Being President Has Its Perks

President's Message

Being President Has Its Perks

Having a voice and a united group of CMs
to drive the industry forward is one of the primary
reasons for belonging to our trade association.

Most of the time, this position means participating in a lot of early morning and late night phone calls with other component manufacturers (CMs), brainstorming solutions to the challenges facing our industry. Important work, but not always exciting. However, sometimes I get early access to new information. For instance, recently I became one of the first people to view the framing comparison data from the BCMC Build project we completed last fall in Milwaukee. While a full roll out of Framing the American Dream (FAD) marketing materials will happen over the next few weeks and months, I have to say I am very impressed with the data and its potential benefit to CMs.

Each one of our markets is different in the degree to which components are used. I’ve spoken with CMs who regularly sell floor trusses to builders but have a hard time selling roof trusses in a stick-frame market. I also know CMs who regularly build floor trusses, wall panels and roof trusses for the same project. Here in Montana, it’s primarily a roof truss market, although there’s the occasional floor truss job. After reviewing the data, I’m strongly considering increasing our offerings to include wall panels and potentially floor panels, but not before we have a series of conversations with our customers to see how willing they’ll be to adopt such products. The FAD data will certainly be part of that conversation.

The beauty of this FAD project is the ability we have to apply the data to all markets. The current plan is to create an online calculator you can use, regardless of what products you’re selling. You’ll be able to enter local factors like board footage costs, labor costs and your own component package pricing  to see an accurate comparison of components to sticks for the various framing segments of a potential project.

Maybe you’re not selling floor trusses because they don’t offer an economic benefit to the builder. Soon you’ll know for sure. You might not be selling roof trusses because builders don’t understand the added costs of waste or just how many man hours it takes to stick frame today’s rooflines. Soon you’ll be able to set the record straight. FAD will benefit CMs and plate suppliers on the local, regional and national levels. It will be a very powerful tool that will allow CMs to increase market share well into the future.

SBCA wants to create marketing tools to help CMs in local markets, rather than build its brand nationally. While the association could pool its money like the avocado or pistachio growers do and invest in marketing campaigns that include Super Bowl ads, we feel it’s best for CMs to be the stars of the shows in their own local markets. While this strategy has been SBCA policy for quite some time, I welcome debate on the subject at upcoming OQMs in the Marketing Committee meeting and CM Roundtable discussions. Your input might be the next big idea SBCA needs to further the use of components. After all, having a voice and a united group of CMs to drive the industry forward is one of the primary reasons for belonging to our trade association.

The SBCA Executive Committee and Board have made the difficult decision of funding special projects like BCMC Build and FAD outside of the normal operating budget, which is the best way to make sure projects like these “stand on their own feet.” As a result, fundraising efforts support these activities, dues stay low and we can continue to maintain the many ongoing processes of the association.

Our fundraising for the 2015 BCMC Build and FAD project allowed us to build two homes and collect a lot of data, but didn’t yield enough for a comprehensive marketing campaign too. I encourage CMs and TPI member plate suppliers to consider contributing to the FAD project so we can best promote the value CMs offer to the construction process day in and day out. I look forward to the progress we will make with FAD, and I am excited to hear how you use it in your local market.