Volume 47, Issue 1 - January/February 2008

On The Cutting Edge
Products, a Person, a Website and Ideas 
Receive Shelter Innovation Awards
by Samantha Carpenter, editor of  Shelter magazine.

Distributors and dealers are always looking for new and innovative products to supply to their customers. Likewise, it’s important for those consumers to know what innovative ideas their suppliers have developed. That’s where the First Annual Shelter Innovation Awards come in. Based on recommendations from readers and additional research by our editorial team, Shelter has awarded ten companies innovation awards for their products. Plus, one individual, one company website and two company-wide ideas received an innovation award as well. So read on to find out who and what the innovators are in today’s supply chain. 

DQ Technologies Keeps You on Track
DQ Technologies in Cedar Park, Texas, offers an Order and Dispatch/Delivery Tracking (ODT) solution for building materials and millwork distribution companies. The ODT solution is compatible with a number of millwork software companies’ packages, including Distributing Management Systems Inc., WoodWare Systems and Computer Associates Inc. 

DQ says its ODT will help millwork distributors maximize on-time, accurate and reliable deliveries, while improving the efficiency and profitability for dispatch operations. 

It takes between two to four weeks to become fully proficient on the ODT system, and the company says most users prefer to rollout processes over time. 

The cost of the ODT solution is dependent on the size of the company (number of locations and number of vehicles) as well as the number of features that are added to the software package. www.dqtech.com

Receive Inner Peace with Quiet
RockQuietRock sheets, manufactured by Quiet Solution in Sunnyvale, Calif., install and finish like standard drywall. Multiple models (510, 525, 527) score and snap, using a deep double-score of the backside, an optional score of the paper side and snapping over a straight edge. Large projects may find it simpler to use an impact saw with a high tooth count carbide blade and vacuum attachment, plus a rotozip for cutouts and corners. 

QuietRock’s retail price is as low as $39.95 per 4-foot by 8-foot sheet for volume purchases. www.quietsolution.com

Therma-Tru Makes Designing a Door Easy
Therma-Tru is being honored for making it easier for its dealers to help customers visualize what an uninstalled door might look like on the front of their homes. Its new Door Designer tool, which is available online at www.thermatru.com/doordesigner, can help dealers answer customer questions like: Will it coordinate with the paint color, how does it complement the architectural style and does it impart a welcoming feel? 

Customers select from home scenes that best resemble their home’s architecture, including Bungalow, Colonial, New American, Modern, Ranch, Country, European, Coastal, Spanish or Victorian. Then, the Door Designer recommends the best Therma-Tru door styles for the home or helps homeowners create a look uniquely their own.  www.thermatru.com

Metal-Free Treated Wood 
Arch Treatment Technologies Inc. of Smyrna, Ga., has introduced Wolmanized® L3 Outdoor® Wood, the first decking product protected by a nonmetallic solution. Until its introduction, the company says there had not been a residential treated wood preserved with carbon-based components.

The treating formulation has low impact throughout its production, distribution and installation, but is very effective as a preservative, according to Tom Kyzer, product manager at Arch Treatment Technologies Inc. L3 Outdoor wood stands up to wood-destroying organisms, and this is backed by a lifetime limited warranty. Specific details are available from the company. This wood is intended for out-of-ground use; most uses for treated wood fall into this category. www.wolmanizedwood.com

Increase Profits
An analysis by Atlanta-based Southface Energy Institute demonstrated that the LP TechShield radiant barrier has a substantial and quantifiable impact on energy costs. While it’s well known that radiant barriers can reduce attic temperatures by 30 degrees, Southface’s analysis demonstrated that LP TechShield roof sheathing can also reduce peak cooling demand by almost 19 percent. The combination of lower attic temperatures and reduced peak cooling demand may make it possible for a builder to reduce HVAC size and increase profit margins. 

LP offers volume rebates through its Builders Advantage Program; builders can receive up to $2,000 in Federal Tax Credit from the Energy Policy Act, and the homeowner may receive up to $500. www.lpcorp.com 

Siamons Says 
Siamons International of Toronto offers Concrobium Mold Control®, a product the company says is proven to eliminate and prevent mold without containing bleach or other harmful chemicals. The patented formula is 100-percent natural and can be used by dealers and distributors to pre-treat materials for mold prevention.

The manufacturer recommends storing the product containers between 39- and 100-degrees Fahrenheit. The average retail price is $10 for a 32 oz. container and $180 for a 5 gallon container. It comes with a full money back guarantee. www.concrobium.com

A Little Southern Flavor: Central Woodwork of Nashville
Central Woodwork is your typical distributor and then some. Not only does the company sell building products through its millwork division, but it also has an appliance arm, called Cenwood Appliance.

The companies operate separately but share an accounting department. But how did a millwork company begin selling appliances? General Electric (GE) asked Central Woodwork if it would like to be the sole builder distributor in the Memphis area back in the 1980s. GE thought Cenwood Appliance could leverage on the builder relationships in the Memphis area and had a good person to run the business.

Cenwood Appliance has had a 15,000 square-foot appliance showroom in Nashville for about a year and a half. It has a lot of high-end products in it, but it’s not exclusively high-end. Some of the products in the showroom include built-in refrigeration systems and one of the early Wolf Subzero kitchens (a showroom within a showroom). Mark Schaeffer, president of Central Woodwork-Nashville, says the business at Cenwood Appliance has grown, despite housing starts being lower. There are also a good number of people in the Nashville area still remodeling.

“We are working to have a higher profile within the public. Many people don’t hire their contractors until they have picked out their appliances.”But they don’t use the showroom only to display their products; the company also puts it to use.

“We’ve probably had five or six events where a restaurant chef conducted the cooking … They generally haven’t been Cenwood events; it’s been other parties utilizing our facility,” Schaeffer says. “We encourage that sort of thing because it’s a non-overt way of advertising. It gets people from a good demographic into our showroom and that’s all we want out of it—the awareness that comes with it.”

Visit Monaco with Fitts
Fitts Industries Inc. in Tuscaloosa, Ala., won this award for its Monaco collection of cast iron stair components. This family of castings is imported from Europe, and company officials say this collection embraces the timeless grace that has adorned Europe for centuries.

Installation suggestions can be found on the company’s website, and the company conditionally guarantees its products to be free from defective material or workmanship, within its control, for one year from the date of shipments. For a full written warranty, please contact the company. The newels within this collection typically retail for $376 and the balustrades usually retail for $68 per piece. 

Fitts offers a 10-percent discount on the purchase of these products if you reference “Shelter magazine” when ordering. www.fitts.com

Stick ’Em Up
Peel & Seal™ is the original self-stick roll roofing developed by MFM Building Products Corp. to put an end to problem applications. Perfect for low slope/low pitch applications, it is an innovative solution for dormers, sunroom additions, “open” porches, storage and agricultural buildings and mobile home roofs. Additionally, it solves waterproofing problems around chimneys, vents, ducts, skylight windows and other irregular features. 

The company says it will be offering its dealers a Spring promotion, which will have savings that can be passed on to their customers. The company also says that Peel & Seal has a shelf life of approximately two years when stored properly. The material should be stored in the original carton, out of direct sunlight, in a dry warehouse. The average selling price is about $.80 per square foot. www.mfmbp.com 

When Two-Faces Makes Sense
Wouldn’t it be nice to stock a trimboard that’s compatible with most siding products? VERSATEX® Trimboards in Leetsdale, Pa., offers a patent-pending Stealth Trim System that features a two-sided trimboard specially designed to do just that. 

The smooth side is designed to resemble clear, painted wood, while the other offers a unique Timber Ridge woodgrain, designed to complement the leading fiber cement siding products. These products can be installed using standard tools and fasteners, and can be cut, routed and milled like any premium wood. They accept 100-percent acrylic latex paints, but do not require painting for protection from the elements. 

All VERSATEX products carry a transferable 30-year warranty and the company has a complete stocking dealer program featuring promotional and rebate items for those who make a small inventory commitment. www.versatex.com 

Natural Attraction
JELD-WEN has created a new category by being the first manufacturer in the nation to introduce magnet lock technology for residential vinyl windows. Called MAG-Lock, this new one-touch automatic lock now comes standard on JELD-WEN® Premium Vinyl slider and single-hung windows. According to JELD-WEN’s staff, MAG-Lock’s advantages include an intuitive and easy-to-use design, safe and secure performance and a stylish low-profile design.

MAG-Lock has passed the industry’s forced-entry resistance test, in addition to tests for water and air infiltration. Tests show that the magnets will continue to maintain their force even after the lock has been engaged and disengaged for 36,000 cycles – more than most windows would ever be opened and closed in a lifetime. The magnets also can withstand extreme temperatures, including above 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Tests show that there is no way to disengage the lock using other magnets, and it won’t interfere with pacemakers or computer equipment. www.jeld-wen.com

A Face of Innovation: Benny McElwaney, Sales Manager, Standard Door in Atlanta
Benny McElwaney and his staff run a very efficient pre-hung door shop, Standard Door, in Atlanta, Ga.

“We looked at it like this: whatever your job is, that is your job,” he says. “If we are slow for some reason, we may move you into another area. But we really streamlined the process. We made sure if you are a machine operator, you didn’t need to get more than five feet away from that machine. If your job is to precut casing for tomorrow’s run, that’s what you do. You don’t worry about doors or the door machine operator.” McElwaney says that his company does cross train in case someone is absent. Standard Door also looked at a few other things. The company moved material around to make sure that everything an employee needed was at that person’s station and within five to ten feet of them. 

“Then we started working with Ruvo and a couple of other machinery companies, and we said we wanted our machine to do this. And some of the things that we suggested are things that are used on the machines today,” he says.

Standard Door was building 450 or 500 doors per day, and the company believes in incentives for its employees. 

“We tell our employees, ‘Once you reach X amount of doors per day, we’ll give you a raise or a bonus,’” McElwaney says. 

The company also gives its employees an hour and a half for lunch. “When the guys were more rested, they perform better. They work a ten-hour day, with lunch included and they are paid for all of it.”

Standard also shuts down for maintenance and inventory for a week around July 4th and for vacation the week of New Year’s.

To learn more about McElwaney and his innovative ideas, read an expanded version of this article online at www.sheltermagazine.com

A Customer-Friendly Website: Bayer Built Woodworks, Belgrade, Minn.
Two-step distributor Bayer Built Woodworks has one good-looking website. On www.bayerbuilt.com, dealers can log into their account and the website’s product section shows them what’s in stock. The company has had this format for about 18 months and developed its look and feel in-house, but then outsourced the database management aspect.

The company decided to have the dealer login section because it wanted to have information that customers could access at all times, such as forms, account information and some software for sales tools.

Jeff Stuewe, regional sales manager for Bayer Built, says his company built its site with the end user in mind.

“Our customer is the lumber dealer, so either the builders or the end user can be directed to our website to get their creative juices flowing and hopefully ask more questions,” Stuewe says.

The company is also planning on putting its literature and catalogs online. “Dealers will be able to direct their customer base to our website to get the most current information printed,” Rhonda Stuewe, marketing manager, says. “And they won’t have to wait two or three days for literature to be mailed.” www.bayerbuilt.com

Not Slowing Down: Bridgewater Wholesalers Inc., Branchburg, N.J.
Bridgewater Wholesalers Inc. (BWI) hasn’t let a slower homebuilding market keep it down. The company recently implemented Majure Data’s Warehouse Management System (WMS) at two more locations as well as opened two new facilities.

“[The Majure system] has proved to be a very good system,” says Jack Cortese, president of BWI. “It makes us accountable for what we do and makes us do it in a procedural manner every time.”

Cortese says the system has increased the company’s efficiency. “We don’t lose product; we find it. There’s a whole myriad of reasons to bring it on, but it has created efficiencies and the payback has been faster than we had hoped.”

BWI has the WMS system in place in four of its facilities: Branchburg, N.J., Richmond, Va., Mechanicsburg, Pa., and Leominster, Mass. The Massachusetts facility is a new facility for BWI, and it’s equipped to do anything that needs to be done as far as millwork and doors are concerned. The North Carolina facility, which is also new, is a distribution facility that runs off of the company’s Richmond, Va., facility, and the company has another distribution facility located in Binghamton, N.Y. Neither of the distribution facilities have a WMS system.

Is Cortese nervous about opening two new locations in a slower market?

“Massachusetts is a very large market, and we are 30 miles west of Boston,” he says. “The opportunity came along to purchase a fully-developed location that was already set-up for millwork. It was the right opportunity at the right time.” 

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