Adapt to Survive

Posted on July 2, 2014 by Ewen Dobbie

Some argue that steel detailing in North America is an industry in decline. For years, people have been concerned about the increasing shortage of steel detailers in North America and with the now flattening of the world, the North American steel detailing industry is having to deal with the emergence of foreign competition.

For North American steel detailing companies to survive and thrive, they will need to re-invent themselves. Does this mean we start employing strategies that emphasize efficiency and focus on existing services and markets? Or does it mean we start focusing on entrepreneurial strategies that involve the development of new services and entry into new markets? The experts say both strategies are required. Good business practice is to constantly emphasis efficiency and to make the best use of technology and training. As for new services, most detailers today have become sophisticated users of technology, building and detailing steel and concrete in a virtual world, yet they are not fully marketing their service much beyond steel detailing.

The time is now for the North American detailer to step up and emerge as a significant contributor, and as an essential part of an integrated steel solutions design team. It’s no secret that the steel design and construction industry is in a process of change…changing workflows, integrated software solutions and globalization of steel supply and now also services.

At Dowco, we find ourselves in the centre of this changing paradigm. What today has become a BIM or 3D technological revolution, began in North America in 1995 with the introduction of Tekla’s flagship detailing software Tekla Structures (formerly known as Xsteel), and is now gaining the momentum it deserves.

Working relationships between Owners, General Contractors, Architects, Engineers, Detailers and Fabricators are changing and newer definitions of roles and responsibilities are emerging. Fortunately for detailers, we find ourselves ‘moving up the food chain.’ No longer do we rely solely on fabricators for work, but now find ourselves working with project owners, GC’s and Engineers. So, as a detailing company, we have found ourselves re-inventing not just our tools of the trade over the last 19 year, but also the services we offer and to a much wider audience.

Whether an iconic product, brand, or industry leading company, all must adapt to remain relevant in changing times. There is no question that technological innovations in communication and information delivery will accelerate this change.


Dowco Group - Ewen Dobbie

Business Strategist, Owner, President, CEO, Director, for technology companies serving the design & construction industry.


Dowco Group of Companies