Labor Shortages for LBM: How to Leverage ERP Technology for Efficiency

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As the housing market continues its steady climb back to normal, pro builders are facing increasing challenges with labor-many trades who left the industry during the downturn didn't return, and the booming market is fueling demand more each day.


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The biggest challenge facing the LBM industry right now is the shortage of skilled labor. This is an issue across the country, and it is affecting both builders and dealers.

Cary Anderson, senior director, development, Epicor Software

Posted by Graham Rigby, Director, LBM Sales, Epicor Software

Labor Shortages for LBM - How to Leverage ERP Technology for Efficiency-side


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In fact, a June 2016 survey of single-family builders by the NAHB found that labor and subcontractor shortages are even greater than the same time a year ago. The practice areas most constrained are rough carpentry, finish carpentry, and framing; for framing, 27 percent of builder respondents reported a severe shortage and another 41 percent reported some shortage1.

Cary Anderson, senior director, development, Epicor Software, has been recently quoted saying, "The biggest challenge facing the LBM industry right now is the shortage of skilled labor. This is an issue across the country, and it is affecting both builders and dealers. Building a house is performed in stages-builders need access to different skilled workers at each stage, or the project will suffer expensive delays. Forward-thinking dealers are filling gaps in labor and providing value for their builder customers through well-managed installed sales programs. Epicor BisTrack™ software excels at managing large installed sales projects, with call-off orders, contract billing, and rolling job costing. It has helped pro dealers to be more profitable in their pre-fab and installed sales businesses."

For dealers offering manufacturing, software and other technology offerings are a crucial tool for optimizing logistics, ensuring accuracy, and maintaining efficiencies-notably to help compensate during labor shortages. These technologies can also enhance the value-add to customers.

"We're at a tipping point right now with manufacturing combined with technology," says Rick Schumacher, editor and publisher of LBM Journal. "If the dealer invests in technology that helps builders run their businesses more efficiently, that's worth a lot to the builder. And that speaks volumes."

To read the full "Manufacturing Competitive Advantage: How to Leverage ERP Technology for Manufacturing Efficiency and Customer Loyalty" white paper, click here.

1Emrath, Paul, "More Builders Report Labor/Subcontractor Shortages," National Association of Home Builders, June 28, 2016.

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