Labor Savers: Back-office booster
In a tight labor market, efficiency can be a game changer.
The following article is the part of a series of interviews with companies offering solutions designed for speed and efficiency at or near the job site. The series ran as “Labor Savers” in the March 2018 issue of HBSDealer.
There’s a fundamental truth in the home building industry: If the cabinet guy isn’t finished, the countertop guy has got nothing to do but twirl his thumbs. And that’s just one of hundreds of job-site examples that Hyphen Solutions CEO Felix Vasquez uses to demonstrate the interconnected, time-sensitive, labor-intensive process of home building. Vasquez, a former executive with home builder D.R. Horton, spoke with HBSDealer about a solution to profitably manage all of the moving parts.
Are you seeing increased interest in saving time on the job site?
Absolutely, and the other thing we’re seeing with today’s labor crunch is that cycle times are starting to extend in this market. For us, the entire tool set is really geared at labor savings of all kinds, whether it’s back office, front office, scheduling your people or using up the latent capacity so you don’t have downtime.
How does Hyphen respond to all of that?
With Hyphen, we say “one log in, one website, one process.” We try to bridge all those technologies and user websites and user IDs. If you look at the way some companies operate: There’s one site for a schedule, another website for the purchase order, another website for any inspections and another for documents and another for warranties. Five different processes for five different ways of doing things, and that’s just for one builder. We’re in the business of streamlining all that.
How does the lumberyard fit into the equation?
We kind of sit in the middle, most of the builders have an ERP system. The way they’re built, they throw these big walls around their data with moats and castles and make it impossible for anybody to get to that data. And that’s cool, except for the fact that 75 to 80% of the activities on the job site are outsourced. So in order for you to get a home framed, you’ve got to take your data and publish it in a way that your LBM dealer can consume it — and in a meaningful time frame. What we do is pierce through the armor of the ERP systems and liberate the data.
Sometimes you sound like a builder. Sometimes you sound like a Silicon Valley guy. How do you think of yourself?
I am a technologist at heart. I’ve been programming computers since I was in second grade, but I love what we do in this industry. Think of this: the top 5 automakers control 70% of the market, but the look at the top of the 200 builders are just a little north of 50% of the market. The problems that that creates are pervasive, but the opportunity to use technology to overcome that are really cool.
How do you stay current?
The biggest driver of change for us is our user groups, having builders sitting in a room and telling us, “we need this” or “we need that.” Dealers in the same room talking to builders about changes and improvements. Collaboration in this business is impressive.
What’s your message for the pro dealer?
I would say, if you’d like to create economies of scale in training your people in receiving your orders and getting the lowest cost per order of getting orders into your system, you’ll use Hyphen Solutions. You can’t integrate into 50,000 websites. It’s not possible. You integrate into mine, and I’ll take care of connecting into everybody else.
Catch Up: HBSDealer published one Q&A every day this week with someone from each of the following companies regarding its labor-saving products: Hyphen Solutions, White Lightning, Georgia-Pacific, Epicor and E-Z Gutter.
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