Change Still the Name of the Game

There’s an old adage that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

That may be true in many cases, but it’s far from a fact of life in the kitchen and bath industry, where sweeping change is perhaps the most significant market force impacting both kitchen/bath design professionals and suppliers up and down the distribution chain.

Change, of course, is hardly new to the vibrant, fashion-oriented kitchen and bath industry. It has, in fact, been intrinsically tied to the industry’s very fabric for years, impacting everything from design/product trends and consumer buying patterns to business tools, showroom management and the competitive landscape.

But the type of change impacting today’s evolving industry seems somehow even more profound than ever. And the pace of that change seems, almost impossibly, to be even faster than ever.

That message resounds loud and clear throughout the pages of Kitchen & Bath Design News this month.
For example, in an article aptly entitled “New Design Frontiers”, design authority Ellen Cheever points to a significant shift in cabinet layout that has literally changed the definition of today’s kitchens, mandating that designers rethink everything from accessibility and motion economy to storage and space planning.

Similarly, in her compelling “Consumer Insights” column, industry pundit Leslie Hart points to multiple consumer buying trends and counter-trends, often contradictary, that are simultaneously impacting today’s kitchen and bath industry.

Then there’s the Internet.

In the cleverly titled article “Nothing But ’Net”, KBDN editor Janice Costa details a significant increase in the use of online technology by kitchen and bath professionals, who report that they use the Internet either constantly or several times a day in connection with their jobs, on tasks ranging from e-mail exchanges and marketing to researching products and ordering. Even more interestingly, nearly three-quarters of the dealers and designers surveyed by KBDN say they consider the Internet either “very important” or “somewhat important” to their job, and many note that they plan to increase online use in the future.

All of this points to the inescapable conclusion noted at the outset of this commentary: Fasten your seatbelts, stay alert and get ready for an exhilarating, fast-paced ride. A powerful, relentless, ongoing wave of change continues to shape and reshape the kitchen and bath industry, literally overnight, and right before our very eyes. It’s essential that every one of us monitor it, embrace it, understand it, anticipate it, adapt to it – even enjoy it.

Staying on top of change these days may be a difficult challenge. But it’s essential to business survival, and it’s a major part of what this industry is all about.

Editor’s Note: Speaking of the Internet, it’s no doubt time you visited KBDN’s newly updated Web site, if you haven’t done so already.

Regardless of your status within the industry, www.KitchenBathDesign.com will enable you to stay abreast of industry news and events; view the latest in innovative projects and new products; search hundreds of suppliers via the site’s Online Buyer’s Guide; review feature articles and columns from current and past issues; view videos through KBDN’s cutting-edge Video Network, and lots more.

For information about the site’s editorial features, and to comment on stories online, contact KitchenBathDesign.com editor Barbara Capella Loehr at (631) 963-6204 or barbara.loehr@cygnuspub.com.

The kitchen and bath industry is changing at breakneck speed. Tools like KitchenBathDesign.com, an online extension of KBDN, are exactly what industry professionals need to stay on top of the changes.

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