A Game Changing Year for Sierra Pacific Windows
President Tom Takach talks about the major changes of this last year, and what’s to come.
The following is a candid exchange with Takach on the thinking behind its game changing 2017, and what’s to come.
What is it about the culture of Sierra Pacific that drives success?
Just by nature, we’re a family-owned company and have been since day one. Red Emmerson, the patriarch, along with his sons, George and Mark,
are running the company day in and day out. Red is still deeply involved and a dynamic leader of the company. Those guys set the tone for
the culture. They’re determined by nature, and work tirelessly in an effort to grow and improve the company.
We’re very innovative. We’re incredibly vertically integrated which gives us a great strategic advantage. And it gives us a speed-to-market advantage. We can make quick decisions. We can do a lot of the work that is necessary to develop new products ourselves.
At our core, we’re a timber and lumber company. We’re planting seedlings today for trees that we’re not going to harvest for 80 years. It takes us decades to grow our timberlands, but we can make decisions in minutes to change direction or make improvements in the company today. It’s a very interesting dynamic. Everything we think about is long term, but we can move so fast. We’re a very lean company.
Talk about the importance of vertical integration.
When you just look at it from a perspective of controlling our supply chain, obviously the biggest raw material that goes into a wood
window is wood. And that’s the supply that we truly have from seed to the wood parts that we machine. We are our own biggest source of supply.
That level of control, from a quality and cost perspective, drives the way we think about a lot of things. Even outside of our wood supply, we take that same perspective in our other manufacturing steps that a lot of our competitors don’t emulate. We’re one of the very few companies that insulate our own glass, for example.
Another key component is the powder coating of our aluminum. Ninety percent of the wood windows that we make are aluminum-cladded on the exterior. Consumers appreciate the wide variety of colors they can choose from, and the fact that they are not going to have to repaint their products. They are going to have a 20 or 30 year warranty on that aluminum clad exterior. We have all our own powder coating capabilities, so we powder coat all of our aluminum, which very few of our competitors do. This gives us great flexibility, and that’s how we’re able to offer a color palate of 75 clad colors.
Ultimately, vertical integration gives us a huge advantage. It gives us control of the quality of all those key processes. It broadens our overall offering.
What are your goals going forward?
Certainly our primary goal is just to grow our market share and the brand awareness of Sierra Pacific Windows. We have done
a pretty darn good job of developing strong brand awareness and market share out west. We’ve been out here promoting our
name for quite a while. We want to emulate what we’ve done west of the Rockies to the east of the Rockies. Two thirds
of the United States population lives east of the Rocky Mountains. We’re still a bit of an unknown brand to a substantial
part of the marketplace.
I think the combination of products and services we offer really brings something to that market. It brings a level of excitement and interest that maybe hasn’t been seen in the window business. That’s what we see as our biggest opportunity.
Why has Sierra Pacific Windows focused on hurricane-ready products?
Given what’s occurred in some coastal cities, and the horrible hurricane events just in the past year, it brings to mind
just how important the safety aspect of our products are. We are very focused on having a wide breadth of our products
available with that hurricane protection for those coastal markets that are at risk of hurricanes. We don’t want to be
limited in the products that we offer in those broad areas of the US – literally from the Gulf Coast of Texas, all
the way up the Atlantic coast. It’s a very big market and it’s a very real risk. We feel you get the beauty of the
products we offer, as well as the security that comes with that protection against those environmental hazards.
Our products are custom built products. Those homes built within close proximity to the ocean are built on expensive pieces of property by high end homeowners who have high expectations for the value of the product they put in their homes. They want a lot of choices, options and interesting and unique designs.
The technical aspect of hurricane-resistant products is substantial. It’s not only R&D. It’s critical that we have an understanding of the codes, and making sure our products are built, tested and approved for sale in hurricane zones.
Why do you think the market has been so responsive to the H3 line, and how are you handling demand?
It’s a combination of developing a great product offering that has all of the options that customers are looking for at a very good value. The H3 product line has absolutely skyrocketed for us. To that end, we just purchased a brand new building in California and all the equipment necessary to produce the H3 product line. So, we’re doubling our capacity for that product in 2018. It is demand-driven. Something we knew we would have to do. But we didn’t think we’d have to do it this soon.
One of your key initiatives has been the establishment of architectural consultants. How do you see that service benefiting architects?
It’s not necessarily new, but we’ve certainly expanded our focus and dramatically increased the number of people we have in the field
to get in front of the architects. We are getting our name out and getting more involved in the spec process. Having this expertise
is critically important, and we want to have it available and known to architects nationally. It’s a key component to our overall
sales effort. Both residentially and commercially, a lot of the projects that we want to be involved in are driven by architects’
specs. Having the tools and people available for those architects, is absolutely key to growing our overall brand awareness and
Architects have questions about the application of our products and how they fit into their specific projects. Things have gotten so complicated. And, as you expand the breadth of your product offering, it just multiplies that out farther and farther. Online resources are great, and our website is packed with information, but face-to-face availability is a wonderful resource.
Any last comments about the Sierra Pacific Windows game changing year, and what’s ahead?
I understand that everyone has great people, and can talk about the excellence of their team. But I really think that’s what
sets us apart. Between what we gained synergistically from our acquisition and the total of the people we have at Sierra Pacific,
our people really set us apart. We have so much experience and so much knowledge in the fenestration industry, it helps us continue
to move at the rapid pace we do. I really do feel that’s key to a lot of the success we’ve had.
As far as state of the industry, we’ve got a lot of tailwinds at our back. Overall, the housing economy looks strong. There’s a lot of opportunity out there. I see us leading the way with innovation. That’s helping to set us apart and helping give us a lot of opportunity. We’ve got a great breadth of product and great resources, services and warranties to support it. Our outlook is extremely optimistic.
ABOUT SIERRA PACIFIC WINDOWS
Sierra Pacific Windows is a division of Sierra Pacific Industries, a family-owned forest products company. Based in Red Bluff, California, Sierra Pacific Windows is one of the largest manufacturers of superior quality, custom wood and vinyl windows and doors in the world. It is the only fully vertically-integrated seed-to-window window and door company, in which the company owns the forestland and manages the entire manufacturing and distribution process. Sierra Pacific Windows has a combined manufacturing production space of over 2 million square feet in California, Wisconsin, and Alabama. Its windows and doors are distributed via more than 600 nationwide dealers, distributors and company-owned locations.
ABOUT SIERRA PACIFIC INDUSTRIES
SPI is a third-generation, family-owned forest products company based in Anderson, California. The company owns and manages over 2.4 million acres of timberland in California, Washington, and Oregon. Along with being a windows manufacturer, it is one of the largest US lumber and millwork producers. SPI is committed to managing its lands in a responsible and sustainable manner to protect the environment while providing quality wood products and renewable power for consumers. The company’s forests are certified under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative®. Sierra Pacific Industries utilizes nearly 100 percent of every piece of wood brought to its 18 sawmills and eight biomass-fueled cogeneration power plants.