First in a series of articles detailing training sessions undertaken by L&W Supply. This week’s article highlights our visit to National Gypsum’s manufacturing plant in Dallas, Texas.
As a distributor, the success of L&W Supply comes from the strength our partnerships and our people. Our customers like knowing we make strategic investments with award-winning companies and industry leaders like National Gypsum. With the same goals in mind, these long-term partnerships allow us to benefit from each other’s market and product insight and enable more flexibility on the jobsite.
One of the ways we help ensure that we stay competitive for customers is by continuing to invest in our vendor relationships and the ongoing training of our associates. Earlier this summer, National Gypsum hosted associates from various L&W Supply branches in their Dallas Interior Finishing plant for an in-depth training session.
The experience was a great example of how L&W Supply works to gain a better understanding of exactly how our vendors and their products bring value to jobsites. National Gypsum’s team members were incredibly knowledgeable about joint compound, eager to share and walk us through the entire process from start to finish. It was easy to see why ProForm has such a strong reputation as a reliable and consistent product.
Let’s take a closer look at a few of the things we learned:
Introducing ProForm Interior Finishing Products
The ProForm brand is responsible for a widely used series of joint compound products designed for complete joint finishing of gypsum board. They come in a vinyl base ready mix that may be used directly from the container, saving time and eliminating guesswork when it comes to mixing. ProForm joint compound is available in various weights such as All-Purpose, Lite, and Ultra-Lite depending on your needs.
When it comes to joint compound, customers are looking for consistency. They need to be able to know how much mud they will need for a job and how long it will take to dry to maximize efficiency. Having experienced these problems themselves, the folks at National Gypsum know exactly what it takes to create and maintain a successful product, and it was fun watching them guide us through the process of creating ProForm.
Touring the Plant
First we were shown around the plant itself, observing the various stages that ProForm goes through while in production. We got to watch the joint compound go through every step of development to its final packaged state.
Along a conveyor belt, the joint compound gets prepped, packaged, and finally loaded onto a pallet with other finished boxes to be stored and shipped. The entire process felt a bit like a candy factory, with the mud itself resembling vanilla ice cream.
For such a large plant, with the ability to store 60,000 containers, the process is efficient. Their in-depth quality testing allows them to identify any discrepancies with product and implement corrections far in advance to shipment. Additionally, should any issues be discovered following packaging, the traceability on ProForm makes it easy to track down specific shipments.
Applying Joint Compound
After a demonstration of their quality testing process, we got the chance to try applying drywall mud ourselves. We were split into groups by region, provided with taping knives, drywall pans, and sheets of pre-taped drywall boards. For the demonstration, we were tasked with finishing a few strands of drywall tape.
It is clear as soon as you start working with it that ProForm is easy to spread, maintaining a nice consistency and workability while using it. When used properly, joint compound can eliminate all blemishes from new drywall, covering up fasteners or damage easily and drying relatively quickly. Their All-Purpose mud adheres to strict tape bond standards, helping to ensure you don’t get any cracks.
Having representatives from National Gypsum on hand to guide us through the process of correct application of the drywall mud was eye-opening. With their help, it was easy to see right away where some of us had made mistakes and how to improve in our finishing abilities.
Many of the people we spoke with had been working with joint compound for decades, able to recognize if their product is working properly just from its look and feel. After the demo, they took us through how to avoid common jobsite problems with the application of drywall mud. Overall the entire process was a wonderful opportunity for L&W Supply to learn more about how ProForm increases productivity and allows contractors to be more effective dollar-wise.
Along with several other training events this summer (five in total), these sessions help demonstrate how L&W Supply continues to place great emphasis on investing in our people in order to better support our customers. Product knowledge has always been a top priority for L&W Supply, with over 100 of our associates attending similar sessions with customers from May to July of this year.
It was a pleasure getting the chance to meet the employees at National Gypsum, hearing them share their knowledge and pick their brains about how to get the most out of joint compound. We wanted to extend a special thanks to National Gypsum for hosting us at their plant and hope to return for another visit in the future!