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Lumberyard Ambassadors - Partnering With A Lumber Dealer’s Yard Staff

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Fri, Jan 18,2013 @ 10:54 AM

Lumberyard Ambassadors - Partnering With A Lumber Dealer’s Yard Staff

Lumberyard Staff Training



Several recent surveys and polls indicate that contractors, when they have more than one option to consider, put a lot of weight on relationships when they share why they choose one lumber yard or supply house over another. Let’s face it, whether shopping at a lumber yard or at your local grocery store, when you enjoy some type of positive and mutually beneficial relationship with the employees representing that business you become much more motivated to stick with that business and even refer others to that business.   Good lumber dealers know this and make it a priority to offer training and mentoring for their employees.

Seminar for Yard StaffEarlier this week I presented a webinar hosted by The Northeast Retail Lumber Association (NRLA) and sponsored by The Lumber and Building Material Dealers Foundation (LBMDF).  LBMDF supports and advances the educational and charitable programs of the NRLA.  The webinar was for lumber dealers’ yard staff.  The purpose of the webinar was to help yard staff see and take advantage of how their efforts can help the lumber dealer they work for, the contractors they serve, as well as the yard staff employees themselves. I like to refer to them and hope they see themselves as “Lumberyard Ambassadors”

During the webinar I asked the attendees to share their suggestions for how contractors could help them do their jobs better and make their jobs more enjoyable when doing so. 


Here are some of the suggestions they had to offer and some of my thoughts as well

Yard Employee TrainingAs a contractor please don't come in with a bad attitude.

This one can go both ways.  Actually, it was also on my list of pet peeves to share with the attendees!  Contractors and yard staff can both have legitimate reasons to be in a bad mood.  However, it doesn’t mean that bad moods need to be shared or demonstrated by either party.  As professionals we all need to control our emotions.   Plus, if you let your bad mood effect how you interact with lumber yard staff, they might just be inclined to return the “favor” the next time you’re in the yard.


Better planning by contractors. When we have to go out multiple times to one jobsite it costs us time, when we could just go there once.

Lumber Yard employee trainingI shared with the attendees that this was one of those things I have been working on for years; trying to help contractors and their employees improve their processes and even use checklists to help make sure everything is on the job site before it is needed.  Here’s the thing; making multiple trips cost both the contractor and the lumber dealer money that could be better invested elsewhere.  Plus, if as a contractor your employees aren’t smart enough or don’t care enough to plan ahead, it might be time to find new employees who can and will plan ahead.  If you or your employees need training to help curb this problem, consider attending this production workshop.


My drivers need good directions from the contractors; many times the contractor isn't very helpful.

Yard staff webinarAgain, I think this is one that both the lumber dealer and the contractor can share responsibility in.  Whoever takes the order at the yard needs to ask for directions and should also probably make a point of always asking if there is anything they should know that would help the driver find the right location for the delivery.  At the same time I think contractors should also be proactive by speaking up and offering advice if they know their job site is difficult to find or access.   Posting a job sign in a visible location could be helpful.  Also, if there’s no room to turn around to strategically drop a load where you want it, why not suggest that the driver back in from the street when you’re placing your order.

Bottom Line

By fostering a good working relationship, contractors and lumber dealers’ yard staff employees can both make their jobs and their day much more enjoyable.   And keep in mind; each has an opportunity to set the example for their peers.  Many thanks to the webinar attendees for sharing their thoughts!


Have a suggestion to add to the discussion?  Please share it by leaving a comment below.



Topics: Working with Vendors, LBM Related Topics, Production Considerations, Building Relationships