By Brian Miller
One of our most important jobs as a building products manufacturer is making sure we’re positioned to serve growth markets of the future. As we do so, we must also devise ways to supply these markets using the most efficient, state-of-the-art production processes. At ProVia we have major initiatives underway that fulfill these goals. Here I’d like to share our progress in the area of manufactured stone, plus what this means for our dealers, distributors and ultimately the homeowner.
Stone adds texture and complements other elements of the home's exterior. Shown here are ProVia products: siding in Antique White and Nautica, Ohio Vintage Limestone, and entry door in Pecan (photo from ProVia’s Designer Collections lookbook).
Heritage Stone by ProVia® has grown significantly since we purchased the company in 2011. Manufactured stone has tremendous visual appeal because it adds texture and complements many other types of products, such as vinyl siding and entry doors. It can be used on the exterior or interior of a home or commercial building.
Stone’s growing popularity is driven by the extremely authentic looks that can be accomplished with today's manufacturing technology. We don’t envision that this will slow down. In fact, we anticipate that over the next couple of decades, manufactured stone will be a continuously growing product line.
ProVia’s New Manufactured Stone Facility
We recognize that we need to be well positioned for the upcoming growth of the manufactured stone market. In November 2014 we broke ground for a new stone manufacturing facility in Sugarcreek, Ohio. The new facility for Heritage Stone will replace the existing plant located in Zanesville, Ohio, and will include the latest production technology to optimize quality control and manufacturing efficiency. As you can see in the photo below, the construction progress on the facility is moving along quite nicely.
Progress in the construction of ProVia's new manufactured stone plant (photo taken by drone-mounted camera, May 2015).
When we move our stone operations into the new facility near the end of this year, we will have greatly expanded our production capacity. In fact, we’ve established a plan that allows for ten years of robust growth before new capacity needs to be added, and we’ve incorporated expansion capabilities into the facility that will take us beyond ten years.
Beyond Capacity: Other Benefits
Of course it’s exciting for all of us to participate in this growth market. But there are other valuable benefits as well:
- Lead Time for Orders: With sales increasing, some stone manufacturers will have difficulty keeping up with orders. It’s a known fact in our industry that it’s not easy to create new capacity overnight, and those who are not prepared will experience the unfortunate situation of longer lead times. By preparing for increased production with our new facility, we’ll be well equipped to maintain best-in-class lead times.
- Maintaining Color Consistency: At Heritage Stone we take great care to deliver consistency in our colors, so they remain true from batch to batch. In our new facility we’ve taken steps to maintain this high standard, even with an increase in production. We’re installing a highly sophisticated water treatment system that will make sure every batch of water we use is exactly the same pH level, and that it doesn’t have any contaminants in it. We’re also retaining the same raw material suppliers. You can expect to see consistency in our stone colors, which has always been a big factor in the appeal of our manufactured stone products.
If this seems like a big undertaking…it is! Yet we expect big results from this large investment. It’s the strength of our existing stone team that’s allowing us to take this step into the future of our business. Our people will take the advantages this facility provides and leverage them to deliver even better service, quality, and efficiency than our customers already receive from us today.
As we grow, one of the most important things we want to ensure is that we do it responsibly. I’m a believer that companies need to grow in order to flourish. However, we have no desire to grow for growth’s sake. We want to grow because it’s best for our customers and it’s best for our employees. I think this is aligned with ProVia’s purpose, vision, mission, and values. We will use our resources wisely, and we’ll provide our customers with products and services that will help them be successful, now and in the future.
This is Part 1 in our series on expansion projects at ProVia. Stay tuned for more exciting info about these initiatives, and the benefits they’ll provide for our customers.