Blog for Building Materials Companies

Delivery as a Competitive Advantage in Building Materials

  |  Posted in Builders, Contractors, Dealers

Delivery as a Competitive Advantage in Building Materials

You want to stand apart from your competition. When customers talk about you, they should be saying that they prefer your company because there’s something you do better than anyone else in your industry.

Three Ways Delivery Can Give You A Competitive Advantage:

  1. Your customers want more certainty and capacity with deliveries.
  2. Your competitors are not offering the certainty and capacity they need.
  3. It’s faster, easier and less costly to implement than many of the other ways you could become the preferred supplier.

Providing superior levels of service to your building materials customers is becoming even more important than product and price, especially with your pro customers.

Delivery may have offered a competitive advantage in the past, but now that most building materials companies offer jobsite deliveries, it is seen more as a commodity. Even distributors who have specialty boom trucks are now commodities since their competitors have all acquired those same trucks.

That means your customers are less likely to recognize you for having outstanding delivery services. What they are likely to notice and remember, though, are the times when you let them down.

The construction industry used to simply accept the inefficiency and waste that were built into the system, including slow delivery times and shipment delays. With the advent of design-build and the move to offsite construction, however, the industry has shifted its focus to increasing productivity.

Contractors, builders and owners are highly aware of how much it costs them to spend extra time completing a project.

There are two ways a building materials dealer or distributor can cost your customer’s time. First, the manufacturer can have longer lead times or fail to deliver on time. This is mostly out of your hands. If a type of product has longer lead times, chances are those will affect every manufacturer.

What You Can Control is How Well You Handle Local Deliveries.

Contractors who focus on home improvement, residential or commercial new construction, or commercial repair or remodel have all changed. The contractor used to like to stop by and visit their local dealer or distributor. Now, they feel their time is better spent on other business issues. 

Likewise, they used to think nothing of sending a member of their crew to pick up materials for a job or to run for an item in the middle of a project. Now this is viewed as an unnecessary cost. Contractor profit margins are being squeezed, so they are looking for ways to eliminate inefficiencies like these.

Homebuilders and general contractors have always used “Just in Time” delivery because they have nowhere to store materials other than unsecure jobsites. Those jobsites are also exposed to the elements, which can damage those materials.

Everything is meticulously planned out by the day – sometimes down to the hour. It can be very costly not to have the right labor or materials at the jobsite at the right time. This used to be accepted as simply part of the business, but that is changing.

Builders And Contractors Pay Attention to Who Offers The Most Reliable Delivery Consistently. 

Building owners, developers, homeowners and home buyers are your customers’ customers. They expect projects to be done on time. That puts added pressure on everyone, including dealers and distributors.

Most building materials companies offer delivery on a “We do a good job” basis. And based on your definition of good, you may be correct – but you’re doing a good job in a world where good is no longer good enough.

When Amazon, FedEx, Uber and food delivery services are constantly raising our expectations for efficient delivery, it’s hard to compete.

Whether you have one delivery truck or a fleet of them, there’s a cap on your ability to provide great delivery to every customer. On some days, getting everything to everyone on time is not a problem. You can even handle last-minute emergency deliveries.

On other days, there’s no way to give everyone what they want. The volume of deliveries is just too great, a driver calls in sick, or a truck needs repair. You have to let someone down. Your disappointed customers won’t remember all the times you came through for them, but they will remember the times you caused delays.

How to Turn Jobsite Delivery Into a Competitive Advantage

How can you compete on delivery when almost all of your competitors offer it? The same way FedEx used it as a competitive advantage when there were already plenty of alternatives available.

We take FedEx for granted now, but when it started many of us had no idea how they would ever make it. Our expectations were based on the time and reliability we were used to getting from services like the postal service and UPS. We thought, “Jets are expensive, so FedEx’s delivery model must be expensive. There’s no way they’ll be able to get everywhere they need to go.”

They made big promises and that was reflected in their brilliant slogan, “When it absolutely positively has to be there!” That left an impression. Whenever we had anything that absolutely had to be somewhere on time, we’d think of FedEx. If we had a shipment that was too important to delay, we’d decide to give FedEx a try.

We weren’t disappointed by the service they gave us. That opened up new possibilities. It made us all consider the value of getting a shipment to its destination sooner and doing so reliably. Our customers started to realize the value of receiving those shipments sooner as well.

Even if you weren’t sending overnight shipments by jet, FedEx changed the world of delivery.

Whether the expectation is that your product will be delivered in the next hour, tomorrow at 7:30 am, or by tomorrow afternoon, what matters is certainty. Your customers now expect you to treat every delivery the way FedEx treated their shipments – as if it absolutely, positively has to be there. Because to them, it does.

Offering that level of service could make you a preferred supplier. You could do it by increasing your in-house delivery capabilities, but that’s not an affordable option. Even if you have the capital to make it happen, it’s better to invest it elsewhere.

Turn Delivery Into a Competitive Advantage By Outsourcing It.

There are many delivery services that you can use on an as-needed basis. However, most of them specialize in delivering smaller items directly to consumers.

Those companies are incredibly efficient, but they’re not equipped to handle the kind of stock and volume needed on the jobsite. For that, you need to work with a company that can provide heavy-duty delivery without long delays.

GoFor Delivers offers as-needed delivery services for the building materials industry. They have the vehicles to handle building materials and drivers who know how to deliver to commercial and residential jobsites. You can learn more about them and how they can give you a competitive advantage by clicking here.

Subscribe To My Newsletter

If you like what I say, sign up for my newsletter here and get my weekly newsletter every Sunday night.

What is the biggest challenge to your sales growth?

Contact me to discuss how I can help you grow your sales.

About The Author

I am the leading sales growth consultant in the building materials industry, I identify the blind spots that enable building materials companies to grow their sales and retain more customers.  As I am not an ad agency, my recommendations are focused on your sales growth and not my future income.

My mission is to help building materials companies be the preferred supplier of their customers and to turn those customers into their best salespeople. Contact me to discuss your situation.