Megatrends in Gypsum: Can the past predict the future?

Presented at Global Gypsum 2010 by Bob Bruce PhD

Hi. My name is Bob Bruce. I am president and owner of the gypsum consulting company Innogyps, located near Toronto Canada. I am giving a paper at Global Gypsum 2010 in Paris at the end of October on how the Megatrends in society today will impact on the gypsum industry over the next 15 years.

The first time I remember being exposed to the overall concept of “Megatrends” was about 40 years ago with the publication of "Future Shock". This book described the social changes associated with the rapid growth of information and technology change. Since then there have been several books, many with “Megatrends” in the name that have described how the future was going to be affected by many factors. The purpose of this paper is to take five obvious "Megatrends" of today and to describe how the “Gypsum Industry” will likely be affected over the next 15 years.

The Megatrends that will be discussed in this paper are Information, Energy Supply, Sustainability, Demographics/Wealth and Globalization/Power. It is possible to write a book about every one of these topics, so I will not try to cover these topics in detail, only to point out that each of these things are very important today and that they will affect the Gypsum Industry into the future. I will describe some basic points of each topic as a background for the discussion about how this will affect the gypsum industry, specifically how it will impact on markets, customers, products and services, suppliers, costs/profits and the gypsum companies that operate in this industry globally.

The market for gypsum board will continue to grow but with emphasis shifting from North America and Europe to the “rest of the world”. There will be more and more customers; they will be getting bigger and bigger; and they will be demanding more and more from the manufacturer. It will not be sufficient to just supply product, but also performance guarantees and a list of services that will need to be made available instantaneously on demand. Innovations will continue to be important but it will no longer be possible to survive just by developing new ideas in house. To be competitive it will be necessary to watch the horizon with your telescope rather than look for your own solutions by microscope! Manufacturing costs will drop and reasonable profits will be made, with the profitability being more stable as a result of growing market demand and larger companies with longer term perspectives. There will be many new independents that will survive just fine, and there will be global consolidation with even large national companies being prime acquisition targets. Overall this is not a bad picture for the future for the gypsum industry.

This document is available as a 9 page report and a 36 page slide presentation.

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Megatrends in Gypsum

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