Leaders of Lumber: Do it Best LBM VP Gary Nackers
Do it Best provides members with purchasing power and LBM strategies.
In 2018, Do it Best Corp. reached sales of $3.7 billion, up 14% over the prior year. Lumber and building materials are a key ingredient to the Fort Wayne, Ind.-based cooperative’s success and growth. The member-owned buying group continues to promote itself as the only U.S.-based fully integrated hardware, lumber, and building materials co-op.
“As the only total solution provider, we offer independent lumber dealers the ability to source all of their lumber and building materials coupled with world-class distribution of a full range of hardlines to meet all their customers’ needs,” says Gary Nackers, VP of lumber and building materials at Do it Best Corp.
In addition to purchasing power, Do It Best’s LBM industry experts provide the fine-tuning of purchasing strategies to the co-op’s members.
“The industry is changing at a rapid pace,” Nackers said. “Emerging from the great recession, industry consolidation has become the new norm. This requires us to be more agile as we look for opportunities to grow our membership and enhance their relevance in the industry.”
Among recent challenges, transportation and pricing volatility in commodities have had an impact on buying patterns. According to Nackers, the co-op has helped members find success in this new environment by supporting initiatives like speed to market, inventory on hand, cash flow, and the ability to lock in pricing on projects.
Education is another component provided by Do it Best. Intense, three to four-day sessions are provided for newcomers to the industry along with the co-op’s Leadership Development Institute, which provides managerial insights and education for up-and-coming industry leaders. Seminars at Do it Best markets, panel presentations, and roundtables are also part of the ongoing learning package.
“One of the biggest changes we’ve made to the Do it Best LBM program over the last couple of years has been our focus on training and education,” Nackers said.
“We’ve invested specifically in the launch and growth of ‘LBM School.’ We’ve designed this program to train the next generation of independent dealers, providing them with the foundation of knowledge to excel in their markets.”
With the labor shortage is playing a huge role in the LBM industry, contractors are looking to Do it Best members for help, including value-add services that make their crews more efficient.
“Many of our members are seizing the opportunity by offering turn-key operations for their contractors, supplying options like truss manufacturing, installation services, cabinet installation, and more,” Nackers notes.
Not only is the labor shortage impacting contractors, but it’s also affecting the co-op’s dealer-members. With a smaller available talent pool, new employees require top-notch training to be most effective. It’s another aspect where Do it Best’s education opportunities come into play.
Do it Best has also increased its use and reliance on business intelligence. The company is developing prescriptive analytics that focus on helping members anticipate industry swings and plan accordingly.
“Using data allows us to optimize our partnership with vendor mills supplying our members with a better mix of products at the right times,” Nackers said. “While our industry can be slightly reactionary, our team is focused on using the data to make more proactive decisions.”
Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in the June 2019 edition of HBSDealer.
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