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Can Better Communication with Trades Mitigate Shortages?
John Caulfield / BUILDER / May 17, 2013
Production builders look for ways to close gaps in their supply-chain management.
It’s dawning on more production and custom builders that the problems they’ve been experiencing with rising costs and limited availability of construction labor and materials are not going away, and could become more acute as housing demand continues to pick up.
“Our supply chain is looking for signals on how fast to grow,” said Ken Pinto, vice president of supply chain for Hyphen Solutions, which provides software that connects builders with their suppliers and trades. The problem, he says, is that trade partners “often have bad information.”
During Builder’s Housing Leadership Summit in Arizona last week, Pinto moderated a discussion with three national builders—Jeff Allgood, corporate director of strategic solutions for Taylor Morrison; Chuck Chippero, national director of strategic sourcing for PulteGroup; and Bill Harrill, vice president of national purchasing for Meritage Homes—who offered insights into how their companies are reaching out to trades and manufacturers to meet their production requirements in an increasingly more competitive environment.
The starting point was the panelists’ not-so-shocking revelation that the housing industry’s supply-chain management often leaves something to be desired. “This industry has been woefully inefficient” in coordinating and managing purchasing and construction, said Allgood. To bring a measure of predictability to this process, Taylor Morrison is focusing more on evenflow scheduling and production.
Chippero added that PulteGroup is attempting to help its trades use their people and equipment more effectively by keeping subs in the loop through “capacity demand planning” that revolves around “job readiness,” scheduling and organization.