Editor’s Note: Play your game

By / April 9, 2018

With a son who’s an avid hockey player and all-around sports kid, our household gravitates toward sports movies. Without a doubt, our favorite sports movie is “Miracle”—the true story of Coach Herb Brooks leading the underdog 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team to gold over the seemingly unstoppable Russian team. Near the end of the movie, with the U.S. team working desperately to run out the clock and maintain their lead, Coach Brooks yells to his players: “Play your game! Play your game!”

Coach Brooks’ message is just as applicable in life and our business as it is in sports. Provided we have the right team in place, with the right tools, and a plan—including an objective, strategies and tactics—we know what we need to do. It’s far too easy to get distracted by the competition, or by forces outside our control. The secret to success, in my view, is to assemble a well-oiled team, make sure they have the tools they need to do their best work, and that everyone knows their job, then get to work.

Whether it’s a hockey team or a business, mid-course corrections are inevitable. We may suffer an unexpected setback—like losing a player, or dealing with plain bad luck. But teams and companies who come out on top are those that focus on their goals, and who play their game.

Spring, and the unofficial start to the 2018 building season, has officially begun. For a growing number of LBM dealers, decking and outdoor living are a big part of their game plan. That’s why our April issue is devoted largely to this market (estimated at $7.1 billion back in 2016 by the Freedonia Group). Not only is it an enormous market, it continues to evolve faster than any other building material category. There are product choices at every budget, and the material options are greater than ever before. If your company doesn’t currently sell decking, I strongly encourage you to read the articles in this issue about decking products, fasteners, railing and accessories, and consider whether you may be missing an opportunity. And don’t miss this month’s profile on John Keller and Sequoia Out Back (“Decked Out”), to read a true success story about a deck-builder turned lumber dealer.

If decking isn’t part of your game plan, there’s still plenty in this issue for you. This month’s Real Issues. Real Answers. feature focuses on the age-old struggle between margins and market share. Read selected verbatim answers from the nearly 200 dealers who took time to respond and share whether margins are key, or if their company will concede margin to gain market share.

There’s lots more in this month’s LBM Journal—which, coincidentally, is the second biggest issue since we launched back in 2003.

Lastly, if your company’s game plan includes out-performing your competition, and learning best practices from leading minds in our industry, then I encourage you to mark your calendar for the LBM Strategies Conference 2018, Sept. 19-21 in Philadelphia. Registration is open, and early bird rates are available for LBM dealers and wholesale distributors. Learn more at LBMStrategies.com.

Rick Schumacher

Rick Schumacher is the editor and publisher of LBM Journal, and has more than 25 years experience covering the industry. [email protected]