Created: Friday, 20 May 2016 12:00

Last week, we talked about why you should keep an eye on industry trends. As always, here’s our “how to” to follow up with that post.

Build and maintain relationships. Relationships are key in any industry, but we think that’s especially the case in ours. Building and maintaining your relationships allows you to always be “in the know” about the state of the industry.

You’ll be the first to know what’s happening – whether it’s a change in regulations or a change in economy.

Spend some time talking to your boss, your colleagues, and your clients. People love to talk and generally, given the right timing, people will give you their perspective on any topic.

Call your local rep. As we mentioned a few weeks earlier, manufacturer’s representatives are great at keeping a finger on the pulse of the industry. They need to know what’s going on, what’s new, what’s going out of favor, and more, in order to be successful. They know what “everyone” is using in the latest projects and manufacturers have reps all over North America. Talk to a few different reps and you’ll have a good idea of what’s going on in your neck of the woods. If you would like a place to start, our Contact page has a list of our representatives who also represent other manufacturers.

Read trade magazines. Magazines like EC&M or tED have articles that talk about trends and new ideas, in addition to their more technical articles. For example, this article in tED talks about GE’s acquisition of a component of an engineering and construction firm. As Robert Sorbet mentioned in our Q&A a few weeks ago, acquisitions and mergers are now the new normal. This may have implications for your company and your role.

Read your local paper. If your role or your company is very geographically-specific, say, if your work is centralized within downtown Springfield, MA, you should read The Republican. Reading this paper will give you topics for making small talk with your customers, but more importantly, reading your local paper regularly gives you insight on what may be coming or is already here in your community.

Set a Google Alert. You can select particular keywords through your Google account and Google will detect changes in news sites, blogs, etc., and send you a notification to your email inbox. This article goes into more detail on how you can use Google Alerts.

Read/follow engineering blogs. We would be remiss if we didn’t mention this one! A quick Google search comes up with multiple blogs written by engineers. It takes a bit of reading to find out which blog suits you best.’s online community covers a broad range of topics while The Safety Zone by C&EN is far more specific.

We hope this was helpful to you as you keep your eye on an ever-changing industry.