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Leaders of Lumber: Chad Crow, CEO of Builders FirstSource

Builders FirstSource has focused on operations excellence to help drive profits.

BY Andy Carlo

One of the premiere heavyweights of the pro dealer ranks, and one of just two dealers that are publicly traded, Builders FirstSource has focused on operations-excellence initiatives in recent years that have helped drive profits.

Overseeing the improvements, along with roughly 15,000 employees and 400 locations in 39 states, is Chad Crow, president and CEO at BFS.

“We are seeing a positive impact from our operational excellence initiatives, which is in part fine-tuning the business, as well as from investments in our component manufacturing capabilities and our sales force,” Crow told HBSDealer.

Chad Crow, CEO of Builders FirstSource.

The results can be seen in the company’s recent quarterly earnings reports. In the fourth quarter of 2018 — reported this past February — BFS swung to a profit with net earnings of $52 million, compared to a net loss of $42.7 million for the same period in 2017. And in the first quarter of this year, BFS profits jumped 54% to $35.7 million, on sales of $1.7 billion.

Recent moves by the dealer include a delivery optimization initiative, which allows BFS to be more efficient from a logistics standpoint. Upgrades have allowed for increased transparency with its customers, including expected delivery times and delivery notifications, in addition to images of delivered materials. BFS also recently launched a customer portal, allowing customers to view orders, statements and make payments online.

Given the scope of BFS, Crow said his company has an important position in the industry, particularly when it comes to one of the biggest issues impacting the housing industry in the past year: housing affordability.

“We believe our role within the industry is first and foremost to operate in an ethical manner and be the best partner we can be to our suppliers and customers. I also believe we have a responsibility to help lead the industry forward when it comes to innovation and doing our part to provide quality, and affordable, housing to homebuyers in the markets we serve,” Crow said.

“We certainly believe we are one of the biggest in the industry and one of the best at what we do, but that does not mean there are not some very good, smaller operators out there as well.”

Among recent obstacles BFS has had to overcome include the labor shortage that impacted much of the industry. But the dealer also believes that shortage can be an advantage for segments of its business.

“Labor shortages are still an issue across various positions within the company, but this seems to have eased a bit over the past year,” Crow said. “Unemployment remains at very low rates and labor remains tight. While this can create various issues across the construction chain, we also believe it plays very well into our component, off-site build capabilities.”

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in the June 2019 edition of HBSDealer.

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