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Activant partners with warehouse management systems provider

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Activant Solutions and Majure Data, two technology providers to the building materials industry, have announced an agreement to join their products into one integrated solution for LBM dealers and distributors. Activant’s Falcon, a business management system that performs point-of-sale and supply chain functions, will interface with Majure Data’s RF Navigator warehouse management system, resulting in greater accuracy in tracking and fulfilling orders.

The interface between Falcon and RF Navigator should be available in the first quarter of 2008.

“I believe that warehouse management technology will be as revolutionary to the lumber and building materials industry today as point of sales technology was almost 30 years ago,” said Duffy Waters, national accounts manager for Activant’s Hardlines and Lumber Group, in a prepared statement.

The combined software solution will allow lumberyards to transfer customer orders to wireless handheld terminals in the warehouse that guide forklift drivers and material handlers to the right location. Employees then scan barcodes, matching the product to the order and transmitting the information back to Activant Falcon.

The handheld terminals and Navigator software can also be used for receiving, put-away, material moves, shop/ assembly, cycle counts and truck loading procedures.

Headquartered in Alpharetta, Ga., Majure Data has installed its warehouse management system in more than 40 building products and millwork sites. According to company research, LBM dealers can improve shipping to approximately 99.9 percent accuracy if they adopt and fully implement its warehouse management system.

Activant Solutions, based in Livermore, Calif., provides business management solutions to the hardware, lumber, wholesale distribution and auto parts industry.

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Pope & Talbot files for bankruptcy in Canada

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Lumber producer Pope & Talbot has filed for bankruptcy protection in Canada, according to a company filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company cited a stronger Canadian dollar, coupled with “record low demand for lumber” as leading to the company’s need for protection from creditors.

In its second quarter, Pope & Talbot reported a loss of US$42.9 million compared with losses of US$21.8 million in the same period last year. Sales were US$236.6 million, up from sales of US$213.6 million last year. The company ended the second quarter with US$354.9 million in debt, and its shares were delisted from the New York Stock Exchange in August.

The company also said “high-priced pulp chips and sawdust” and “the high cost of debt service have combined for an untenable business environment.” If the company’s bankruptcy filing is approved, it will begin a restructuring process that could include “the sale of certain or all of the company’s assets.”

Based in Portland, Ore., Pope & Talbot produces market pulp and softwood lumber at mills in the United States and Canada.

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M/I Homes sees losses of $21.7 million

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Columbus, Ohio-based home builder M/I Homes saw a third-quarter net loss of $21.7 million, swinging from earnings of $15.2 million in the same period last year. Net revenue fell 20.4 percent to $243.7 million from $306.2 million last year.

The loss includes a $26.5 million charge for land and real estate-related impairment and abandonment, as well as a joint venture investment write-off of $6.1 million. Year-to-date the company has recorded $92.9 million in land-related charges.

Robert Schottenstein, president and CEO, said market conditions remain challenging in the company’s markets.

“We remain focused on initiatives that include reducing our land and expense levels, improving our balance sheet, as well as continued improvements in our customer service and quality processes,” Scottenstein said. “We expect to … further reduce our debt levels by year end.”

M/I Homes builds homes in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Florida, North Carolina, Delaware, Virginia and Maryland.

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