If you specify metal roofing projects, bid on them, or otherwise work within the metal roofing industry, you’ll know that many documents and files are required to complete the project. This includes panel profile engineering and testing reports, warranty forms, product information, and beyond.
Sometimes, this information can be difficult to find on a manufacturer’s website, especially if the documents are not organized.
What if we told you that Sheffield Metals has an easy, user-friendly, and convenient solution to this problem? Introducing the SMI Tech Stick!
For over 25 years, Sheffield Metals International has been dedicated to distributing premium metal coil and flat stock specified in architectural projects. Our full-time Technical and Architectural Departments have worked with hundreds of industry professionals over the years — and they’ve made sure the SMI Tech Stick is a useful and powerful tool that can make bidding and specifying an easier, more seamless process.
So, what is the Tech Stick? What are some scenarios where the Tech Stick can help you with bid submittals, spec creation, etc.? Let’s discuss.
What is the SMI Tech Stick?
At its core, the SMI Tech Stick is a flash drive that contains Sheffield Metals’ entire library of technical resources, including:
- Demo video showing how to navigate the SMI Tech Stick
- Product submittal information
- Panel profile cutsheets
- Installation details
- Manufacturer’s specifications
- Engineering reports and testing documents (uplift, air infiltration, water submersion,
- Weathertight, paint, and substrate warranty forms and documents
- Color cards and paint system information
- Calculators for coil, trim, and more
- Accessory drawings and information (clip drawings, fastener information, etc.)
- Technical bulletins
- Rollforming machine brochures and documents
- LEED information
SMI Tech Stick Background
To understand the importance of the SMI Tech Stick, let’s go through some background on why Sheffield Metals created this tool.
The primary intention for developing the original Tech Stick was to have one easily accessible place that contained all of the documentation that a contractor needs to complete their submittals for architecturally specified projects.
In the past, contractors bidding on projects had to rely heavily on the profile supplier or manufacturer to get the required documents that an architectural spec called for. This led to a lot of back and forth that would be confusing, time-consuming, and simply not conducive to sometimes tight submittal deadlines.
Our Technical Department took on this issue and set out to create a digital drive that was easy for users to access, navigate, and transport between job sites, offices, and travel. That’s how the SMI Tech Stick that exists today came into existence.
Who Can Use the SMI Tech Stick?
Over time, the SMI Tech Stick has transformed into a tool that benefits anyone in the metal roofing industry, including architects, contractors, regional manufacturers or panel suppliers, and a few miscellaneous users. Let’s go into each of these audiences and how they can use the SMI Tech Stick to assist in their projects.
Contractors (Mostly Commercial and Some Residential)
As we mentioned, the most significant users of the SMI Tech Stick are commercial contractors who are composing project submittals and bidding on architectural specifications, as they often need to include a variety of documents for a submittal. While each submittal is unique, many require engineering reports, guide specifications, cutsheets, and more to be included.
For a quick example, let’s say a contractor sees that the spec they’re bidding on is calling for an engineered standing seam metal roofing system that:
- Is a mechanically seamed panel profile
- Has a Galvalume (steel) substrate
- Can be installed over plywood
- Has a UL 580 & 1897 uplift test rating
All the contractor needs to do is go onto the Tech Stick Starting Page (see photo above) and then navigate through the mechanically seamed profile options to see if Sheffield Metals has a panel that meets these requirements. Since we do, the contractor can click on the profile and then select the correct metal substrate and roof deck material. Once those selections are made, a folder will open with all of the engineering documents available, so the contractor can easily select the ones they need and then attach them to their submittal.
Or, perhaps you’re a contractor who is at a consultation with a potential customer and they’re asking for a sample copy of a paint warranty document. Simply bring the flash drive with you, plug it into a USB port (USB accessing capabilities are also available for mobile devices), and go to the Paint & Substrate Warranties folder. There, where you can view the warranty documents and/or email them to the prospect.
Architects, Spec Writers, & Design Professionals
In the past, many architectural firms had binders filled with technical information from individual manufacturers, which they referenced when building a specification. More and more firms are now switching to digital — and therefore more user-friendly — versions of these “binders,” which is essentially what the Tech Stick functions as.
Plus, we often hear that the SMI Tech Stick is utilized during the research stage of a design.
For example, let’s say an architect in Austin, Texas, knows they need to specify a panel profile with uplift resistance testing, air infiltration testing, and a Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) approval. They can access the SMI Tech Stick to verify that profiles that have all of these elements even exist (they do!). Plus, they can directly use any of the information on the Tech Stick to name Sheffield Metals as the requested product manufacturer.
Regional Manufacturers / Panel Suppliers
While a regional manufacturing business likely won’t use the SMI Tech Stick as much as a contractor or architect, it’s still a valuable tool that can help their business. Again, it puts all relevant information about a panel profile in one easy-to-reference place.
An example of when a regional panel manufacturer might use the Tech Stick is if they’re helping one of their contracting customers with a bid/submittal. Or, if they need to reference one of the panel profile cutsheets on the fly while running panels, all of that is possible using the SMI Tech Stick.
Additional Miscellaneous Users
We’ve come across other individuals in the industry who benefit from having a Tech Stick of their own, including:
- Building engineers and consultants (especially for access to engineering reports)
- General contractors
- Wholesale or retailers
- Some select home and building owners
Recap of Why You Should Have an SMI Tech Stick
So, should you get an SMI Tech Stick of your own? Here’s a recap of the top reasons to have one:
#1: It makes architectural metal roofing product submittals and bidding easier for the contractor and the architect. All you need to do is copy and paste any of the documents, PDFs, or files that you need into your submittals, communications (emails), etc.
#2: It’s the size of a standard flash drive, so it’s easy to transport and carry around. You can seamlessly keep the drive in your backpack, in your work vehicle, in/on your desk, on your computer, and beyond — all without it taking up too much space. Plus, everything on the flash drive is digital and won’t take up storage space on any of your devices.
#3: It will save you time. The Tech Stick can help to reduce the following:
- Time spent requesting and waiting for the documents you need to complete your submittal(s). Remember that we have dedicated Technical and Architectural Departments that will help with any questions or requests you have as soon as possible. Still, we understand that many project submittals have a short time window to complete.
- Time spent on the website searching for information or documents, which are often in different areas of the website.
#4: New versions come out as significant changes are made to any of the information on the Tech Stick. For example, Sheffield Metals recently came out with a new version (version 3) in the second half of 2022, as we added recent testing reports, updated cut sheets and guide/manuspecs, added FBC approvals, and more. The newest flash drive is gray (it used to be blue).
#5: It’s 100% free. There is no fee to get an SMI Tech Stick sent to you. All you need to do is submit the form on the Tech Stick page, and then a member of the Account Management team in your region will send you one.
Final Thoughts on the SMI Tech Stick
Now that you’ve learned the full capabilities of the SMI Tech Stick, it might be just the tool your business needs to work more efficiently and achieve the next level of project success.
To recap, the SMI Tech Stick is:
- A flash drive consisting of all the documents you need for a project submittal for an architectural specification. Plus, it’s a digital library of documents that won’t take up storage space.
- Easy to navigate, especially when using the Tech Stick Starting Page interface.
- Quicker and more efficient than asking for or requesting documents from an individual or team.
- A great tool that is useful for many different roles, including contractors, architects, panel manufacturers, wholesalers, spec writers, and builders.
At Sheffield Metals, we want to make working with, specifying, and bidding with our products as easy as possible, which is exactly why the SMI Tech Stick was developed. Plus, we value transparency in all that we do, and that’s why everything you could need for a metal roofing project is on the Tech Stick.
Would you or your business benefit from having an SMI Tech Stick? Learn more and request your own today!