Integration is All About Information

SBCA Magazine,

“Integration is really about putting the right information into the right hands at the right time,” says Ken Kucera, VP installed sales and manufacturing for 84 Lumber. The point all three panelists made during their presentation was that companies that vertically integrate, and take on more aspects of the construction process, benefit from the removal of barriers to the free flow of information throughout a project.

BCMC Session: Benefits of Manufactured Framing Integration
Chris Tagte, Dynamic Construction
Howard Gauger, Carpenter Contractors of America
Ken Kucera, 84 Lumber

“The framer’s skillset is vitally important on every project,” says Chris Tatge, owner of Dynamic Construction. “Because our role is to put the building together, the field labor knows better than anyone else what will go together and what won’t. Tapping into that knowledge can benefit both building designers and component manufacturers (CMs).” To Chris’ point, the rise of turnkey framers like himself is a direct result of the fact the communication between the framer and the CM is sometimes lacking and there is a real opportunity for CMs who seek collaborative relationships with framers to gain their perspective.

Construction jobsite installing wall panels

“To CCA, integration is about being able to move between the 10,0000-foot view to the 100-foot view,” says Howard Gauger, engineering department manager for Carpentry Contractors of America. “The more you can take on, the more information you gain about a project. The more you know, the more valuable you can be to the customer in identifying conflicts, creating cost-effective solutions, and implementing labor-efficient framing packages.” Howard’s point is that as a fully-integrated framing contractor, they are able to provide tangible value to their builder customers by reducing conflicts and delays and reducing cycle times due to how they serve their onsite framing labor.

Ken says that for him the ability to be involved in the pre-construction process is the key to their success. “When you’re able to bring everyone to the table ahead of time to look at issues, resolve them, and put things into your terms, you set up every project for success. That up front work allows you to feed the local onsite labor in a way where they can be very efficient and successful.” The success of the onsite labor feeds, in turn, the success of 84 Lumber.

All three panelists agreed that the term “framer-friendly” structural components is not just a buzz word. It’s about recognizing that a building the onsite framer can put together quickly and efficiently will make everyone else in that supply chain successful. Vertically integrating many of those steps has helped their companies ensure this happens every time through the free-flow of information. For independent CMs and framers, the key is to work together and, to the greatest extent possible, communicate as if they are one entity.