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Do it Best gives industry update, launches new tools during 2024 Spring Market

On March 23-25, Do it Best kicked off the spring season with its 2024 Do it Best Spring Market. Held this year in Houston, TX, with attendees from across the country, it was an opportunity for LBM dealers to learn from Do it Best’s industry experts what may be in store for the market in 2024, as well as attend educational sessions on everything from “How to Amplify Your Business with AI,” to “The Power of Your Website,” to how to “Drive More Sales with Digital Marketing” (and these are just some of the educational opportunities that were available).

The LBM Industry Update at the event was led by Russ Kathrein, vice president of lumber and building materials for Do it Best. He started the update on a positive note. “The Do it Best LBM staff is not just a team of industry experts,” he pointed out in his opening comments. “We’re an extension of your purchasing team and we’re committed to action.”

Kathrein went on to talk about how Do it Best is poised to provide better opportunities for members’ growth while highlighting the organizations recommendations based on what they are seeing in the current market.

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He reported that, based on what he heard at this year’s NAHB International Builders’ Show and in talking to dealers, they’re optimistic about 2024. He adds a note of caution, though, pointing out “While we have moved from a sellers market to a buyer’s market, the mills are doing everything they can to curtail their supply and slow things down to try to match up their supply to what they see the demand is.”

And as to the recommended purchasing strategy for this year, Katherine advised, “We suggest maintaining adequate  inventory levels  to prepare for changes in your market. Plan for the next 60 to 90 days and consider gradually paring back your inventory starting in August or September.”

Later that day was the Market Kickoff, an opportunity for Do it Best executives to let attendees know about new initiatives and opportunities as well as the general state of the organization.

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Do it Best reported more than $3 billion in sales volume so far this fiscal year, and while that number does represent a decrease compared to last year, one that’s primarily driven by higher interest rates, a soft economy, and deflation of commodities, it is still an extremely healthy number, so much so that the organization is aiming to have the 3rd highest rebate in company history by the end of the fiscal year.

Do it Best certainly has growth in its sights. For example, recently, Do it Best announced its merging with United Hardware. Both boards of directors have approved the merger, and Do it Best expects to put it to a member vote in the next few weeks.

Understanding and measuring success is a key component of that growth, and Do it Best is doing that by leveraging data. For example, one new technology tool unveiled at the event is Trackula, a tool that enables LBM dealers to keep their inventory up to date. As an inventory management tool that’s designed specifically for Do it Best members, Trackula is reported to significantly reduce the time and resources spent on inventory management. It uses point-of-sale data to identify items that require counting in real time and providing correct inventory counts. It also analyzes what items are selling the most, when they were last counted, and several other factors.

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Another technology tool launched at the event is Do it Best’s Inventory Productivity Tool. According to the organization, the tool identifies slow-moving inventory so that LBM dealers can turn those items into opportunities to refresh product assortments. It creates a visual depiction of a dealer’s store based on the store’s planogram. It uses data gathered over time to analyze what is moving off the shelves and what isn’t so that dealers can boost inventory productivity and the bottom line.

If you’re sensing a theme at the event of using data to drive member growth, you would be correct. As best summed up by Nick Talarico, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Do it Best,“Do it Best has evolved into a technology company that happens to specialize in the distribution of hardline and building materials.”

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