Looking Back to Look Ahead

Pavement Maintenance & Reconstruction magazine's editor's column.

This issue includes the final installment of our 25th Anniversary Series. Through six articles (and re-visits with seven contractors) we've tried to draw a picture of this industry by focusing on its changes and developments over the years. Some of what we've learned includes:

  • Contractors are always on the lookout for ways to improve their operations and bottom line, whether this means adding new equipment or new lines of service, getting greater control and understanding of job costs, or finding other innovative ways to improve their businesses.
  • Contractors are very good at understanding their market and determining where they fit in and where they want to fit in. While many contractors have diversified over the years, others continue as specialists - and both approaches can work just fine.
  • Professionalism has become more important for contractors. In the big picture that means structured hiring, firing, and training procedures; and better and more image-focused marketing. A by-product is that price (until this current economic crunch) plays a less-important role in customer decision making.
  • Manufacturers of equipment and materials have got your back. Regardless of the services you offer the manufacturers serving that segment are working to provide you with better equipment that enables you to do the job better, quicker, and safer - and that all impacts your bottom line.

So here's hoping the next 25 years is as innovative for manufacturers and as successful for contractors as the last 25 years has been. History says it will be.