Wanted: Commitment from suppliers

There are many paths to a lumberyard operator’s vendor list. But perhaps the best way is to sum up and distill the remarks from a a recent panel of pro dealers.

Looking at the big picture, a panel of lumberyard operators shared what they felt was the most important part of that relationship.

In a word, the main thing they need from a supplier: “commitment.” 

Commitment includes being a resource for quick answers to immediate questions, or longer-term education, according to Mike Moore, co-owner and VP materials management at TW Perry, a six-unit lumberyard based in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

“The most important thing is they need to be a resource for our sales team,” said Moore. “That’s No. 1, and that it kind of flows down from there. If they are a resource for our guys, then they are going to get repeat business. And from there, it's about the right programs, rebates, and payment terms and other things.” 

At Atlanta-based BMC, VP sales and marketing Keith Costello said the commitment his company seeks begins with consistent and timely delivery of product.

He also described the importance of “coming out with cutting-edge technology,” bringing competitive advantages to the table and making it clear what those are. 

On the “don’t” list, he described last-minute notices on price increases. 

Dan Fesler, CEO of 33-unit Lampert Yards pointed to a multi-faceted list of supplier “do’s.” Among them, providing the right product at the best price. There’s also the proper delivery schedule and product rebates when appropriate. 

“It’s really committing to us so that we don’t run out of product,” Fesler said.

“We need to be priced competitively. We need guaranteed delivery. I think the technology is going to be huge and so is training and support. Those people who can provide that in spades are going to be our going-forward suppliers.”

The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association organized the panel.

Login or Register to post a comment.