Low supply, high demand: Here’s how our team is adapting amid nationwide shortages
The Suncoast’s housing market has remained one of the hottest across the country. And, as you’ve probably noticed, whether you’re browsing at the grocery store or have a few improvement projects in store for your home, merchandise and materials are reaching shelves at a snail’s pace. These supply chain issues – a byproduct of the pandemic – have permeated the residential construction industry, and our team at Lee Wetherington Homes, like every homebuilder nationwide, is no exception to these unprecedented delays.
However, that hasn’t prevented us from providing a consistent customer experience – one uniquely centered on comfort, quality, and attentiveness – while building beautiful, forward-thinking custom homes that last a lifetime. You, like many Suncoast homebuyers, probably have questions about how we have and continue to best serve customers through the pandemic and beyond. And our CEO, David Hunihan, is shedding light on how we’ve creatively adapted!
Q: Has the pandemic helped Lee Wetherington Homes evaluate, refine and improve customer experience?
A: The customer experience has – and always will be – our team’s priority. There was a time last year when our backlog increased due to unusually high demand, and we sold more homes than we normally handle in our system. This extended construction cycle times (especially the pre-construction process before the home starts construction), and in the interest of ensuring our customers come first, we limited our monthly sales moving forward.
We’ve since caught up, and preconstruction is running smoothly. A great example is that the time it takes, from when a purchase agreement is signed to the start of a plan, was reduced from several months to just weeks. During construction, as many people know, delays are due to supply chain disruptions and a shrinking labor market – but we’re working in every way possible to mitigate these challenges.
Q: During the pandemic and subsequent supply chain issues, how has Lee Wetherington Homes ensured that consistency is apparent in each build?
A: Our team has mostly adjusted systems and processes, but the number of customers we serve at any given time has also been extremely important, so we are currently limiting the number of sales we make per month. Attention is imperative, and we’re working to control everything in our power to speed up processes without sacrificing an ounce of quality – what has been our legacy for decades.
We compel events to conform to our plan, and then we manage the exceptions. Our primary focus during these times is maintaining strong, honest communication with our customers so they know what’s going on and what to expect. We’re fortunate that they’re aware there are disruptions and are very understanding about what we’re up against.
Q: How has your new headquarters and design studio helped streamline your design and building process?
A: It’s important to have a great environment for both our employees and customers. The new building is, first, located in a very convenient spot on Fruitville Road – close to I-75 and near where we build a lot of our homes. It’s also built with all the current technology, so lighting and temperature control can be adjusted for each person’s work area.
The building’s architecture and interior design are contemporary and minimalist, so customers are able to focus on what they truly want without distractions. The design center allows them to select their specific details, finishes and more. And, if they can’t find it here, we’re strategically located near our partner venders with larger showrooms available to visit.
The new design center and building just feel good. It’s new, clean, crisp, contemporary and all the finishes are current yet timeless. Our home is a testament to how well we can build yours.
Q: Our area is one of the nation’s hottest markets. How has the team ensured homebuyers receive quality, care and the best price despite demand and slower supply lines?
A: When all is said and done, it’s your people, then systems and processes, that get the job done. Most builders use similar materials, a lot of the same labor – and even our plans can be similar.
But our people truly make the difference. Our team is extremely skilled, talented and committed to providing the best possible experience for our customers while building their homes. This is the “consistency” we reference often when you choose us to build the home where your memories are made and where you’re proud to live.