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April 5, 2006

Exploring the Supply Chain: Cooperative Research Project Launched

Washington, DC - Yesterday, at the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) 2006 Legislative Conference, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson announced that NLBMDA has been chosen as one of the recipients of the Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing (PATH) Cooperative Research grant.

This NLBMDA research project is an essential first step to identify opportunities for PATH to assist the homebuilding industry in getting new ideas and products to market. In addition, it will provide a rich baseline of data and understanding for anticipating further research and enable practical investigation of supply-chain enhancements to assist manufacturers now struggling to introduce new housing product innovation.

"I believe the project will further the HUD's research efforts and provide vital information for the future integration of building products in the construction supply-chain," said Secretary Jackson. "The resulting information will be beneficial in furthering our shared mission of increasing affordable housing and promoting home ownership."

The primary objectives of the research project are as follows:

  • Develop processes to access and integrate homebuilding product innovations into existing production builder supply-chains.
  • Evaluate opportunities to modify the homebuilding supply-chain to introduce innovative products.
  • Project the effectiveness and business viability of supply-chain modifications for selected homebuilding product innovations.

"Together, our team and this research will open a new area of opportunity for the PATH: the largely overlooked but critical supply chain link between homebuilding product manufacturers and home builders," said Shawn Conrad, NLBMDA President. "The research will introduce housing industry participants to new disciplines of supply chain design and management through the standardization work of the Supply-Chain Council and its Special Industry Groups."

There are many pre-construction parties that intervene between those tinkerers and innovators who generate new products for homes, and the builders and homeowners who decide to bring those technologies into their homes. Material dealers and suppliers are critical in this transfer of knowledge and goods. As the "point-of-sale" contacts for both builders and homeowners, dealers play a key role in transmitting information on the benefits-and, oftentimes, even the mere existence of-technologies. Many dealers have always been on the lookout for new products or materials that will help builders perform better and eventually help homeowners reduce costs. In short, dealers can and do add value in homebuilding.

NLBMDA members are an important and pivotal part of the building supply chain. Therefore, NLBMDA strives to be at the center of issues impacting the supply chain by uniting each segment of the channel under our organization's umbrella. NLBMDA has the ear and the active participation of the leaders of the homebuilding product supply-chain sector.

NLBMDA is contributing funds to this cooperative project, and is also coordinating with another major homebuilding supply chain study funded by PATH through the NSF at Virginia Tech.

Preliminary results will be available in late Winter 2006, with final results another year out.

For more information:

Kate Fried

Content updated on 4/5/2006

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