How LMC and Louws Truss are Building the Future of Business Together

In 1952, John Louws Sr. founded Louws Truss. Over seven decades and three owners, the business has transformed several times, as most small, family-owned businesses do. While Louws Truss remains in the lumber and building materials industry, third-generation owner BJ Louws built Louws Truss into a business that not only punches above its weight as a competitor but is a true industry leader in technology.
Louws Truss stands tall, but it does not stand alone because Louws Truss is also a proud LMC member. 
Louws Truss joined LMC in 2004 on the recommendation of highly respected business partners who are also LMC members. The team were first intrigued by the possibility of co-operative buying power and the rebate programs, but LMC became so much more.

“When we joined, we were a smaller company than we are now. Since 2004, LMC has helped us swing above our weight with the purchasing power offered by the size of the co-operative,” BJ Louws says. “When we introduce a new Louws Truss team member to LMC, we introduce LMC as a partner and as an extension of our business.”

Building homes and relationships in Washington state and beyond

Louws Truss calculated the value of the purchasing power offered by LMC and saw a significant opportunity to remain competitive even in difficult markets. Yet, the power of the co-operative and the invaluable rebate programs they gained with membership play second fiddle to something priceless: the trusted relationships available with LMC dealers, suppliers, and staff.

“I think the aspect of the LMC membership that holds the greatest significance for our business is the relationships we've developed across LMC,” says BJ Louws, the current company owner.

“We have a lot of trust in the LMC buyers. When I call someone about a lumber purchase, I know they’re trying to give me good advice on whether to buy or not buy without trying to sell me on something.”

The advice Louws Truss relies on goes far beyond any given transaction with the LMC buying team. The partnership shines particularly bright during times of anxiety for the business.

LMC has always helped us make sure we keep our supply flowing. BJ Louws says. “LMC has built relationships with our suppliers over years and decades. Their relationships were a huge part in Louws Truss being able to compete when there are supply issues.”

The relationship network between LMC and suppliers and dealers does not just result in continuity of supply for today and tomorrow. They allow for a forward-looking approach that is so difficult to cultivate in the industry.

“LMC provides a lot of market insights for us, and it’s the difference between competing and not competing in residential and especially multi-family commercial markets. They give us weekly updates on what’s happening with different species and grades. We also rely on their expertise in the futures market and use it to hedge against projects we have.”

Expertise like that on offer in LMC is hard to come by, particularly at scale. But for BJ Louws, the camaraderie makes working together so much more enjoyable. “Even talking on the phone just a few times a week, we’ve built great relationships with the LMC Team. Talking to these folks makes the job fun, and it’s cool for all of us to see people grow within LMC and our company. We’re sharing our lives over of the phone.”

Driving innovation in truss manufacturing.

BJ Louws describes his 70-year-old business as “one of the small guys”. Yet, they are one of only a handful of manufacturers in the country truly on the front edge of technology: They are one of the first to implement robotics into truss manufacturing in the United States.

“At Louws Trust, our stated goal is to be an industry leading company where everyone wins,” BJ Louws explains. “And what we mean by that is we want to be on the front edge of our industry, and we want what we do to have a positive benefit on everyone that we're involved with from our customers to our suppliers, our staff, and our community.”

“To be an industry leading company, we need to be on the front edge of what's going on in our industry. Through the lean manufacturing work that we've done over the years, we partnered with House of Design to put a fully robotic truss manufacturing line in our Burlington, Washington facility.”

Their focus on being the front edge of the industry means they fit in well with LMC’s network.
“My impression of the LMC dealers is that they are professional and forward thinking. A lot of these dealers are family-owned businesses or legacy companies that have grown to a size and become more sophisticated. The insight that LMC can provide and to help them compete in the market is a big part of their, of their innovation, of their forward thinking, of their longevity as companies.” 

Part of the LMC membership experience includes the opportunity to participate in LMC’s committees and industry groups to share experience and expertise and forge new paths in your specialty. Louws Truss is a member of the LMC Component Alliance Committee.
“The LMC Component Alliance has been a really big part of what we [Louws Truss] have been doing over the last couple of years. It gives us a space to meet with others like businesses and go over benchmarking and best practices. We've been able to develop a lot of really good relationships through the Component Alliance and discuss business problems with other manufacturers who are going through similar challenges.”

Several times a year, the LMC network has the chance to come together to attend events of all sizes and categories from the LMC Annual flagship event to individual round tables. For Louws Truss, LMC’s professional development events and programs are the stand-out opportunity each year.

“Last year, our sales manager went to Chicago to do an executive leadership course at the University of Chicago. And that was a great professional development opportunity for him. To see the results of that over the last year in our business has been outstanding. We plan on sending more of our leadership team to LMC events for those sorts of professional development opportunities.”

Learn more about Louws Truss at