We recently wrote about LaForce’s 2015 accomplishments, but it’s time to turn the page into the new year. Our leaders have many exciting initiatives planned for 2016. Let’s take a look at a few of them!
1) Additional Products and Services
At LaForce, we pride ourselves on deliberate growth that takes extensive planning. In the past six years, we opened five new locations in strategic markets: Indianapolis, Phoenix, Columbus, Appleton, and Austin. As these offices have been established and flourished, we have carefully grown each, so they can offer the full range of LaForce products and services. In 2016, we are especially developing the following areas:
a) Pre-installation Services will soon be added to newer offices, and Green Bay will have a second pre-install cell added. Pre-installation is growing in popularity due to several reasons, including: the shortage of qualified carpenters, limited space on construction sites, and the benefits from no additional on-site hardware rooms or dealing with incorrect door preps.
b) In addition, Specialties / Division 10 will continue to gain traction. Outside of the Wisconsin markets, many are not aware that LaForce is more than just a door/frame/hardware distributor. Therefore, in 2016, we are working to expand our Division 10 product lines so customers outside of just Wisconsin can experience “one stop shopping.” We hope that by introducing these products in some new markets, General Contractors will soon begin to realize that LaForce can provide the same level of service, knowledge and expertise in Division 10 products – and equally important, at a competitive price level.
c) Our Security Integration capabilities will continue to expand. This division not only supports our core business sectors with support and technical expertise, but also provides product knowledge and sales directly to customers. SI personnel will be added to a few select offices, and the entire business will continue to keep the company up-to-date on the latest developments in security and access control.
d) Lastly, Austin will start stocking aluminum components, based on a unique need in the Texas market, and our established office in Detroit will grow its facility by about 11,000 square feet. This will allow for more office and warehouse space and capabilities, to better serve the busy Detroit market.
2) Launch of Microsoft AX
A huge internal project for the past few years has been implementing our new ERP software package, Microsoft AX. This overhaul will affect nearly all LaForce employees and improve customer and vendor interactions. This Tier 1 enterprise business solution has been customized specifically for the door and hardware industry to provide tight integrations from order to fulfillment, using the products and process requirements unique to our industry. A large team of experienced LaForce employees have modeled and tested the software for several years to ensure a smooth transition for our customers and vendors. With AX, LaForce will be positioned with a comprehensive software platform that will take them into the 2020’s. Our customers will see increased speed and efficiency thanks to Microsoft AX.
3) Addition of LEAN Projects and Staff
A key hallmark of our founder’s personality was his philosophy of “it can always be better!” Joe LaForce encouraged people to challenge the status quo, and this value is baked into the culture of LaForce. We now follow LEAN Continuous Improvement Principles, which is a set of methods for identifying opportunities to streamline work and reduce waste. We will add a staff member in 2016 who will focus exclusively on applying these principles.
4) Small Projects Improvement
At LaForce, our large contract projects are only a portion of our business. “Small Projects” is an area that focuses on customer jobs that are less than ten openings. These types of projects prioritize speed and effective communication. In 2016, Small Projects Specialists will continue to streamline both internal and external communications, so that customers receive their quotes faster and get their questions answered quicker. In addition, the mentoring program that supports new employees will expand to veteran employees. LaForce is also looking to add additional personnel to support this growing division.
Later this month, we will be exploring this area in greater detail. Subscribe to this blog to receive the updated information.
5) New Paint Primer Line & Expanded Pre-Finishing Service
Lastly, a physical improvement that LaForce will see at its headquarters in Green Bay is the addition of a new, automated component paint line in this shop. This will allow us to deliver better primer paint quality and help with frame turnaround times. The line will be partially automated, delivering better consistency.
In addition, pre-finishing will continue to expand. Customers can look forward to more options for this service, which is more convenient and time-efficient.
Do you have an idea for the LaForce Frame of Mind? Is there something you’d like to learn more about, regarding the door, frame, and hardware industry in 2016? Please email Emily at firstname.lastname@example.org.