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Technology: BMC will take it to go

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Boise, Idaho-based BMC is rolling out mobile apps designed to turbo-charge its sales with a salesforce and operations recently armed with iPads.

One of those apps has the catchy and straightforward title: “Dude, Where’s my truck?” The app fills the need for anyone who’s ever asked the same question while tracking deliveries to a job site.

The delivery truck locator is one of a full suite of enterprise mobile apps that BMC has rolled out through a project called “BMC 2 Go.” The idea is to make employees more mobile, more productive and more effective.

“BMC 2 Go will empower our people in the field,” said Malini Balakrishnan, BMC chief information officer and VP process optimization.  “As employees visit job sites, they will be able to access data and documents — on demand — that live behind our firewall.” For instance, rather than explain to the crew how a new product easily attaches to an exterior wall, a BMC rep can pull out his iPad and show the video. Or the picture.

Balakrishnan called the effort, a partnership with tech provider Apperian, an industry first.

“BMC 2 Go is easy-to-use and will provide builders and their buyers with access to content that will allow them to visualize the finished project even as it’s under construction,” Balakrishnan said.

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Comps hit 8-year high at Home Depot

BY HBSDealer Staff

Home Depot’s first quarter saw comp-store sales of positive 5.8%. That’s the highest since the second quarter of 2004, when the booming housing market helped push the world’s largest home improvement retailer’s same-store sales to 7.7%.

One reason for the eight-year high is the hot-cold treatment — an unusually warm quarter in 2012 followed an unusually frigid one.

Home Depot’s Craig Menear, executive VP merchandising, described a long list of products as double-digit comp generators, including walk-behind mowers, riding mowers, lawn accessories, soils and mulches. “Warmer-than-expected weather allowed customers to complete exterior projects and begin spring projects early,” he said, estimating a 300 basis point boost for U.S. comps due to the weather.

Only two departments failed to generate positive comps in the quarter — plumbing, which was flat, and kitchens, which was slightly negative.

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Now in play: New rules for Southern Pine

BY HBSDealer Staff

Effective June 1, 2012, the Southern Pine Inspection Bureau (SPIB) has issued some new design values for Southern Pine Lumber. The changes will affect only visually graded Southern Pine and Mixed Southern Pine sized 2” to 4” wide and 2” to 4” thick (2x2s through 4x4s) in No.2 and lower grades (No.2, No.3, stud, construction, standard and utility). This also includes new design values for No.2 dense and No.2 nondense Southern Pine. Design values for all other grades and sizes of visually graded Southern Pine remain the same, pending results of testing scheduled for completion later this year.

The last major change for visually graded dimension lumber occurred in 1991 when design values for Southern Pine and other North American species were published based on In-Grade testing of full-size samples of commercially produced lumber. Since 1994, SPIB has conducted an annual resource-monitoring program developed in collaboration with the U.S. Forest Products Laboratory (FPL). SPIB is the first rules-writing agency to publish new design values. Rules-writing agencies responsible for other species are in different stages for evaluating design values.

SPIB and Timber Products conducted destructive tests in bending and tension, plus gathered stiffness and property data, all in accordance with ASTM International standards. Throughout the process, technical review was performed by FPL. The ALSC Board of Review approved the new design values early in 2012, with a recommended effective date of June 1, 2012.

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