As I was saying …

Back to the future

It's been 10 years since The Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress commissioned futurist Atul Dighe to examine what the roofing industry would look like in 20 years, that is, in 2025. Now that we're halfway there, it's a good time to see how the report holds up.

The report's key findings were these:

  • The industry will consolidate at all levels with the role of distribution changing the most profoundly as a result. Larger firms—in all industry segments—will have the advantage of economies of scale; small firms will have the advantage of being nimble; and mid-size firms will find it increasingly difficult to compete.
  • The roofing industry will become more important in terms of energy conservation and other sustainability issues. Rooftop solar applications will offer the industry new and exciting opportunities.
  • Building owners will become more sophisticated and increasingly choose to work with contractors they view as being the most professional and reliable.
  • The workforce will become a big issue with Latinos playing an increasingly large role.

Now, no futurist ever gets it all right, but with all the benefits of hindsight, that ain't bad.

The report didn't foresee, for example, the financial crisis that would occur just a few years after it was issued. Nor did the report talk about the vagaries of the U.S. housing market, but then, few people saw the big collapse that was coming.