News from the Construction Suppliers Association

December 27, 2017

Taking Stock of 2017: Did You Do All You Could to Make It Good?

Jim MoodyBy Jim Moody, CAE
CSA President

So here we are at the end of the year. Most people use this week to reflect on the year and think about successes, failures, opportunities taken, and opportunities lost. I hope for you the net result is positive.

It’s easy to think about the year in financial terms. Most of us have an idea if we are ending the year in the red or the black. We know if sales volume and bottom line are better than last year. But there are so many other ways to evaluate your year. They are “softer” and harder to quantify, but they are no less meaningful.

Some of the things we talk about with our roundtables and other peer groups include:

  • Have you made progress on your plan? I know many of you don’t have a plan. You need one, or else you are going to end next year in pretty much the same place you are ending this one. Only you can figure out what your plan should be, but everyone ought to start the year with some goals and a plan for achieving those goals. Fix an area where you are not efficient. Improve your on-time/in-full percentage. Increase turns.

Eagle Users Group Now Forming

Eagle LogoWe’ve had a request from an Eagle user to create a users group for this platform. CSA is already hosting Spruce and BisTrack users group.

CSA’s users groups meet twice a year and typically feature information from a third-party expert, the company, and sharing of tips between users. It’s an interactive format that facilitates relationships that can be helpful throughout the year.

If you have interest in joining this group, please contact Katie Bodiford at [email protected]

Stop Fixating on the 'Artificial' in AI Because It's an Evolution of Our Own Intelligence

By Chad Steelberg, Guest Writer

Like many people, I feel apprehension whenever I hear or read the phrase “artificial intelligence."

The expression often evokes images of the Terminator coming to exterminate people -- or take their jobs. For me, it’s the “artificial” aspect that bestows the phrase with the character of something cold, alien and unsympathetic to human concerns and frailties.

However, firsthand experience has taught me there's nothing artificial about intelligence. AI is real. It’s just part of a continuum of intelligence that’s now coming to machines. In practice, AI is an extension of human intelligence that’s guided by people.

Far from spelling your doom, AI is more likely to save your life.


How to Screen Potential Employees

By Gerald Hanks

The process of screening potential employees is a critical component in the creation of a successful organization. The ability to have the best talent in the right places can be as crucial to a company's profitability as its selection of capital investments.

Job applications and resumes form the starting points for the screening process, but human resources professionals take extra steps to ensure that the talent the company hires has the skills, experience and attitude to get the job done.

Background Checks
A major part of the employee screening process involves conducting background checks on prospective employees.


The Most Important Question to Answer When Planning for 2018

By Shawn Murphy, CEO, WorqIQ
Writing for

As a business owner, it's easy to allow fire drills to rule your day. If you're like the multitude of leaders I work with, the day begins with a plan. Unfortunately, your plans are quickly derailed by endless meetings, emails, other people's demands of you and your time, and unexpected needs of others. Plans then go unattended, strategic efforts linger in a limbo-state and forget about time to focus on your needs. The demands of a business can run the day, and that does not mean you are strategic.

The benefit of a milestone like a year ending, is it signals reflection and a restart to our "best-laid plans." While your business may already be planning its objectives and key results for the coming new year, it's not too late to answer this one crucial question for 2018 ...


5 Books Every Business Owner Should Read

By Ron Gibori, Creative Director, Idea Booth
Writing for

I recently published an article on Inc. saying that people who read are going to be a mile ahead of those that do not. I received a lot of feedback from aspiring entrepreneurs asking where they should begin. After I gave myself some time to think, I listed what I believe are the five best books for beginners or veterans.

Constant learning is key. Finding ways to carve out enough space in the day to dedicate to reading is the difference between a hobbyist and a successful entrepreneur. 

When studying the habits of successful people, I continuously came across one thing they all had in common: they all are well-read. Successful entrepreneurs are at their best when it comes to time management and squeezing in a meaningful amount of reading time in their schedule.

Not long ago, I visited the office of a very successful client. While there I looked over the books on his shelf, and the ones on the desk (the most recently read), and made a mental note of them. If I knew nothing else of the man, the books he read illustrated a portrait of his personality so clear no LinkedIn profile could outdo it. My respect for him increased, simply based on the books he read.

The right book has to have that balance of facts and stories, inspiration and actions, and somehow leave you changed afterward.

Here is a list of five of the best books that I recommend to every entrepreneur ...



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