LeDuc & Dexter’s warehouse is really more like a staging area for construction. It is here where all of the plumbing pipe, fixtures and valves are stored and readied for use in the field. Some specialty parts are ordered directly from suppliers to the field, but for the most part Steve Garner and his warehouse staff supplies the field workforce with the general plumbing materials they need on a daily basis.
Garner gets material orders from either LeDuc & Dexter’s residential or their commercial department. In the case of the residential department, subdivisions such as Vintage Greens have a number of floor plans that are repeated throughout the project. After LeDuc & Dexter have plumbed the model homes, the rough plumbing fittings that were required for each model are listed, pulled in the warehouse and pre-bagged for the rest of the project. The warehouse staff cuts and threads the gas piping from the master plans so that it’s ready to be installed when it arrives at the job site. Tub/shower valves are also soldered in advance at the warehouse along with preparation of faucets on sinks.
Not all of the plumbing material can be prepared in advance. Superintendents and plumbers on the job sites call the warehouse when they need materials due to changes and scheduling. “The phone can get pretty busy at the end of the day with calls for the next day,” says Garner, “sometimes the contractors change their plans and we have to change with them.” Most of the warehouse stock can go out with the field crews in the morning, but Garner is also responsible for getting material on demand to the job site if needed during each day.
Aside from the support Garner has from his staff of five people, he also relies on the plumbing suppliers to carry parts and supplies he doesn’t have in stock and, in many cases, deliver them to the job site directly. Garner says he’s in contact with Cal-Steam anywhere from 3 to 5 times a day with orders and some deliveries to job sites.
A few years ago LeDuc & Dexter computerized their warehouse inventory and the results have been beneficial to Garner and the company. “We don’t have to spend time counting parts and we can use the computer system for job costing,” explains Garner. The computerized inventory system is integrated between the purchasing department, the warehouse and the receiving department.