Company: LS Building Products
Industry: Wholesale Building Materials
Headquarters: East Peoria, Illinois
LS Building Products serves professional builders and remodelers with high-quality residential and commercial wholesale building materials. LS Building Products is headquartered in East Peoria, Illinois, and has 4 locations that include East Peoria, Champaign, Springfield, and Pontiac, Illinois.
LS Building Products was looking to consolidate its steel strapping spend to a trusted supplier at a great cost and value.
For Mike Heavilin, Lumber Purchasing Lead at LS Building Products, safety and handling at a reasonable cost were his two main priorities in selecting a supplier. “Safety was definitely a concern, especially the cutting, removing and disposing of steel strap.”
LS Building Products and its divisions have been channel partners with LINC Systems for nearly 20 years, primarily purchasing collated fasteners. As the relationship evolved, LS Building Products began consolidating their steel strapping spend with LINC Systems. When the price of steel continued to rise, LS Building Products shifted their steel strap spend to another supplier that provided a lower bid at the time. However, while price remained a driving factor in their strapping selection, the team at LS Building Products knew that they needed to address safety concerns as well.
In February of 2022, LS Building Products contacted LINC Systems with a request for quote (RFQ) on steel strapping. LINC Systems knew that to provide the best operational results and service possible, they needed to see the operation firsthand.
Nathan Bode and Norman LeBlanc, Channel and Territory Managers at LINC Systems, went onsite to the East Peoria location, toured the lumberyards, and spoke to the leadership, foreman and employees in the yard. They discussed potential operational improvements, such as mounting forklifts and dispensers to make the work easier, safer, and more convenient for the workers.
Using expertise gained from years in the industry, Bode and LeBlanc could see that LS Building Products required more than a one-size-fits-all solution. They identified variations in the strapping needs and proposed woven solutions that provided the right amount of break strength for better load security. They demonstrated how to use the products and tooling to the employees. Bode and LeBlanc also adapted solutions to fit different use cases.
Pricing remained a driving factor in LS Building Products’ purchasing requirements. So, Bode and LeBlanc created a worksheet that showed both the direct and indirect (and potentially unrealized) costs of steel strapping compared to those associated with woven polyester strapping from BOSS Strapping.
The side-by-side comparison evaluated the end-to-end costs of steel strapping and woven strapping and demonstrated potential cost savings. LINC Systems evaluated:
- Purchase price
- Cost per foot
- Strap width
- Strap weight
- Coil length
- Break strength
- Monthly and annual buckle/seal costs
- Tensioner costs
- Crimper costs
- Banding cutter costs
- Average lifetime tooling costs
- Projected tooling maintenance costs
- Average monthly weight of coils moved through the yard
In addition to providing a cost and functionality breakdown, Bode and LeBlanc left product samples of the woven strapping coil, buckles, and tensioning tools for the LS Building Products team to get a hands-on feel of the products before the sale.
Due to the trust gained over 20 years, LS Building Products allowed LINC Systems to immerse itself into its operations, involving the entire team in the process. As a result, LINC Systems was able to provide customer-focused solutions that made sense for LS Building Product’s budget and operations.
“We spent time with them, using the products and moving lumber,” said Bode. “All of a sudden, the employees in the yard saw the benefit of the woven strap. I like to think we gained the respect of the LS Building Product team.”
In addition to the projected cost savings, switching to woven strapping from BOSS Strapping had other benefits that included:
- Lighter strap weight for improved workers’ ergonomics and safety
- Reduced worker injuries and worker compensation claims
- Less bulky coils, allowing for more cost-effective shipping and handling
- Greater tensile strength than steel
- Less storage space required
- Safer product options for LS Building Products’ customers
Woven strapping not only improved the safety of LS Building Products employees but their customers as well. The average steel strap coil is heavier, weighing approximately 100 lbs., whereas woven polyester strapping weighs only 50-55 lbs. Additionally, a coil of woven strapping often contains 50%-70% more feet per coil. Since woven strapping is safer to apply and remove than steel strapping, it results in less risk of employee injury from sharpened edges.
“From the storage side, one pallet of woven strapping takes up a lot less space than 10-12 pallets of steel strapping,” said Heavilin.
“Contractors are telling lumber yards to stop bundling lumber with steel strap because they have to cut it and dispose of it,” said Bode. “That steel strap is sharp; someone can cut themselves on it or step on it.”
Supplier consolidation is another key benefit of working with LINC Systems, as they offer a wide variety of packaging, industrial and safety tools and products “It's convenient,” said Heavilin. “Strapping isn’t the only thing we buy from them. I order more than one thing. If I was in a pinch, but didn’t need a full pallet, I could order just a couple of rolls and add it to an order. I don’t have to spend as much each time just on strapping.”
Heavilin also appreciated the personalized attention and training they received from the LINC Systems’ team. “It helped our employees because they could see the products in action,” said Heavilin. “They didn’t have to figure it out for themselves.”
“Norman and the LINC team understand our business very well and they are reliable. I never have to worry about waiting for an order to arrive. They communicate any potential order issues upfront, so you are never left wondering. We know where we stand.”
The feeling is mutual. “I’ve been working with these guys for nearly 20 years and they are wonderful to work with,” said LeBlanc. “They’ve become like best friends over the years.”
Since February of 2022, LS Building Products has expanded the use of BOSS Strapping woven products from LINC Systems to their other five locations.
About LINC Systems
For over 35 years, LINC Systems has been serving the industrial manufacturing industry with fastening products, pneumatic tools, automated packaging solutions and industrial supplies. LINC Systems offers tool repair, equipment installation and safety training to help business work safely and productively.