

And most importantly, team-members need to feel supported, capable, and comfortable with working remotely and under social-distancing conditions.

This is the new reality we live in.

It is no secret that the slow rate of adoption of digital has hindered our industry even before this crisis. However, from all my recent conversations and research, I am now seeing our industry hasten toward a profound digital transformation faster than ever before.

Many of our clients see the challenge in front of them and have shifted, or are in the process of shifting, to remote selling, enhanced customer support, and customer-centric experiences.

By embracing “digital business” as a response to this crisis, we as an industry are preparing ourselves not just for the short-term, but for the for the long-term as well.

This leads to the next part of my message.

The Economic Recovery Will Come with a Tidal Wave of Digital Transformation

It is not a matter of how, but a matter of when.

By embarking on this digital transformation, the industry is traversing steadily through the turbulence, and not ‘wading in the water’.

To quote a colleague of mine, the industry needs to use this time as a “catalyst for change” and a time for “leaning forward as opposed to [staggering] on our heels.”

Whether this crisis is short or long-lived is anyone’s guess. But through our preparations, once this crisis has ended, we will be better-positioned to deliver vital services in a much more capable manner.

It is why I am Optimistic of our Future Beyond the Crisis

I am convinced that as an industry we will again see better times.

This virus will continue to stress-test our health and economic systems. But it will also test our resolve. If we learned anything from our past, it is that this industry, guided by our conviction, will have its time on stage once more, in a big way.

In the meantime, we can all think bigger, care bigger, and work toward transforming our businesses into the new “digital business as usual.” For Renoworks (and I think for many others in the industry), the path to get there is by cultivating and caring for our people. They will show us the way.

On behalf of the entire Renoworks team, we send our thoughts, prayers, and hopes in wishing you safety for family and friends and the best of health.

Doug Vickerson
CEO of Renoworks Software Inc.

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