How Boise Cascade’s SawTek system transformed Talbert’s lumber business
Talbert Building Supply prides itself on service. From their extensive material selection to next-day delivery, their reputation is built on reliability. And providing reliability means adopting systems and processes to optimize efficiency and accuracy. Boise Cascade’s SawTek® automated saw system plays a key role in that mission.
SawTek is an all-in-one solution that combines software and saws for automated processing of engineered wood products (EWP). It creates efficiency and reduces waste for dealers. And builder customers save time and labor with pre-cut, pre-packaged, labeled framing materials, called job packs, delivered to the jobsite.
Talbert Building Supply has been a longtime user of the SawTek system for Boise Cascade EWP. They’ve been using the SawTek system since 2007, and upgraded to the SawTek Pro in 2018.
Talbert’s Estimating and EWP Design Team pair Boise Cascade’s software programs with two employees running the saw.
Boise Cascade’s software streamlines the process. Talbert’s Estimating and EWP Design Team pair Boise Cascade’s software programs with two employees running the saw. Boise Cascade’s software streamlines the process.
The BC Framer® software allows Talbert to create 3D models, analyze, generate construction drawings, and organize everything from Material Lists to price reports. The BC Connect® software enables Talbert to keep everything organized behind the scenes — organizing and tracking projects, determining the most efficient ways to cut the lengths and quantity of materials, and scheduling cutting dates based on available employee capacity and processing time.
When it’s time to cut a job pack, the Talbert team transfers the cut data to the SawTek Pro system. Lengths of the specified BCI joists are fed onto the infeed table. The saw’s automatic push feed moves the joist through processing, precisely cutting the joist to length. The system prints labels onto the joist flange which correspond with the installation layout. The job pack is complete before it even exits the SawTek Pro.
“Having the connection between BC Framer doing the design and BC Connect doing the optimizing allows us to eliminate a lot of waste,” explains Brent Davis, Estimating and EWP Manager at Talbert Building Supply. “We can be more productive with less manpower.”
We can be more productive with less manpower.Brent DavisEstimating and EWP Manager at Talbert
Talbert uses the internal metrics from SawTek, BC Framer, and BC Connect to monitor outputs and efficiencies. This data also allows them to identify trends and areas for improvement. Those small amounts of time savings add up significantly.
But it doesn’t stop there. Talbert has also drastically simplified their purchasing and yard operations with BC Connect. Rather than stock products in various pre-cut lengths and ship joists in nearest 1- or 2-foot increments, long lengths can be ordered and optimized to the nearest 1⁄4-inch, with unused offcuts tracked for use in future job pack optimizations.“Internally, it’s easier for me to order and be able to optimize out of long length material,” Davis says, noting the optimization and precision cutting SawTek provides reduces logistics and saves storage space.
The system also allows Talbert’s EWP team to increase production quickly when needed — without additional hands. “What’s running through the saw has been optimized — it’s what’s in the layout, versus off the rack where you’re pulling from different length stacks, then putting labels on by hand,” Davis says. “The saw does all of that for us.”
Internally, it’s easier for me to order and be able to optimize out of long length material
The benefits of a SawTek saw extend well beyond the yard. Talbert is able to offer value-added benefits to customers in the form of more efficient, accurate installation. That’s how Talbert Building Supply upholds the company’s reputation for great service — all while differentiating itself from the competition.
Customers love the simplicity of Talbert’s job packs. Floor framing packages come with an install guide, black-and-white and color layouts, and clearly labeled materials, packaged in order.
Those efficiencies are especially critical during a time of supply constraints and labor shortages.
The optimization that BC Connect provides ensures little waste for builders who follow the provided layouts, and eliminates guesswork for installers.
In fact, Davis says SawTek has helped convert some customers to using I-joists instead of dimension lumber because they like the method of installation and the ease of use. “They see we’re providing a good product,” he notes. “It’s lighter, more adaptable, can span farther, and handles better.”
Even for customers who don’t use Talbert’s EWP services, SawTek offers a differentiation that helps the dealer stand out. Customers who are searching for a new supplier are drawn to the future possibilities that Talbert’s EWP services offer. “From that standpoint, it’s a pretty big advantage. You get the sale because you have that ability,” Davis explains.
Builders can streamline the framing process and eliminate on-site cutting and waste. Installation time is decreased, as is the opportunity for errors.
One of the benefits of using the SawTek system is knowing that you’re never operating in a vacuum. Along with training and onboarding, the Boise Cascade team is always on standby to provide support when needed, whether training new employees, troubleshooting issues, or upgrading systems and software.
“I know if I call those guys up, they’ll help us out. Everyone is on the same page; it’s just easy,” Davis says. “Talbert has fully embraced our software and saw technology solutions, from BC Framer and BC Connect to the SawTek Pro automated saw system and SawTek analytics,” notes Chris Brandt, Boise Cascade’s Director of EWP Value Added Solutions. “They’re committed to working with our training and support teams to ensure associates know how to get the most out of the tools available to them. And their execution from design to optimization and job pack cutting has helped them differentiate themselves in their market as a provider of value-added solutions for EWP framing.”
It’s hard to understand how good it is when you don’t have it, but if you do get a SawTek saw system, you’re not going to want to go back to the way you used to do it.