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Founded in 1946, Stier Supply Company is still family-owned, with second and third-generation family members playing key roles throughout the organization. Today, Stier serves a wide area around Columbia, SC, and Lake Murray from the company’s 60,000 square foot production and distribution facility in Calhoun County.
With pride in their tradition of customer service, Stier offers a range of products including dimensional and engineered lumber, decking, fasteners, millwork, windows, and everything in between. Beyond its large product selection, Stier’s Construction Services Division also provides turnkey services (materials and labor) to builders for installation of trim, interior and exterior doors, hardware, blinds, as well as custom remodeling and renovation.
Stier’s focus on fast turnaround and customer service allows the Stier sales team to demonstrate rapid response to inquiries on pricing and availability. Wayne Martin, Stier’s general manager, has worked to optimize the estimating process through a recent software addition from MiTek.
“It wasn’t long ago that we were rolling our plans,” Wayne said, “that is, rolling the plans with an eraser wheel, to determine distances and scaling those up to estimates. Talk about old-school! But we recently brought in MiTek’s SAPPHIRE Supply, and with that in place we have made great strides to digitizing the entire process.”
As for the types of building plans that we typically work with, some of Stier’s customers, such as those building large million-dollar homes on nearby Lake Murray, are moving to 3D BIM models. But most of the time Stier works with high-resolution PDFs or plan sets that Stier scans into SAPPHIRE Supply.
“Once we have the plans in digital form, which is a remarkably fast process these days, we pull the wall dimensions and other key measurements. We then use formulas we’ve developed and entered into SAPPHIRE Supply to estimate materials like framing, windows, doors, siding, trim packages, even hardware,” Wayne added. “We don’t add pricing. We just determine the quantities. The pricing gets added by the sales team, which carries the bid back to the customer.
“We’ve seen tremendous time savings on our estimates with SAPPHIRE Supply,” Wayne explained. “In fact, we have easily cut our estimating time by more than half, moving from a four- to five-day turnaround down to two days.”
SAPPHIRE Supply: What it Does
SAPPHIRE Supply is part of MiTek’s SAPPHIRE Suite, and SAPPHIRE Supply is designed specifically to meet the needs of lumber and building material dealers like Stier. It is a single-source software solution combining materials estimating with structural frame design (as well as EWP if desired by the user).
SAPPHIRE Supply helps to eliminate the age-old problem of inaccurate estimates because it delivers accurate modeling which is linked to Stier’s own custom formulas.
The core reason for SAPPHIRE Supply accuracy? Its estimates are based on the actual geometry of the structure, and not just its shape. Users of SAPPHIRE Supply have used the accuracy of the system to drive down error and waste rates as much as four-fold, while accelerating the productivity of the estimator. As a bonus for SAPPHIRE Supply users and their customers, MiTek also offers SAPPHIRE Viewer, which allows users to view SAPPHIRE’s 3D models on a tablet or even on a standard TV.
“With SAPPHIRE Supply and the use of our formulas containing proven square-foot calculations, we are not over-estimating quantities. This provides additional cost savings because we don’t have to manage returns. We are also not under-estimating which saves us repeated trips to a jobsite,” Wayne explained. “We run all EWP through the Boise BC Framer system which allows us to achieve similar accuracy and speed.”
With this new capability, and 150 bids per year, Stier’s employees can turn bids faster, and spend more time in the field. This even allows Stier to take on more plans to drive up business volume.
What’s amazing,” Wayne added, “is that even with this time savings, we feel we are still learning SAPPHIRE Supply and feel we are just scratching the surface of its capabilities. We are just getting started.”
About Stier Supply Company
Stier Supply Company is a family-owned business, founded in 1946. The original store was located in an old barn on Assembly Street near the State Fairgrounds in Columbia, SC. Over time, Stier broadened the company’s product line from drywall and lumber, to include doors, mouldings, and hardware. In the mid 60s, Stier added windows, and in 1973 Stier opened a door shop. In 1994, Stier opened its Construction Services Division providing turnkey services for trim and hardware. In 2014, the company opened a 60,000-square-foot production and distribution facility in Calhoun County. More info: http://www.StierSupply.com
MiTek is a diversified global supplier of software, engineered products, services, and equipment to the residential, commercial, and industrial, construction sectors. MiTek Industries’ passion for its associates’ well-being and its customers’ success is the company’s hallmark. A Berkshire Hathaway company since 2001, MiTek has operations in more than 40 countries on six continents. Learn more: www.MiTek-us.com and www.MII.com.