Disruption in the LBM industry
With things moving fast, it’s hard to identify the next big thing that will alter the business. Tiffany Reeder of US LBM Holdings, product manager, interiors, described virtual reality as having a real impact today in forward-thinking show rooms.
Customers and home owners. Experience a “wow” moment, she said, when they put on their VR goggles supplied by the show room.
“The crisp incredibly real images that we can create actually make you want to reach out and turn on the faucet at the sink, or walk over and open a cabinet door,” she said. “It’s this visualization and interactivity that our customers expect.”
This selling process allows the dealer to connect with the customer, especially the younger customer.
“I’m confident that we’ll continue to see an expansion of the virtual and augmented reality in the buying process,” she said. “We’ll likely see brick and mortar spaces shrink, while at the same time being able to actually sell and provide and sell more product solutions for the customers.”
Virtual and augmented reality tools will also play a major role in training – from forklift training to cabinetry installation. “Really exciting stuff,” Reeder said.
The session on disruptive trends included a presentation from Habib Dagher, the executive director of the Advanced Structures and Composites Center at the University of Maine, site of the world’s largest polymer 3-D printer.
Dagher showed lumber dealers stop-action photography of the creation of a boat after four days of continuous printing. “You can see what is possible,” he said.
Dagher explained that the ASCC has its eyes on pushing the envelope of 3D home printing by creating a complete house that is printed completely on site.
It remains to be seen if the printed home can make a substantial dent in the housing market.