When it comes to anything new, whether it be state-of-the-art technology or a potential change in industry standard practice, the majority of the population is hesitant to hop on the bandwagon at the start. Statistically, less than 5% of new product or system users are likely to start using that new product or system as soon as it launches, and fewer than 15% of users will likely to start using it after the first initial wave is over.

Human reluctance to give a new product or technology a try before it’s been well-established is natural. “New” means something not familiar, likely uncomfortable and therefore not easy to adopt until a critical mass of users have proven that it either A) works, or B) is clearly an improvement on previous methods.

Driving an automobile scared the horses. CFL bulbs were twisty and funny-looking compared to the familiar incandescent. But that didn’t mean that these innovations weren’t worth the change.

There is a comfort in “we’ve always done it this way” — the comfort of experience. Even if a technique or a product or a revolutionary technology is clearly superior, it often takes an innovative thinker to try it. Looking for a better approach, an improved process, and a clear money-saver is only half of the battle. Actually taking the plunge when that method is found is the other half. No one can realize projected savings from an untried idea; nonetheless, for every entrepreneur willing to take a risk, there are many more waiting to see the proof.

While hesitation may have its benefits, the “early adopters” get a huge head start on their reluctant competitors. They start saving big money first, they gain larger market share faster, and the others, playing catch up, have to regain lost customers and scramble to follow the new market leaders. In the case of InterCoat® ChemGuard, early mills applying it to lightweight coatings of zinc do not have to offer passivation. Their service center customers and direct buyers of galvanized products get outstanding protection and improved secondary processing characteristics at a lower price.

Ultimately, it’s up to each individual company to decide the best course of action for them. They could leave it up to a more entrepreneurial and profit-driven competitor to get the early benefits of the latest anti-rust technology. They could stay where they’re comfortable, knowing their firm limits and only acting within them. As environmental considerations, profit motivation, and standards are being revised, and as customer demand requires change, industry standards will change too. In a changing environment, it’s important for companies to stay ahead of the game.