Felix Vasquez thinks it’s time for the supply chain to evolve.
First off, he believes purchasing should be based on up-to-the-minute information and 24/7 communication. He thinks builders, trades, and suppliers should be electronically connected by systems that talk to each other so that orders and schedules are always up to date. And, when a delivery needs to be rescheduled or an order changes, a computer should automatically handle the logistics, freeing builders to sell more houses.
“We need everyone in the supply chain to be partners instead of competing with each other,” he explains.
Vasquez is bewildered by many builders’ approach of relying on one-off purchasing software that doesn’t interface with suppliers or contractors. “Every few years these companies are changing their technologies, but they should be focusing on building homes instead of dealing with outdated systems,” he says.
His company, Hyphen Solutions, is helping to lead the industry’s evolution via software systems such as SupplyPro and BuildPro. Clients include some of the largest home builders in the country (10 of the top 14), including Lennar, Shea, Beazer, and Ryland. In 2013, 96,000 U.S. homes were built using Hyphen software, and Vasquez predicts that number will rise this year.
The self-described computer geek, who is working on a Ph.D. in systems and engineering management at Texas Tech University, is driven to find new ways that technology can save builders money and time. He loves using his knowledge of computer systems to find inefficiencies in the industry, and the building company leaders he works with see the value in his approach.
“In my experience, I would tell you that home builders do readily adopt technology,” he says, “but it needs to be fairly easy to use with a low barrier to entry, and it needs to work in the way that they work.”