Issues, answers, and connections

Publisher Letter

At LAT’s annual Expo back in 2011, a dealer asked me how other dealers were managing product deliveries in the face of rising fuel prices. It was a great question, and I had no idea what  the  answer  was. But I knew who to ask—You and the other members of the LBM community. So we emailed a very brief, two-question survey to members of the LBM Journal audience. The response was overwhelming:  more than 700 LBM pros shared their insights via more than 25,000 words.

Thanks to an  LBM  dealer  seeking  answers,  and a community of LBM industry pros willing to help, that inaugural Real Issues. Real Answers. feature was published in the July/August issue of 2011. I wasn’t sure how sustainable the idea was, but every issue of LBM Journal since then has included a dealer sharing their challenge, along with answers from other LBM pros from across the U.S.

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When I share this story with publisher friends from other industries, they’re amazed (and a little jealous) of our very active and engaged LBM community. That’s why each Real Issues. Real Answers. feature starts off with this byline: “By LBM Journal Readers.” That’s pretty cool. And it’s all you.

If you’d like to take your involvement in this community to the live-and- in-person level, I encourage you to mark your calendar for the LBM Strategies Conference, which will be held October 13-15 in Boston. More than 25 LBM industry pros will take the stage during this event—and that’s after the optional tour of National Lumber’s main yard and millwork facility in Mansfield, Mass., and the 90-minute Women in LBM Workshop.

Not only will you hear and meet columnists Rick Davis, Thea Dudley, Shane Soule, and John Wagner, you’ll hear some of our industry’s leading LBM pros sharing their stories, and their strategies. People like Jim Smucker from Keim, talking about “Preparing for the Opposite of a White-Hot Market,” and John Perna from Hamilton Building Supply, talking about “Customer Stickiness: Using a Membership Program to Deliver Value & Profits.” You’ll hear Bill Hayward from Hayward Lumber, and Jennifer Zuern with members of the team at Zuern Building Products talking about “How to Make Your Company a Great Place to Work.” Sunpro president Greg Templeman will address “Emotionless LBM Pricing,” and Sunny Bowman from Dakota County Lumber will discuss “Operational Excellence: The Perfect Delivery.”

All attendees will also go home with copies of the latest books from Rick Davis, Thea Dudley, and Bradley Hartmann/Carl Moyer. Last week, Mr. Davis let me read the manuscript for his new title, “Beat the Price Objection.” I read it in one sitting, and my response was “Wow. Just wow.”

If you like the idea of getting away from the yard for a few days and connecting with sharp LBM pros from across the U.S., I’d love to see you in Boston.

— Rick Schumacher
Executive Editor & Publisher

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