Innovation in the Resin Flooring Industry
Lots of people talk about being innovative, but I have noticed a trend in the resin flooring industry when it comes to this particular buzzword. If the trend is right then we should be concerned.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with my take on what's happening in the industry?
So today I was out in the lab and having a play. And really what I was doing was having a look at a product, which was really the innovator product in their space, and that type of technology.
And then comparing it with the next level of developments that have come along to try and move into that space.
And what I realized is the term innovation is used a lot, and everyone wants to be the innovator, and the leader, and the pioneer. But there really only ever is that one innovative product that steps out of the zone gets to a certain limit.
And in most industries, you think about the IT industry, when someone sets a benchmark and brings out a certain level of technology, the next innovation is that level or above in performance criteria, in capability, in size, as an improvement value adding. Then what takes place is the volume of manufacturing increases, and the prices drop.
Now in our industry, the innovation that takes place is with the leader, the pioneer - they've pushed and they've created a certain marketplace. Our innovation, our idea of innovation, is to actually to make it sound as similar as possible, but cheaper.
And the only way you get there when you're starting off is, you're not necessarily going to be cheaper unless you reduce some performance, some criteria, so you end up with a lesser standard.
The next company that comes in and wants to be involved in that same market space, they come in and they're trying to compete again on price. And we end up with this race to the bottom.
And I find it kind of sad because in an industry where there's a lot of very clever chemists, a lot of very innovative people, and I mean that in the genuine sense, innovative is in wanting to change an industry, our mentality is constantly a race to the bottom. We are always trying to make it cheaper. And is that because we don't know how to sell anything else that is of better value, of higher performance?
Do we always have to keep going for the cheaper option? Is that as good as we get? Now, if my approach is how do we reach mainstream? How do we pick up our industry as a whole to mainstream? And I don't think that a race to the bottom on innovation is the way there. I think we have to allow ourselves to step up each time and increment better. Better performance, better characteristics, safer for man and environment, whatever the characteristics are that are adding value to that innovation.
Let's not get in that downward spiral on everything that we do because as an industry, we just won't evolve.
So I'd love to hear your thoughts on that. Is that...How have you experienced innovation in our industry, and what do you see from the market leaders and what takes place after that point when you see the new development? What happens straight after that?
Think back to the technologies that you've witnessed over the years. I think about PU-cements as an example. I think about polyaspartics, I think about urethanes, and in particular I saw a one component, solventless urethanes stepping into that space now.
What about water based epoxies? That's pretty old technology, but what happened from that first innovator to the next one and so forth. So maybe I've got that trend wrong. Maybe I've misunderstood it, but I'd love your thoughts on it, love your feedback, and let's get some dialogue going around that and see what as a collective we actually want to see out of innovation.
So I'm Resin Jack, as always, take care and keep smiling.
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