Five Questions With: Jonathan D. Wierengo, The Tapco Group
|Jonathan D. Wierengo is the Vice President of Marketing, New Product Development, Service and Support at The Tapco Group headquartered in Wixom, Mich. In this position, he manages all Marketing Communications, Channel and Product Marketing, New Product Development, Architectural Sales, Customer Service and Technical Support for all Tapco’s 11 brands. With 19 years of industry experience, Wierengo has held several senior leadership roles for market leading brands and organizations. In addition to his responsibilities at Tapco, Jonathan also sits on several boards or committees for industry trade associations and is a member of the Remodeling Futures Steering committee for The Joint Center for Housing at Harvard University.|
With housing and remodeling on a solid growth curve in most markets, what would you define as the clearest opportunity facing LBM dealers?
With the recent boom in the housing and remodeling industry, LBM dealers have an opportunity to provide builders, and homeowners, with innovative and uncompromising products that make their lives easier. Not just during the remodeling process but beyond, too. With less time to focus on regular upkeep of something as significant as siding, dealers can take advantage of homeowners’ desire for high-quality, low-maintenance building products. Natural cedar replacement is moisture proof and it doesn’t splinter, rot, delaminate or swell—the success of our Grayne engineered shingle indicates that this is the solution people seek. Because it’s easier to install and replace, and it generates much less waste than others in the market, builders love it too, giving them the ability to do more and make more. It’s a win-win.
On the flipside of that question, what do you view as the single biggest challenge facing dealers?
Faced with the reality of an aging workforce, one of the biggest challenges for LBM dealers today is their ability to hire qualified, promotable employees. Recruiting, training and retaining future management and sales leadership is absolutely critical for the success of any business within this industry and from discussions I’ve had, this concern is shared and top of mind for many dealers right now.
There has been a tremendous amount of consolidation in the LBM industry—among manufacturers and dealers. What do you see as the impact of consolidation on the LBM distribution channel?
We’re observing consolidation everywhere in this industry— from the manufacturer to the dealer to the buying group level. Additionally, manufacturers, dealers, and buying groups are getting more diversified in their product offerings, which will continue into the foreseeable future. With so many moving parts, the LBM distribution channel must—at each level—focus on partners that can help launch them into the future by assisting them in executing strategic plans and hitting their goals.
What one or two product trends are having the biggest impact for your company and your dealer customers?
One trend we’ve observed that is making a big impact on The Tapco Group and our dealer customers is dark siding and light trim, as indicated by the pairing of Grayne engineered shingles and Kleer trimboard. As homeowners’ become more educated on the benefits of cedar replacement, they’re beginning to seek these low-maintenance, premium products that provide high quality performance and durability, and striking aesthetics from the curb to the doorstep. To truly achieve the premium look and durability that will last a lifetime, the proven value of our Grayne product is complemented by a trim package, like Kleer. At The Tapco Group, we fully stand behind all of our brands and products, ensuring that our dealers can work with our product confidently to provide customers with the most premium product on the market.
With last year’s acquisition of Clubhouse Decking and the successful launch of Grayne Siding, there are now 11 brands under The Tapco Group umbrella. What should dealers look for from your company in the next few years?
As we launch into the next few years, dealers should look for continued innovation. We anticipate customers’ needs even before they do, and our history of innovation stretches back to 1961 with the introduction of the first-ever portable brake for the aluminum trim fabrication industry. It has continued through to the most recent launch of Grayne engineered shingles with its unique palette and proprietary coating process. We realize that it’s a quality that used to be novel, but now it’s expected and sought out from both builders and homeowners. At The Tapco Group, innovation is at our core, and we will continue to focus our efforts here to create beautiful, durable, technically advanced products to give our dealer partners a sustained competitive advantage.