Setting Course for Next Year & a’Blazing the Show Floor

Originally published by: BCMC

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This BCMC week, Jess Lohse, President of Rocky Mountain Truss Co. in Havre MT, has served as SBC’s man-in-the-field, providing day-by-day updates on the show.

September 22, 2011 – The Structural Building Components Association (SBCA) held its annual meeting early Thursday morning to kick off the events here at BCMC. Three very deserving gentlemen received industry awards: Dwight Hikel, Ken Cloyd and Tom Whatley. They all have been integral to our association over the years and are icons of our industry. I challenge you to meet them and the other individuals who regularly attend SBCA functions – they will blow you away with their level of understanding and commitment to our industry.

In other business, the association presidency was handed over to Steve Stroder from Joe Hikel. Joe was a great president with a keen understanding of every industry issue. He hands the reigns over to a very capable individual in Steve, and the next 12 months will be excellent under his leadership. Past and future committee chairs were also recognized at the meeting and the tone was set for the weeks and months to come for the association.

I’ve been attending BCMC for quite a few years and have always looked forward to the educational sessions as a major reason for my attendance.  For the past few years, I have held the “Bashing Tradition: Thinking Outside the Box” session that Jerry Vulgaris and Ken Cloyd put on in Denver as the best session I’ve attended. Their session challenged and changed the way I look at my business and led me into a new endeavor to better serve my customers. Well, they may have met their match. Today, the session on “What is Lean Manufacturing in Today’s Economy” was excellent. Javen Yoder, Joe Hikel, Dan Holland and John Herring presented lean manufacturing in an easy-to-understand format with tangible benefits for the regular truss manufacturer. I was able to conceptually understand how lean is necessary in my plant without getting bogged down with talk of metrics and jargon that typically intimidates me. While they were realistic about the challenge going lean presents, they showed that it can be done without the use of outside consultants or learning Japanese. The bottom line is profits can be increased up to 7%; in this market, that can be the difference in whether or not your company is profitable.

The highlight of the day had to be the championship round of the inaugural BCMC Tri-Tacular. The trike tires were a’blazing around the exterior of the show floor with grown men channeling their inner-kid and ultra-competitive side. While the race was close in the initial laps, one team rose above the rest with strong legs and super quick pit stop skills. Team Awesome made good on a bold prediction from its captain (on the BCMC Facebook page) by winning. Second place went to the team organized through a Building Solutions Group: Gary Weaver (who unfortunately couldn’t make it due to injury), David Mitchell, Mike Ruede, Jorge “The Chop Saw Assassin” Ruiz and myself. Thank you to the trike sponsors, Eagle Metal, MiTek, ITW and Finnforest and to all the competitors; it was a great time! A special honorable mention goes out to the team of Barry Dixon, Jerry Vulgaris and Joe Hikel for the best “smack talk” team in the competition.

Walking the show floor was very informative today. I was able to meet with a lot of vendors and have great conversations about their products and their experience at the show. While attendance was lower than in years past, vendors mentioned they had good, qualified leads and were talking to company decision makers, which is great for suppliers. Products of notable interest were new linear fed saws with new bunk feeding capabilities, easy spray on mold removal, lumber brokers from around North America and, of course, the major plate suppliers. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the suppliers and their employees for attending. I and the other attendees know and appreciate how difficult it is to be away from your families. Living on the road isn’t always fun, but this year’s BCMC was a blast. See you next year in Denver!

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