To better serve its customers in areas of order accuracy and delivery predictability, LP has set some of the industry’s most aspirational supply chain goals. Senior leaders meet regularly with experts at Gartner, arguably the nation’s best consulting firm in the realm of supply chain optimization. The aim is to apply best practices in procurement, logistics and working capital across more than $1 billion of addressable spend.
LP has made major investments in SAP supply chain technology, including SAP’s Advanced Planning Optimization (APO) and Integrated Business Planning (IBP) tools.
“As we roll out new technology tools and processes, one of our main jobs is to communicate to other departments why these initiatives are so important,” says Will Jackson, LP’s Sales & Operations Planning Manager for the siding business. “Over the past few years, in addition to implementing new tools, we have spent a lot of time focusing on structure, developing our people and strengthening our understanding of supply chain concepts as an organization in order to ensure that our go-forward supply chain strategy is capable of supporting future growth.”
“Optimizing the supply chain in our industry presents some real challenges,” says Allan Burk, LP’s OSB/EWP Sales & Operations Planning Manager. “For example, we ship over 1,500 rail cars and trucks of OSB products each week. With commodity products, there’s very little time between when an order is finalized and when it’s expected to ship. The challenge is to fill these orders on time – in spec, in full – and not disappoint our customers. These SAP tools and streamlined processes are helping us do that.”
LP’s supply chain strategy has the clearly defined goal of meeting both customer needs and loading the mills with production mix requirements that support another key operational initiative: improving Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE).
“Before the trucks or rail cars show up, we need to confidently know that our mills will have the product ready on that day,” adds Burk. “If something happens at the mill and it’s not ready, the whole system breaks.”
Twenty years ago, most colleges didn’t offer specialized degrees in supply chain management. Now there are many top universities with excellent programs, including Penn State, Arizona State and the University of Tennessee Knoxville. “Three people on my team received degrees in supply chain management from the University of Tennessee – and they’ve added some real-world experience since then,” says Jackson.
Shipping large orders of LP® SmartSide® siding or LP Legacy® sub-flooring is much more complicated than shipping a book through Amazon. But LP’s goal is to one day reach Amazon’s level of supply chain precision. “Imagine how great it will be when we can say ‘We’ll ship you this product and you’ll get it on Thursday,’” says Burk. “That is our aspiration.”
According to the latest American Community Survey from the U.S. Census Bureau, about 4 million people now work in residential construction (both single-family and multifamily) – down from the 5 million who were employed just before the Great Recession. Although the workforce has shrunk by 20 percent nationwide, some parts of the country are experiencing less pain than others. Similarly, light commercial construction has been reportedly back on the rise post-Recession, with IBISWorld reporting that the recovery started just before 2014 and continuing steadily through 2019 (source).Continue Reading
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.
It’s a silly name, but a “butt joint” is an application technique where two pieces of material are “butted” up against each other. It is the simplest joint to make, and a butt joint can be either end to end or end to face. Depending on the width of the wall, butt joints will occur where two pieces of lap siding come together, creating a vertical seam. LP® SmartSide® lap siding products are available in 16’ lengths, and can help reduce the amount of seams where a butt joint would normally occur when using shorter pieces.
For many years, construction pros have relied on experience and gut instinct more than on data, but that’s rapidly changing. Many banks, investment groups and insurance companies now need a construction data analysis to help identify potential risks before okaying a construction deal. And in the field, builders need easy access to actionable information – both at the lot level and company-wide – to help boost quality, control costs and manage trade partners.