When Chuck Chippero entered the purchasing side of home building in the midst of the recession, his previous manufacturing experience gave him an advantage. He originally joined PulteGroup 13 years ago to lead vertical integration operations, but the firm decommissioned those functions during the downtown, turning instead to the trade community. That’s when he entered Pulte’s purchasing business.
“I had insight into what it took to get the job done from a distribution standpoint, a manufacturing standpoint, as well as an install standpoint,” he says, which has helped him decrease waste and increase transparency.
Chippero has been part of the industry’s supply chain transformation, executing new purchasing processes and looking to better manage costs. After the recession, “builders took on more responsibility to own the materials and the processes that lead to building a house,” he says. “Although that puts more of a burden on the builder, it’s a more efficient way overall to transact.”
While there’s been progress, Chippero believes there’s room to improve. He cites demand planning and level scheduling as two areas where builders typically fail to provide accurate information to trade partners, making it difficult for them to plan proficiently.
Emerging technology shows promise for assistance. New tools will allow builders “to go from art to parts,” as Chippero puts it, providing construction documentation and bills of materials on the lot level. With that information, trade partners and distributors know exactly what builders need, rather than having to guess. “When builders can get to that level, the opportunity for efficiency gains is very significant,” he notes.
In addition to being open with supply chain partners, Chippero believes high-level collaboration and sharing of best practices among builders can benefit everyone. “The reality in this industry is that if there is a best practice, it really is much more efficient when others adopt that same practice and it becomes more of an industry standard.”