WBS December Market Update

Dec 2, 2015

Wisconsin Building Supply
December 2015

Check out a top design project, view pricing trends, and see what we’re doing to increase efficiency at WBS.

Modern meets classic in this WBS design

When WBS Onalaska kitchen and bath design specialist Liz Granum got started on this gorgeous country home with panoramic views, she knew the success of her design would depend on how well she listened to the homeowners. They were looking for a rustic yet elegant design that would fit the area’s natural landscape, but they also wanted to incorporate traditional elements. To achieve the look in the home’s kitchen, she combined stunning stonework with traditional raised panel full overlay cherry cabinetry and “comet” granite countertops. “The traditional elegance of this home is breathtaking,” said Granum. “It is a timeless design that will never get old.”

2015 Cost of Housing Report

A product to save money and time

In an effort to stay current on industry trends and bring our customers the best service in Wisconsin, WBS is investigating the purchase of a computer-aided saw that will pre-cut plumbing, electrical, and HVAC holes in I-joists. This technology has the opportunity to increase the ease of installation for subcontractors and eliminate costly errors.

Members of the WBS team attended the Building Component Manufacturers Conference in Milwaukee on Oct. 22, where they researched the purchase of a saw that could improve the building process as we know it.

The process of pre-cutting holes for plumbing, electrical, and HVAC in I-joists isn’t completely new, but it’s recently started gaining popularity in other areas of the country, and WBS aims to stay ahead of customer demands. The saw would allow WBS to pre-cut I-joists based on the house or building plans, which would save money and time during the actual building process.

When a builder leaves the cutting of holes in I-joists up to the utility subcontractors, there is always a risk of error that could result in higher material costs and a loss of valuable time. And because of the decrease in skilled laborers in the field, these errors have an even greater chance of occurring. Holes are frequently cut in the wrong location, are too close together, or are too large, all of which can undermine the stability and strength of the I-joist. This service, when provided by WBS, would eliminate those possibilities.

We always want to know what our customers are thinking, so we welcome your feedback. Are you interested in pre-cut I-joists? Let us know your thoughts by emailing or calling your sales representative!

Appleton yard redesign a success

In an effort to improve efficiency for customers and employees alike, WBS team members at the Appleton location put together a plan for and carried out a yard redesign earlier this year. The redesign, which was a complete team effort with input from any employee who wanted to share ideas, has already proven to have been beneficial in a number of ways.

When Appleton WBS general manager Kevin King saw a presentation while in Las Vegas at a conference on a yard redesign that happened on the East Coast in 2014, he was immediately inspired and knew the Appleton yard needed to implement a similar project.

So King, along with team members Matt Bartman, Craig Reed, and Jeff Sell, came up with a yard redesign solution that offers fuel savings, lessens wear and tear on equipment, improves labor efficiency in the yard, and improves product storage practices. The process was a team effort called a Kaizen Event, which is a continuous improvement process used for the purpose of solving a complex business issue. One of the main ideas behind the process is that any and all employees who have an idea for how to improve the issue are encouraged to speak up and give input, which is exactly what happened in Appleton.

“It wasn’t mandated from management or the president,” said Craig Reid, WBS Appleton’s load builder. “It was actually a team effort with people that actually work in the industry and know what they’re doing.”

The main goals of the redesign were to reduce yard travel time by 40 percent, reduce the yard’s footprint by 30 percent, and to incorporate the use of signage and route markers to make the yard safer and easier to navigate for customers and employees. These goals, King said, have allowed the Appleton WBS to provide faster load building and, in turn, faster customer service. The redesign has also made servicing walk-in customers easier and has provided more consistent service for WBS customers.

Since the completion of the redesign, team members have noted a great improvement with movement throughout the yard and a reduction in fuel use with forklifts. They’ve also noticed that the new layout has made it easier to locate product quickly.

Because of the success at the Appleton location, other WBS yards are implementing their own yard redesign process. Reach out to your WBS sales representative to learn more about the upcoming changes at your local yard.