The title of this should actually be The Problem with Canadian Building Materials Companies. The problem is that they’re just too darn nice.
I think there is something culturally that just makes Canadian’s nice people. I first noticed this years ago when I went to a Maple Leafs hockey game. I was astounded when the Maple Leafs fans applauded the Black Hawks for a great play. You would never see this at an NHL game in the US.
I have found this niceness also extends into business. While I frequently find myself urging US building material manufacturers to slow down and think. I find myself urging Canadian manufacturers to be more aggressive.
A US company will frequently take the smallest change and blow it out of proportion. For example, they will make a small change involving something Green and they will loudly announce how far they have advanced their commitment to Green.
If a Canadian company made a major environmental change, they would probably not tell anyone, as it’s just the right thing to do.
If a US building material manufacturer makes a small product improvement they immediately give it a name and promote it as if it will change the industry. If a Canadian company makes a product improvement, one again, they probably won’t make a big deal about it.
If a US company makes a change in how the customer is serviced, you guessed it; they’re shouting it from the rooftops. The Canadian company once again believes it’s just the right thing to do and don’t see anything to crow about.
Maybe it’s just that Canadian companies believe that actions speak louder than words while US companies lead with words that they may live up to.
In sales, a US company will frequently be very blunt and ask, “What’s it going to take to get your business.”
A Canadian company will tend to see that as rude and will wait until the customer asks for their product.
Are Canadian building material companies bringing a knife to a gunfight?
On the other hand, I see US companies struggling with how to succeed in Canada. I think they see it as a smaller market than it probably is because they struggle to succeed.
I think there is a bigger opportunity for Canadian manufacturers to evolve and grow their US business than it will be for US companies to learn how to do business in Canada.