Market Education

Since I was 14 years old, I just wanted to own my own business. In 1986, I was selling lumber in Texas when the economy collapsed. With the market tanking, they laid off half of the employees. I was fortunate, I was pushed back down to retail sales but I wanted to get back into outside sales. The company’s truss plant began to struggle and I was asked to sell trusses. I said yes, despite not knowing what a truss was, and I have never looked back from there. 

Although the majority of component manufacturers (CMs) have a website according to our website poll, the question remains: Is your website up-to-date and attractive enough to be effective? We all know there are countless reasons to have a website but just having a website, especially an outdated one, is no longer enough in this day and age to be effective and could in fact detract from your business. To this point, a website redesign could help tap into new business opportunities and be a huge return on investment for your company. 

In May of 2018, Door Creek Church broke ground on their new DeForest Campus just minutes north of Madison, Wisconsin. The church was given ten acres by a local developer in what amounts to a suburb of Madison on the edge of urban reach mixed with strong agricultural ties. Originally, a metal building was designed for the church but costs redirected the church’s architect to wood frame construction.

Rick Parrino will tell you that one of the most important business decisions a component manufacturer (CM) can make is to foster new and beneficial relationships with building and fire officials, builders, elected officials, and all other trades. Doing so gives CMs a new lens through which to view the manufacturing and installation of the trusses, wall panels, and engineered products they sell.

This article will briefly explore how these calls can impact a CM’s bottom line and a few ways in which CMs can proactively work with tradespeople to avoid such issues. Truss repairs can very easily turn a profitable job into a money losing project. The cost incurred with this type of repair goes beyond the price of the materials. Costs for determining the issue for repair, designing the repair, and implementing a repair solution shouldn’t get lost in your accounting books. 

On the surface, your company is selling its people and their expertise in using highly specialized software and equipment to design and manufacture a series of structural components. Additionally, you’re selling your ability to assemble those components as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible and deliver them to the jobsite exactly when the customer needs them.

As an active member of SBCA, the greatest value I receive is through the relationships I’ve formed at Open Quarterly Meetings (OQMs) over the last few years. Sure, SBCA does a lot of great things with the magazine and the services and products they offer, but the ability to pick up the phone and call a fellow component manufacturer (CM) from somewhere outside of my shipping area is the most powerful tool SBCA has put in my toolbox.  

Students at the New Jersey Institute of Technology received a gift recently from the Mid-Atlantic Structural Building Components Association, a chapter of SBCA. Their instructor, Frank Golon Ph.D., P.E., reached out to Keith Myers (Woodhaven Lumber) requesting BCSI handbooks as part of his class curriculum.