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Universal Forest implementing ‘structure change’

August 12, 2019
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A local diversified holding company is changing its name and organizational structure as part of a growth plan.

Grand Rapids-based Universal Forest Products Inc. said today it is adopting the changes to position the company for “accelerated sales and profit growth” in the coming years and provide “more opportunity for its employees.”

As of Jan. 1, 2020, the company will be known as UFP Industries Inc. The company will seek to ratify the name change at its April 22, 2020, shareholder meeting.

UFP Industries will continue to trade under the Nasdaq ticker symbol UFPI.

Matthew Missad, CEO, said while the name Universal Forest Products Inc. is a source of pride for employees, it no longer accurately describes what the company does.

“UFP Industries Inc. is a better fit for what we do and for our new organizational structure,” he said. “Our companies serve a diverse group of customers, and our products include many materials, not just wood.”

Under the new structure, also effective Jan. 1, the company will be organized around the markets it serves rather than geography. Among other benefits, the company said this will allow for a more specialized and consistent sales approach among all Universal companies, more efficient use of resources and capital, and quicker introduction of new products and services.

“The markets are changing quickly, and we need to not only adapt to changes, but to anticipate future changes,” Missad said.

“As the complexity in our product offering increases, our teams need to be able to focus on products and services that bring more value to our customers. The only way to lead the next era of growth is from the front.”

New segments

The company will be organized so each business segment aligns with the market it currently serves: UFP Retail, UFP Construction and UFP Industrial.

These segments each will consist of multiple business units, or profit centers, led by “entrepreneurial” members of the UFP team.

Each profit center will have a general manager who will continue to operate his or her facility to “enhance customer service, create manufacturing and transportation synergies and improve overall profitability.”

Each of the three segments currently exceeds $1 billion in annual revenue. Their leaders will be tasked with doubling sales and profits of the segments over the next 10 years.

The leaders include:

  • Allen Peters, who will become the president and COO of UFP Retail
  • Patrick Benton, who will become president of UFP Construction
  • Scott Worthington, who will become president of UFP Industrial

During the transition period, Pat Webster will maintain his duties as COO of UFPI and will take on COO responsibility for UFP Construction and UFP Industrial.

Jonathan West will become executive vice president of Factory Built Housing in the construction segment.

Chad Eastin will become executive vice president of ProWood.

“Our focus is on being the expert solution providers for our customers. This new organization enables us to accomplish that much more efficiently,” Missad said.

Universal Forest

Founded in 1955, Universal Forest Products is a holding company that provides capital, management and administrative resources to subsidiaries that supply wood, wood composite and other products to the retail, construction and industrial markets.

Its affiliates are located throughout North America, Australia, Europe and Asia.

The company had 2018 net sales of $4.49 billion, up from $3.94 billion in 2017.

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