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Activant Expands by Introducing Construction Services Tools
This month's feature, "On the Installment Plan" (page 52), reports on the plunge that many big dealers are making into installed sales. But the story didn't describe the hassles that some of those companies encounter when they try to adapt sales accounting systems designed for product sales to the very different world of installation services. We're told some dealers have had to hire people just to produce dummy accounts and then write up bills with a word processor, because it was the only way a multipart installation contract could be accounted for on their legacy systems.
Stories like that helped prompt technology provider Activant Solutions to release this month a "Construction Services Suite" of software modules for its Falcon platform. The Contract Billing, Installed Sales, and Job Costing modules contain features that meet installed sales' special accounting needs. For instance, Activant says, LBM dealers are accustomed to writing bills based on the materials sold, while in a typical construction services project, the materials and services are estimated and billed together. The Contract Billing module makes it possible to separate materials from the invoicing process. Likewise, the Installed Sales module lets dealers break projects down so that materials, labor, and time can be tracked according to each phase of the project.
The modules work only on the Falcon program. It's possible to get only the Contract Billing module without the others, but the Installed Sales module will work only if Contract Billing is installed; the Job Costing module requires both of the others to operate.
The modules' price will be tiered based on the user's size and needs, Activant officials say.
LBM Exec Meets Bush, Talks Immigration
While LBM executives generally steered clear of the Senate's rancorous debate over the immigration reform bill this summer, at least one lumberyard executive had a chance to tell President Bush face to face what he thought of the issue.
Brad Eiffert, vice president of Boone County Lumber Co., Columbia, Mo., met Bush at a June 1 White House meeting on immigration reform. Eiffert was part of a delegation of officials from major business-related trade associations invited by the Bush administration to confer with the president and his Cabinet, particularly Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez. Eiffert attended by virtue of his role as chairman of the board of the National Federation of Independent Business.
"He was sharing his passion about the issue," Eiffert says of the 35-minute meeting with Bush in the White House's Roosevelt Room. "There was some sincere give and take over the issue. ... Everybody acknowledged that something needed to be done. It's just a matter of what form it should take, and how we can make the burden on business something we can bear."
Concord Lumber Corp., Littleton, Mass., acquired Forester Moulding & Lumber, a Leominster, Mass.-based custom millwork manufacturer. The division, to be called Forester Millwork LLC, a subsidiary of Concord Lumber Corp., will be managed by former owner Bill Mischel. ...Stock Building Supply, Raleigh, N.C., has purchased all net assets of Hollow Metal Specialists Inc., Sarasota, Fla., in a transaction completed July 2. Hollow fabricates, distributes and installs commercial doors, hardware and access control devices for commercial businesses and institutions, such as universities and schools, hospitals, government and office buildings, and retail operations. Hollow had sales of $15.4 million in 2006. Mike Hilliard, Tim Hilliard and Patrick Hilliard will remain onboard as general manager, sales manager and operations manager, respectively. ...Pro-Build Holdings announced July 9 that it has bought the assets of Crosslin Supply Co., a distributor of lumber, millwork and building products in Nashville, Tenn. Financial terms weren't disclosed. Crosslin is a family-owned business founded in 1933.
Parr Lumber, Hillsboro, Ore., opened a new store and lumberyard June 23 in Ridgefield, Wash. ...Buffalo, N.Y.-based Len-Co Lumber opened July 16 a second location in Clarence, N.Y. ...Fisher Lumber Co.opened July 2 an unexpected new branch in Greensburg, Kan., roughly 90 miles west of its headquarters in Garden Plains. The new location is its way of helping the citizens in the tornado-ravaged town of Greensburg rebuild. Previously, the nearest LBM dealers were located more than 30 miles away. ...Larsen Bros. Lumber of San Leandro, Calif., marked 125 years in the business June 14. The building materials and custom millwork business is run today by Sam Larsen, great-grandson of Jens Larsen, who acquired the company in 1882.
Tom R. Schlueter was appointed July 2 as vice president of ECMC Inc., for the south-central United States. Schlueter has been working for the company since 2006. ...On July 2, The Parkside Group announced Kurt Dallesasse as its new director of purchasing. He brings with him 35 years of building product knowledge and leadership skills. ...John O'Loughlin was announced as senior vice president of human resources at Pro-Build Holdings He brings more than 30 years of experience to the Englewood, Colo.-based pro dealer. Pro-Build also announced the hiring of Mark B. Butterman as vice president and general counsel. ...Sid Spear was appointed vice president of sales for Simonton Windows. Spears had been serving as vice president of distribution for the Parkersburg, W.Va.-based manufacturer. ...Universal Forest Products (UFPI), Grand Rapids, Mich., announced a succession plan for two departing executives,Bobby Hill, president of the Universal Western Division, and Dick Frazier, president of the Southwest Region. UFPI Far West Region vice president Pat Webster will replace Hill, and Michael Dube, vice president of operations for the Southwest Region, will replace Frazier. Frazier will return to UFPI next January to work on special projects, including lean manufacturing and continuous improvement. ...Kamco Supply, Wallingford, Conn., hired Steven Adelman as regional sales manager. He will be responsible for the company's five New York branches: Albany, Buffalo, Glens Falls, Rochester, and Syracuse. ...Wade Jefferson, owner of Beaver Door & Trim in Orlando, Fla., was elected treasurer of the Florida Building Material Association.
A group of vendors and manufacturers has formed the American Pre-Hung Door Association(www.aphda.org), citing demand from the marketplace for an organization that serves the needs of the pre-hanging industry. The association's goal is to be the gateway for information, materials, machinery, and other business needs. Georgia Smith was appointed executive director. Corporate offices will be in Flower Mound, Texas, and executive offices will be in Palm Harbor, Fla. ...ABC Supply Co., Beloit, Wis., has received the Gallup Great Workplace Award 2007. Only 12 companies worldwide were chosen this year to receive the award, which ABC said recognizes companies with the most productive and engaged workforces. ...Metals USA Building Products, which acquired the assets of Dura-Loc Roofing Systemsin May 2006, changed the Dura-Loc brand name to Allmet Roofing Products, effective July 1. Metals USA also has enhanced certain products under its Signature Series line of Stone Coated Steel Roofing Panels.
Estimated number of decks in the United States that do not meet code. SOURCE: Simpson Strong-Tie
The average cost of retrofitting an interior room, depending on its size and shelter type, as an in-home hurricane shelter in Florida.
SOURCE: Florida Division of Emergency Management
Percentage of builders indicating they recycle the used rechargeable batteries from their power tools after they no longer hold a charge.
SOURCE: Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corp.
Percentage of full-time workers aged 18 to 64 at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers who say they've used alcohol heavily in the past month. Approximately 15 million heavy alcohol users hold full-time jobs in America.
SOURCE: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
The number of members of the U.S. Green Building Council as of July 5. SOURCE: USGBC
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Send your company's news, announcements, and events to Evamarie Socha, via e-mail esocha@ hanleywood.com or fax 202.785.1974.