Builders FirstSource stresses ‘value’ in Las Vegas

At 2023 National Event, a new CEO hammers on a familiar strategy.
BFS leaders
CEO Dave Rush shares the stage with the Builders FirstSource leadership team in Las Vegas.

LAS VEGASLooking into the future was a major theme here at the 2023 Builders FirstSource National Event. It wasn’t just about delivering slick technologies designed to transform the industry — although there was a lot of that.

It was also about meeting near term challenges of 2023.

Speaking during a general session Wednesday morning, CEO Dave Rush, who officially dropped ‘interim’ from his title earlier this week, comfortably walked the audience of customers, vendors and employees through the BFS plan of attack.

Rush said the timing for the national event, which drew some 3,500 in total attendance, is ideal given current market conditions and the need for planning and communication.

“We all know we're going to have a little bit of a challenge coming into '23. You're probably best to get ahead of it, best to have conversations now how we collectively, as an industry, can manage through what we hope is a short term situation.”

Armed with core values and mission and vision statements, Rush outlined the four pillars of the Builders FirstSource strategy.

• Organic-growth of value-added products;
• Drive operational excellence;

• Continue to build high-performing culture; and
• Pursue strategic tuck-in acquisitions.

If those sound familiar, that’s because they are.

“Maybe you've heard I recently got the job on a permanent basis two days ago,” Rush said. “So I want to emphasize that this was the strategy before me, it's still the strategy, and it'll be the strategy throughout 2023 and beyond.”

Describing the company’s value-added emphasis, Rush pointed to $96 million in 2022 investments related to products and services including trusses, panels, Ready Frame (the BFS precision, pre-cut framing package that’s delivered to the job site ready to assemble) and high-speed door lines. “These are all things to produce more in less time with less labor, to try to take costs out of the process and improve the quality of the products that we bring to your job site,” he said.

The BFS National Event draws to a close Jan. 12.

“We want to focus on growing specifically our value added products because we believe the value added products help simplify and streamline the building process, and that's the future.

Another $200 million of similar investment are planned between now and the end of 2024, he said. “We're not going to stop investing in what's going to make this the best company long term, regardless of short-term impediments that we may face in ’23,” Rush said.

Digital tools

The general session also introduced, described as the company’s new homebuilding platform for project document storage, 3-dimensionoal home pageviews, online material estimates and ordering, delivery status, job-site scheduling and more.

The product is 4 years in the making. A limited minimum-viable-product launch will take place in January, with new features added on a monthly schedule throughout 2023.

Other key points from the Builders FirstSource leadership team includes the importance of good old-fashioned customer service. Across the industry, supply chain issues and product shortages have effectively lowered the bar when it comes to customer service. Rush says it’s time to return to the definition that existed before the pandemic.

“I'm challenging the team to get back to our traditional definition of customer service and our traditional values of what customer service truly means,” he said. “And it’s more than just getting the product to you. It’s actually solving their problems and streamlining their process, shortening  their construction cycle so that they can deliver homes on a more efficient basis.

He encouraged open communication as a method to solve problems, both here in Las Vegas, and back at the branch and in the field, where ideas bubble up from productivity leadership councils.

“These are ideas coming from the ground up, not from top down,” Rush explained. “And that's how you get buy-in, and that's how we get the culture developed the way we want it.”

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