Components: A Solution to Building Pain Points

Industry News,

Originally Published by: HBS Dealer — March 18, 2024
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LMC continues to grow its components business, including roof trusses, floor trusses and panels.

Just over five years ago, senior leadership at the lumber and building materials cooperative created a division dedicated to providing purchase opportunities of trusses and wall panels for LBM yards.

The department soon evolved into two branches: Components and B2B. 

The components division has two main functions: the first being advocacy for truss manufacturers by providing support for their daily operational functions. The second major goal is increasing the visibility and sales of their products. This is done through education and building partnerships with a large customer base, dealer yards. Many of the partnerships are through the business-to-business department (B2B) where LMC staff connects LMC component manufacturers with LMC lumberyards. 

According to Rachel Hoops, manager of LMC Components Division as well as the B2B sale department; these partnerships generate top and bottom-line growth for the members of the cooperative. Ultimately this program follows the true spirit of this cooperative, building business together.  

Hoops has been with LMC for over seven years with most of her tenure in the components industry and developing the prominent and rapidly growing program. About 80 of LMC’s member companies currently manufacture trusses.

“LMC has put time and resources into ensuring that our cooperative members, whether a component manufacturer or LBM yard, have access to programs that will support the growth of this important innovation prefabricated product,” Hoops says. “This division’s sales continue to multiply each year and we’re nowhere near capacity.”

Hoops notes that, between labor struggles, industry innovation, and the current housing shortage, components will rise in importance now and in the years to come

From Left to Right: Dave Tocci, Issam Fakhoury, Brian Kerhoff, and Rachel Hoops.

LMC looks to be at the forefront of solutions and provides members with education and purchase programs to support their growing businesses. 

Education regarding components took center stage at the 2024 LMC Annual held earlier this month in Houston.

A panel of LMC’s own component manufacturing members delivered insight to prodealer members on best practices for selling components (truss and wall panels) and how to effectively communicate with your truss provider to create strong synergies for their sales teams. 

Dave Tocci, director of operations at Easton, Pennsylvania-baed Lehigh Structural Components brought over 30 years of expertise in the components manufacturing industry to the panel discussion.

Tocci said his company “keeps the competitor out of the picture” and sells directly to lumberyards including many LMC members. 

“We offer the whole package and prevent the competition from getting some of your business,” Tocci explained. This is pivotal to LMC members given that major LBM players continue to consolidate the industry with the purchase of manufacturing facilities. The same players have also ramped up their efforts in opening greenfield manufacturing operations across the nation.

The panel was moderated by Molly Butz, manager of the Structural Building Components Association based in Irving, Texas. 

Weighing the benefits of components, Butz noted that they allow builders to move much faster in regard to residential construction. 

“When it comes to stick faming versus components, components are much faster in the field,” Butz said. 

Additionally, builders can save on time, funding, and labor, while preventing major headaches. 

“Finding skilled installers can be difficult especially when trying to find stick framers these days,” Butz said while pointing out that components are manufactured in a closed environment using software that eliminates complications.

The end result is a product that utilizes as much as 25% less wood and 30 times less waste.

Issam Fakhoury, co-owner of Apex Structural Innovation in Romulus, Michigan, said components provide a “huge value to lumberyards."

“It provides an efficient package to the end-user,” Fakhoury said. “We all work with really complicated plans. Components allow the dealer to provide the best design for a package.”

Dealers who decide to utilize components can ensure their business is truly a one-stop-shop for builder customers. Butz also noted that on a national basis, 67% of new residential construction includes roof trusses.

Purchasing from a member component manufacturer eliminates other problems, such as code issues on the job site.

Brian Kerkhoff, president of KA Components in Lafayette, Indiana and Columbus, Ohio, is one of the initial members of LMC’s B2B program. Kerkhoff notes that component solutions designers develop can be signed and sealed by a professional engineer.

“The seal provides building owners, builders, banks, insurance companies, and government officials assurance the component solution meets code, safety standards, and acceptable construction standards,” Kerkhoff said.

“It allows you to cut through the red tape and makes things go much smoother,” Farkhoury added. 

An additional benefit is cost savings when purchasing from a fellow LMC manufacturing member. 

Tocci told dealers in attendance that since his company does not have any outside salespeople, "We are going to come at you with a lower price due to lower overhead. To help you be competitive with your competition we need you to be our salespeople. We are your partner as well as your designer and producer.”