Looking to leverage your development's volume into greater buying power and more attention from manufacturers? Here's a handful of lessons from Dancing Waters.
Find A Champion. Without the commitment and enthusiasm of developer Terry Forbord, neither the builders nor the manufacturers at Dancing Waters would have enlisted in the group buying and marketing program.
Make Project Distinctive. Manufacturers wanted to be involved in Dancing Waters because they saw the Woodbury, Minn., community as a place to show off their products to consumers and builders interested in learning more. “We're always trying to identify destinations where people can get Andersen windows,” says Tim Carlson, a district sales manager for Andersen.
Propose The Program In Promising Areas. James Hardie joined the Dancing Waters program because, among other reasons, it considers Minneapolis/St. Paul and the surrounding suburbs an “emerging market” for Hardiplank, and it wants more exposure for its product.
Use Existing Supply-Chain Relationships. Group buys don't necessarily require a whole new distribution network. After working with participating manufacturers, Dancing Waters builders filled their orders with their current distributors and suppliers.
Think Big And Small. Dancing Waters is a sizeable community (1,148 homes), but you don't need a 1,000-home development to make this work. Participating manufacturers say they've done programs like this for communities as small as a dozen homes, depending on the market. That said, greater volume will generate more interest, support, and leverage.