Implementing What You Learned at BCMC: The SCORE Advantage
Implementing What You Learned at BCMC: The SCORE Advantage
Editor’s Note: All specific pricing examples throughout this article are based on 2014 dues and program pricing, and are subject to change.
SCORE—the structural building component industry’s certification program. You’ve heard about it. Your plant may have even looked into the program a few years ago, but you’ve always wondered what it really takes (in terms of time and money) to become SCORE certified. You’re not alone. Jess Lohse, President of Rocky Mountain Truss Co. and SBCA Marketing Committee Chair, shared those same questions, noting that, “While SCORE is a great way to leverage the industry best practices developed by the association, I think a lot of people kept wondering, ‘Okay, what’s in it for me and what is it going to cost?’”
Lohse sums up the value of SCORE for component manufacturers (CMs), saying, “it puts our money where our mouth is.” SCORE’s focus on best practices and risk management helps protect the component business and saves CMs on precious training resources.
In an effort to make the program and costs more understandable, in 2013, Lohse, SBCA staff and the Marketing Committee got to work re-crafting SCORE to streamline certification requirements while maintaining the focus on SBCA programs and products that matter most to CM customers. The result was a comprehensive SCORE program in which CMs participate in two stages (see Table 1) and can earn certification in one year.
Choose a Package
Let’s walk through a simple example to illustrate exactly how SCORE participation works. For the sake of this example, we will focus on XYZ Truss, a small truss manufacturer with one plant. With total annual sales of $4 million, XYZ Truss falls in the level 2 SBCA dues category (annual dues of $864). XYZ Truss can purchase the SCORE Certification Program Package at $2,040 for the year or $170 per month (see Table 2 for pricing levels). This package includes SBCA membership, as well as access to Truss Technician Training (TTT) online training, ongoing TTT designer recertification and SBCA In-Plant Wood Truss QC quarterly reviews. If the plant wants access to these SCORE requirements plus additional industry best practices programs, it can purchase the SCORE Certification Best Practice Program Package (see Table 3).
In this example, XYZ Truss chooses the SCORE Certification Program Package. If the plant pays for the package by December 31, it can receive a five percent discount ($102 savings, in this case) off of the $2,040 price. With or without the five percent discount, the SCORE package cost comes in well below the $2,284 the plant would pay for membership and to purchase the programs separately.
When the plant purchases a program or individually buys the products and training required for SCORE, the company signs a SCORE agreement, stating that the plant will abide by the program and plans to become certified within a year.
Once XYZ Truss commits to SCORE, the location is officially a SCORE Member. From day one, XYZ Truss can promote its SCORE Member status to employees, customers and in the company’s marketing efforts. At his plant, Lohse is in the process of implementing SCORE, and says employees show a lot of interest in the program. “In house, SCORE allows our production staff to feel a sense of pride,” he said. “We’re focusing on staff for now, but expect that message to boil over to customers next year.”
Put SCORE into Practice
Now that it has purchased a SCORE package, XYZ Truss gets down to business. Management tasks key staff to implement SCORE at the plant and ensure it is SCORE certified within a year. These staff members start introducing SCORE throughout the plant.
The SCORE Certification Program Package XYZ Truss purchased includes access to TTT. Truss designers at the plant have already completed TTT Level I, so the plant’s design manager makes a training schedule so that enough designers can complete and pass Level II and Level III, in order to meet the TTT location requirement. Per SCORE’s restructuring, a plant’s truss designers must have a combined TTT average of 1.5. For example, a plant with three truss designers—one at Level 1, one at Level II and one at Level III—would have a plant TTT average of 2, which would fulfill the SCORE requirement.
The TTT component of SCORE helps standardize truss designer training and saves CMs on valuable training time. “I can’t begin to train new designers on my own as comprehensively as TTT does,” said Lohse. Developed with input from CMs across the country, TTT presents industry best practice design and engineering fundamentals applicable to all truss designers.
The SCORE package also includes quarterly data reviews for SBCA In-Plant Wood Truss QC. The plant hadn’t been participating in QC previously, so XYZ Truss purchases the SBCA In-Plant Wood Truss QC program for the member price of $490. Management assigns staff to head up QC efforts, begin the online QC training and work with SBCA to submit quarterly data for review. Implementing QC is another opportunity to showcase the company’s commitment to excellence.
“For CMs, this is a chance to not just say we’re good, but there are third-party inspections and data reviews that bolster our commitment to being the very best at what we do,” said Lohse. “SCORE gives my QC program real teeth and honest feedback I can look to that improves our overall product quality and ensures repeat business from our customers.”
The plant then addresses the SCORE safety requirement. XYZ Truss doesn’t have a full-fledged safety program in place, so management chooses to use the industry specific SBCA Operation Safety program, and the plant purchases the Operation Safety Collection for the member price of $195. A location could use a different safety program, but the program must be reviewed and approved by SBCA staff.
Next, the plant evaluates its use of the SBCA/TPI Jobsite Package. The plant has been sending out Jobsite Packages, but management builds a double-check into its processes to ensure that a package is sent with every job. The plant manager notices that they’re starting to run low on Jobsite Packages, so he places an order for 200 standard Jobsite Packages for $890 at SBCA member pricing.
When he places the order, SBCA recommends that CMs consider including the Jobsite Package as a line item on customer invoices. Lohse says he’s received positive feedback from CMs on this business practice noting, “It’s a good way to pass on the cost, but more importantly, to protect your company by documenting that you provided information on proper handling, installing and bracing of our products.”
Earn SCORE Certification
Over the next 12 months, the plant works toward fulfilling the SCORE requirements. If at any time XYZ Truss has questions, SBCA staff is just a phone call away. When the plant meets all of the conditions of SCORE, XYZ Truss contacts SBCA to review and confirm that the plant is SCORE certified.
Back to that first question Lohse heard from CMs, “Okay, what’s it going to cost me?” All in all, the XYZ Truss plant earned its SCORE certification for about $3,600 (see Table 4), 0.09 percent of the plant’s $4 million in sales. “It’s a great value, especially for smaller plants,” said Lohse, who hopes the simplified structure and new pricing will make SCORE more accessible to all CMs.
Lohse points out that the new package pricing gives CMs the opportunity to meet SCORE requirements, at a reduced cost, and begin to reap the benefits from the programs and products included in SCORE, noting, “Like a lot of other plants, our management and employees feel we build some of the best trusses around. SCORE is a way for us to show our commitment to producing quality trusses day in and day out—raising the bar and separating ourselves from our competition, both in our employees’ eyes and our customers’.”