Over the last eight years, LP and Wausau Supply Company have cultivated a strong working relationship. With similar values, work processes and industry experience, they are ahead of the curve when it comes to demonstrating how two companies can work together to deliver high quality and unique products to the marketplace.
LP and Wausau Supply first forged a product distribution relationship for the upper Midwest region of the United States in 2006. The motivation behind their union came as a result of multiple requests from end users who were frequently asking for new features and new products.
“Wausau has always been a higher end specialty distributor,” said Ben Skoog, director of business marketing at LP Building Products. “While they do distribute some commodities, their core is in specialty categories like exterior millwork, interior millwork, decking, siding and pro channel building products where high service and high value are requirements. Wausau is not your typical distributor.”
After LP manufactures the primed material substrate, Wausau then adds value in a variety of ways such as premium prefinishing and remanufacturing into items like one-piece corners and accent shakes. Additionally, Wausau provides advanced packaging and service programs to support their lumberyard customers. This combination of products and services sets them apart in the marketplace.
“Wausau is unique in that they go out into the market to try to understand the retail environment as well as builder and remodeler needs,” said Skoog. “And because of that, they came up with the value-added remanufacturing that is an excellent complement to the SmartSide line.”
“We’re more of a job shop, a remanufacturer, if you will. So LP has taught us a lot about the science of manufacturing and the prudence of taking it slow, helping us get our quality initiatives further along in the process. They’ve been able to lend their talents and pass on the lessons they’ve learned and vice versa.” -Jody Maier, Chief Operating Officer Wausau Supply Company
Even though its history with LP goes back only a few years, Wausau’s story started in 1947, long before the company joined forces with LP as a distributor. In the 1990s, Wausau developed a new painting process known as Diamond KoteTM, an innovative scratch-resistant finish that is specifically designed for Wausau Siding Systems, most of which are built on LP® SmartSide® products.
“Not a lot of folks at that time were finishing exterior claddings. Most of that work was done in the field,” said Jody Maier, chief operating officer at Wausau Supply Company. “And because we strive to provide a better value for contractors and homeowners, we wanted to create a process that would provide a finish similar in quality to an automotive finish, thereby enhancing a product’s survivability in the elements.”
It was right around 2000 when Wausau officially began finishing exterior siding. Today, the company stocks inventory in 29 colors with additional custom color options, utilizes an exclusive application process and intelligent packaging design, and offers a 30-year limited warranty.
It is a combination of these things as well as Wausau’s extensive knowledge of the industry that allows the company to stand out from the competition and be a truly unique contributor to the LP SmartSide product line.
“What I love about this relationship is that we’re all very clear on who does what,” said Skoog. “We leverage each other’s strengths by focusing on our individual core competencies and avoiding overlap. LP focuses on manufacturing a superior substrate, while Wausau provides the value- added features, service and packaging that will appeal the most to both contractor and homeowner, all in one fell swoop.”
Wausau and LP also offer each other different perspectives on the industry.
“We’re more of a job shop, a remanufacturer, if you will. So LP has taught us a lot about the science of manufacturing and the prudence of taking it slow, helping us get our quality initiatives further along in the process. They’ve been able to lend their talents and pass on the lessons they’ve learned and vice versa,” said Maier.
“Plus, LP’s internal structure is a lot like ours. They value honesty, integrity, hard work, diligence and we’re very much the same way, which is paramount to maintaining a long- term relationship. It’s important to align yourself with organizations that are built like you, that way you can survive the change in people. And even though we’re only eight years in, we know our relationship with LP was built to last,” continued Maier.