In addition to shifts to accommodate the changing economy throughout 2020, LP sought to respond to ongoing industry trends, green construction, virtual design and construction and more. We recently discussed the upcoming year with many of our leaders to see what's next in the building industry in 2021.
How do you see the elevation of LP's brand purpose (Building a Better World™) helping drive business performance and outcomes in 2021?
Brad Southern, Chief Executive Officer: Business performance happens when you have an executable strategy. A strategy is centered on purpose. Our brand purpose rallies our LP team members to the ultimate reason we exist as a company, and it communicates to our customers and the communities we serve why we do what we do. Business performance is improved when people understand what they are working toward and are inspired by it.
Where do you see design technology, including new construction practices like offsite or modular construction, headed in the next year?
Mike Sims, SVP, Marketing and Business Development: I think companies that can execute on their promise, like Entekra, will see accelerated adoption and growth. Builders and remodelers need solutions that allow them to meet the needs of the marketplace for faster, better and more value-added solutions to building and home improvement. LP has positioned itself well to capitalize on these needs and requirements. For example, our investment in Entekra saw accelerated growth coming out of the pandemic-related slowdown.
What construction management software trends are you watching?
Brian St. Germain, Director of Siding Technology: Home visualization software and apps continue to be used more and more by various retailers, suppliers and customers. These tools have become very user-friendly and realistic, which really helps projects come to life.
Craig Miles, Director of OSB Sales and Marketing: The enhanced ability to video conference from mobile devices on ever faster cellular networks, like 5G, will push to virtual meeting space out of the home and even put it in the job site. This would enable virtual product inspections, installation classes and selling opportunities.
How do you see green construction changing in 2021?
Jeff Yelle, Director, OSB/EWP Technology: When we think about the trends in green construction, we should be including more than just the use of renewable and sustainable materials. We should also be considering the longer-term view of how homes are designed to reduce energy consumption, as well as structures that are able to better withstand significant weather events without damage. We have seen great strides in our industry around sustainable practices and more resilient building products. In 2021, I anticipate continued focus on building solutions and designs that take energy efficiency and performance to the next level.
How do you see resiliency improving in 2021, and what trends are you watching?
Yelle: I actually see resiliency as a key component in green construction and design. When products are able to withstand greater challenges from the environment, this translates to less rebuilding and in turn less waste and less energy consumption. I also believe we are going to see a continued convergence of resilient design and resilient solutions. I expect that we'll see less focus on the resiliency of individual products and more focus on how a system of solutions works together to add resilience to a structure.
Miles: With weather trends being what they have been, we are watching moisture and wind challenges pretty closely. As part of that, we have launched LP WeatherLogic panels in a Structural I formulation to better stand up to those challenges. Additionally, Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) zones will continue to remain a major issue following this year’s west coast fires. I would expect to see even more parts of the West begin to opt into greater adoption of the WUI type of guidelines.
What are trends you are watching that are driving product advancement or G&I?
Craig Sichling, VP, Specialty Sales & Marketing: Labor is still an issue. Therefore, our focus remains diligent on finding ways to reduce cycle time and labor cost. In addition, we are seeing professionals (contractors and shed manufacturers) increase their purchases from big box retailers during this pandemic, which begs the question-is that trend going to last?
What excites you most about the coming year for LP?
Trinh Le, Director of Business Development and Strategic Marketing: This past year showed us how resilient and adaptable our team could be. We started 2020 ready to accelerate marketing for the LP® SmartSide® Trim & Siding business. But, when COVID hit, it completely altered our way of thinking. The analogy I use is that we had been racing on a NASCAR track—fast but somewhat predictable—and we were suddenly behind the wheel of a Formula One race car. Instinctively we knew how to drive and we still needed to accelerate, but we were now faced with an entirely different course and a completely new vehicle. However, we moved quickly to dig into the digital tools and channels available to us in order to reach and support our customers. I'm excited to continue this evolution towards greater agility. Particularly, I see opportunities to leverage digital tools to demonstrate new products, find ways to work with dealers and suppliers to arm them with the tools they need to sell in products and continue the momentum we created in retail channels. I don't assume things are going back to the way they were, and that will continue to challenge marketers to think nimbly and continue to bring new ideas and approaches to the table that push us outside our comfort zone.
Sims: I am most excited about how we have transformed LP into an innovative, high-performing building solutions company. Top- and bottom-line growth at LP will be accelerated by a strong industry tailwind combined with growth in LP® SmartSide® ExpertFinish® siding, LP Elements® Performance Fencing and LP WeatherLogic® Air & Water Barrier. I am also excited about the next wave of innovation that LP has in the pipeline for 2021 and beyond.
Yelle: Considering the industry emphasis on resilient/green construction and LP's portfolio of building solutions, we are well-positioned to rise to the challenges ahead. We have a strong foundation of complementary building solutions, and we're pursuing several developmental technologies.
Southern: Soon, we can get back to working together at our Nashville corporate office; I can get back to the mills to see people and thank them for all the great work during 2020; and I can get back with our sales teams and customers and thank them as well.
St. Germain: The strong demand for all of our products will help accelerate our growth and increase demand for innovation to meet the current market challenges.
Miles: The pace of innovation and our ability to execute against it in 2021. From prefinished siding and fencing to a full line of LP WeatherLogic Air & Water Barrier, LP is poised to take the next step in fulfilling its promise as a solutions provider.
What excites you most about the coming year for the building industry?
Sims: The recovery in housing is long overdue and pent up, so this should allow for an extended runway for 2021 and beyond. Housing and repair and remodel are set up very well for a strong 2021, the likes of which we have not seen since the boom of 2003-2006.
Le: This year challenged our industry, as well as most others, to truly think outside the box or adopt new ways of thinking. We lean heavily on best practices because they are just that-the best, proven ways to do things. But COVID reared its ugly head and forced us all to pivot and think in ways we had not previously placed as much effort or, in some cases, never put forth effort at all. It will continue to make us think smarter, more broadly and, at times, in ways we've never thought. While I am realistic that we are not at the end of the global pandemic, I am optimistic that there will be an end. And at the end, I hope the industry continues the entrepreneurial spirit that was implemented during the height of the pandemic for all of us. That will make us stronger and challenge us to think harder, smarter and in new ways to support our mission of building a better world.
Sichling: People are valuing their homes as more than a financial asset. It's a place where you live, play and now work. Space and comfort have moved up the priority list, even at the expense of location.
St. Germain: There had been an increase in multi-family projects over the past few years, replacing many entry-level homes. Now, as a result of the pandemic, there has been a shift back to entry-level, single family homes. This is a good time for the industry to capitalize on this trend and find ways to build homes at lower costs.
Miles: I'm excited about the enhanced use of remote technologies. The industry's ability to take the efficiencies we have been forced into and use them to modernize our way of doing business has the potential to be a big step forward.
Southern: I am excited about being able to interact more personally with fellow LP'ers, our customers, our vendors and people in the communities we serve. It is not easy "Building a Better World" from your home office! Engagement, innovation and inspiration comes when people can interact in the community. While the virtual tools have certainly served a critical purpose, I hope the coming year allows much more direct person-to-person and team-to-team interaction.
2021 looks to promise continued opportunities for the building industry to grow and respond to your needs as a building professional. At LP, our robust portfolio of structural solutions and durable siding helps you build and remodel better. Check out more from our experts and start building with us today.
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