Two of the nation's leading experts on using Six Sigma lean manufacturing techniques to turbocharge LBM operations will take the stage in San Antonio during the ProSales 100 Conference this coming March 1-3, ProSales announced today.

Randy Aardema, an executive vice president at US LBM, and Todd Drummond, owner and head of Todd Drummond Consulting, will not only discuss projects they've worked on to incorporate Six Sigma to the factory floor but also have they've helped teach all sorts of LBM workers to think about how to work more productively. One example is US LBM's US 1, an educational program based on Lean Six Sigma principles tht empowers employees to develop new ideas that will improve the customer experience and simultaneously make the company more efficient. The program is this year's winner of a ProSales Excellence Award for achievements in education.

Six Sigma is a disciplined, data-driven, philosophy that aims to reduce error rates and, by extension, increase customer satisfaction. While it began with assembly-line work, the approach has been embraced by other parts of companies, including sales, accounting, and even management. Often it's linked to lean manufacturing, in part because moving to simpler, more consistent systems can reduce error rates.

Randy Aardema, VP, US LBM
Randy Aardema

Aardema is responsible for supply chain, logistics, manufacturing operations and operational excellence. Some of his innovations helped US LBM become ProSales' Dealer of the Year in 2015. One example of his team's work was a redesign of facilities according to lean management techniques that, at one yard, reduced forklift driving distances by 30% for most loads, improved traffic flow, and cut labor distribution costs as a percentage of yard revenue by 23%. He has been a Six Sigma Master Black Belt for more than a decade.

Todd Drummond, Consultant and Lean Manufacturing expert
Todd Drummond

Drummond is best known for his work with wood truss and wall panel manufacturers. He has held management positions in design, production and sales for several companies since 1988 and has been a consultant for roughly 15 years, working with more than 90 companies. Todd Drummond Consulting is Lean Six Sigma certified.

The ProSales 100 Conference brings together executives from the nation's biggest lumberyards and specialty dealers for insights, information, and inspiration. All three will be offered up by 2017's keynoter: John Grotzinger, chief scientist and head of strategic science planning for NASA's $2.5 billion Curiosity rover mission to Mars--the most complex spacecraft ever to land and operate on another planet. Grotzinger led a team of more than 450 scientists as they worked through enormous challenges inherent in a mission whose objectives continue to fascinate explorers, entrepreneurs, and filmmakers today. Since 2003, Grotzinger also has worked on the Spirit and Opportunity rovers; the latter vehicle found evidence for liquid water. He also has led field missions to arctic Canada, Siberia, Africa, and Oman. For his space efforts, Popular Mechanics named Grotzinger No. 2 on its list of “10 Innovators who Changed the World.”

Aside from the Six Sigma panel and Grotzinger, this year's conference also will include:

  • An executive panel with leaders from companies like Hancock Lumber, GMS, 84 Lumber, and McCoy's Building Supply.
  • A focus on mergers and acquisitions that will bring together the CEOs of US LBM and Kodiak Building Partners--L.T. Gibson and Steve Swinney, respectively--with the founder of equity firm Building Industry Partners, Matt Ogden, and CNRG COO John Sieggreen.
  • A special economic outlook from Metrostudy chief economist Mark Boud.
  • A special session on home health, led by Hayward Lumber's Bill Hayward and a Seattle remodeler who specializes in healthy homes.
  • A panel of future leaders featuring the ProSales Four Under Four Class of 2017.
  • Sales insights from "Sell Sheet" columnist Rick Davis.
  • And editor-in-chief Criag Webb's updated "60 Ideas in 60 Minutes."

The conference is open to executives of lumberyards, specialty dealers, and distributors. Click here to get details and register to attend.

Attendance for building product manufacturers is limited to sponsors. To become a sponsor, contact Dan Colunio.