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Industry Trends7 min

A Commitment to Product Availability

A Commitment to Product Availability 

It’s frustrating when factors outside of your control cause you delays or unexpected expenses during a project. Those factors could be weather delays, insufficient staffing, breakdowns in cash flow and unreliable product availability. LP devotes significant resources each year to ensure that its product availability is second to none. Because even the most innovative building solution is useless to customers unless they know that it’s available when they really need it.

Here are some recent milestones:

  • Mill Conversions to Support Demand: Because we anticipate growth in LP® SmartSide® siding sales this year, we recently converted our Dawson Creek, British Columbia mill from OSB production to the exclusive manufacturing of LP SmartSide lap siding. There are now eight LP mills throughout North America that manufacture LP SmartSide solutions.
  • Overall Equipment Effectiveness: Availability at your jobsite starts with our mill efficiency. Our Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) initiatives are dramatically improving productivity, run-time and quality at all our mills. In the first quarter of this year, we improved OEE by almost five percentage points compared to Q1 2018. Our OEE success was the largest single contributor to the $8 million in operational efficiencies generated in Q1 of this year. According to Allan Burk, LP’s OSB/EWP Sales & Operations Planning Manager, “LP is highly focused on improving our OEE. This basically means producing more volume reliably from our existing equipment. While this improves cost performance, it also improves supply chain performance. Our oriented strand board (OSB) mills have about one week of inventory capacity.  This means we need to schedule rail and truck shipments beforewe actually make the product so we can ship it as soon as it is produced. Because we produce multiple SKUs in our OSB mills, we have to be able to confidently predict each SKU we will make 5-7 days in advance as well as the day on which we will produce them so that we can have the correct number of trucks scheduled each day.”
  • Supply Chain Improvements: LP has made major investments in SAP supply chain technology to help ensure order accuracy and delivery predictability. Said Burk, “We have started to implement advanced planning tools within the SAP system that helps automate a lot of the work we used to do manually. For example, we will forecast the demand for each of our products regionally across North America. Advanced Planning and Optimization (APO) will suggest which of our mills should supply this demand at the SKU level so we can overcome supply constraints. Once we have this plan, the information can cascade to our truck and rail logistics partners and our material suppliers so they can anticipate our needs on a monthly basis for the next 24 months.”  
  • Strategic Mill Placement: “To ensure availability of LP® WeatherLogic® Air & Water Barrier, we will begin manufacturing the product in our Clarke County, Alabama mill Winter 2019/2020 in addition to our current production at the Swan Valley, Manitoba mill,” says Casey Smyth, LP Marketing Product Manager for the product line. “With these two mills, we’ll be able to competitively access wide areas of both the U.S. and Canada.”

High-performance solutions don’t end with product design. LP is taking bold steps to ensure that its high performance extends to product availability and accurate, on-time delivery.

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