Made in the USA: CertainTeed Invests in Infrastructure to Keep Contractors on the Cutting Edge
In June, CertainTeed Corporation commemorated the opening of a new, state-of-the-art roofing product warehouse located 60 miles west of St. Louis in Jonesburg, Mo. The 150,000-square-foot warehouse is just the first phase of a planned $100 million complex that will serve as the Midwestern production and distribution site for all of the company’s high-performance roofing products. A 60,000-square-foot manufacturing facility that will produce CertainTeed’s Landmark™ shingles is now under construction at the same location, and the company plans to have it up and running in 2016.
As part of Roofing Contractor’s Made in the U.S.A. series, Tom Smith, president of CertainTeed Roofing, shared his insights on how the new investments fit into the company’s overall strategy.
According to Smith, the new warehouse offers tremendous storage capacity and the latest tools and equipment — all in the ideal spot. “This location is an excellent complement to our network of manufacturing locations in the United States and Canada, and it will ensure efficient, local order delivery to Midwestern customers as well as allow us to assure a reliable source of supply throughout North America,” Smith said. “Coincidentally, CertainTeed was founded over a century ago in St. Louis, and we’re proud to once again have a home base in this area. The Jonesburg facility will bring approximately 100 new permanent jobs to the local community over the next few years, along with an estimated 400 ancillary local jobs in trucking, welding and maintenance services.”
According to Smith, this plant was designed with future growth in mind. “When you consider the fact that we already have excellent facilities positioned in Texas, Ohio and Minnesota, locating a fourth plant in this region will significantly bolster our ability to optimally service customers in the Midwest part of the United States,” he said. “The construction of this plant, and its key positioning, will help prepare CertainTeed to meet increased market demand for asphalt shingles and reinforces the company’s commitment to top-notch service and easier access to existing and future customers.”
It’s all part of an ongoing effort to increase efficiency and minimize impact on the environment. “In addition to making investments to improve production process efficiencies, we continue to modernize our manufacturing facilities to ensure that we maintain safe, energy efficient and environmentally friendly workplaces,” said Smith. “Due to its strategic location, the Jonesburg facility further supports our philosophy of establishing manufacturing in close proximity to market demand in order to meet customer’s increasing expectations for a cost-effective and reliable supply. In addition to the Jonesburg facility, CertainTeed operates 10 asphalt shingle plants, one low-slope commercial roofing facility and three stand-alone granule production plants throughout the United States.”
Everything is designed to help the company meet the needs of its customers in the most efficient method possible. “We have an exceptional logistical team coordinating shipments between 12 warehouse locations across the United States,” Smith said. “This network provides building professionals with access to a full range of commercial and steep slope products, and by offering truckloads of mixed-inventory, we present our customers with cost-effective options for managing their inventory.”
Smith noted the company strives to minimize waste as it looks to maximize efficiency. “CertainTeed is committed to resource conservation, and pre- and post-consumer recycled content accounts for a significant percentage of the materials we use to manufacture many of our roofing products,” he said. “Each year we divert more than 250,000 tons of slag, stone granules, corrugated mixed paper and sludge from landfills by recycling these materials into our products. Further, our roofing manufacturing facilities recycle close to 90 percent of production waste into asphalt materials used for the construction of roads, and we also integrate recycled content into many of our packaging materials.”
Committed to Helping Contractors
Through every step of the planning process, the focus is on the installing contractor, according to Smith. “CertainTeed’s increased capacity assures our community of distributors and contractors a continuous supply of our most popular product line, Landmark, and further reinforces their confidence in promoting our full roofing product line and accessories for remodeling and new construction projects,” said Smith.
“At the core of CertainTeed’s contractor program is the belief that the professional roofing contractor controls the brand recommendation to the homeowner. For this reason our top priority is to establish long term contractor relationships and we are fully committed to provisioning contractors with the high-quality products and marketing tools they need to secure growth and profitably.”
The company keeps an open dialogue with contractors to ensure it can meet their needs. “We are heavily invested in the process of gaining contractor feedback, and conduct over 70 formal meetings every year with roofing contractors who are, and are not, part of our contractor program,” said Smith. “These meetings are held in locations across the United States and are our best source for gauging both the business priorities of our contractors and the driving factors under which they make product selections.”
Recent products developments include expanded availability of the company’s new Patriot™ metric shingle and the launch of a new line of ventilation products. “Part of the CertainTeed Integrity Roof System®, the new product line includes CertainTeed® brand Ridge Vent, Rolled Ridge Vent and Intake Vent,” said Smith. “These new products feature proven, effective technology for shingle roofs in all climates and come with a lifetime limited warranty and 5-year SureStart™ Protection, which lets our customers know that we stand behind every system component.”
To keep contractors on the cutting edge, ongoing training is essential, and the company provides several avenues for contractor education. “In addition to our residential and commercial roofing contractor credential programs, CertainTeed also offers some of the best installation and product knowledge training programs in the roofing industry today,” Smith said. “With these programs, it’s easy for contractors to set themselves apart from the competition. They can learn about the latest roofing products and sales strategies, and familiarize themselves with the shingle installation guidelines needed to become a Shingle Quality Specialist™ or a Master Shingle Applicator™. CertainTeed also offers the industry’s strongest professional trade knowledge through the Shingle Technology Manual and Shingle Applicator’s Manual.”
The company also maintains a fleet of eight CertainTeed Roofing mobile training vehicles, as well as a dedicated CertainTeed Roofing Facebook page that provides useful information to contractors around the country.
Keeping everyone in the industry up to date on codes and regulations is a key focus, and Smith pointed to developments in shingle testing as one area to keep an eye on. “For a long time our industry has followed the product test of ASTM D3462, with almost all manufacturers achieving these prescriptive requirements,” he said. “Recently, a shingle performance test protocol has been introduced by the International Code Council Evaluation Service (ICC-ES) under AC438. CertainTeed is completely open to alternate and more stringent means of product testing being introduced to our industry. We believe that performance testing can provide customers a means to differentiate manufactures product performance, yet we are concerned that some aspects of AC438 — such as lowering the fire resistance standard from a Class A fire rating to a Class C fire rating — are major steps backwards. With this in mind we are making proactive efforts to participate in ICC’s code development process in support of establishing performance testing as advancement over prescriptive testing.”