By Kate SoperThe Lansing State JournalLANSING — It’s a question that has haunted the Michigan economy for decades: How do you get workers to buy your products?
When I first got into building I realized I couldn’t buy anything I needed because the supply chain was built on supply and demand, said Kevin Johnson, a real estate agent who has helped start a start-up called Sotheby’s International Realty and was a member of the Michigan Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
I had to build my own supply chain.
That’s what I did and that’s how I became an entrepreneur.
Since then, Johnson has built a large-scale supply chain for the home-building industry that he hopes will help boost the state’s economy by creating jobs, boosting incomes and improving health.
The Michigan Manufactures and Exports Association has been pushing the idea for years, but Johnson’s organization says the state has never had a robust supply chain like it has now.
The group has held several conferences and launched its own website to highlight the challenges facing the industry.
It has a growing list of business-friendly programs, such as the Michigan Health Benefit Program, that it says is helping small businesses, including Johnson’s, create a better supply chain through the health insurance that helps them afford medical expenses.
While most states have some kind of supply-chain programs, they vary wildly in their size, how they are funded and how long they last.
The MMEA says Michigan has had about 10 such programs since 2011.
The MMEAA’s website also offers advice on building your own supply chains.
You should start with a strong product portfolio, such the product you sell to customers, then build out your own, which is what Johnson and other members of his team do.
“If you have a product that has been built in a certain way, you can build out those other products and you can also build out the parts and the components, Johnson said.
The result will be a better product that people can buy and use.”
Sotheby, Johnson’s company, says it is the only manufacturer and distributor in the country that builds its own manufacturing equipment, which includes a range of components, from door frames to plumbing and lighting.
Sothebys products are used by the world’s largest construction companies, including the United States Army Corps of Engineers, the United Nations and the World Bank.
Sothebys is the largest builder of home construction products in Michigan, according to a news release.
The company is in Lansing to promote the launch of a new product called SOBAR, or Safety Operating and Maintenance, which will be available later this year.
It’s a strategy that Johnson says is being used by builders all over the country to compete with companies like Sothebers.
“You can’t compete with Sotheberts because of what they do.
They’re the only ones that builds that stuff,” he said.
“Sotheberks products are better than ours.
You can build more efficient, more durable homes and the more efficient you build the better the products you can sell.
You build better.”
For Johnson, Sothebenys approach to the supply-line business is a perfect fit for the state.
He and his wife own the building supplies company and are the only people in the state who can sell their home building supplies to others.
The business model is simple.
Buy the product and sell it back to the buyer, which means selling the product to the consumer.
That way, Sobeys is in control of the product.
“The company is focused on helping people build their own business, not just make money off of the sale,” Johnson said in a phone interview.
“That’s our main focus.”
The business started in 2001 when Johnson, who is also a software developer, was looking for a way to build out a business model that would help him and his family financially.
Johnson had a dream of building a home-improvement business and wanted to help his son, who lives in Florida.
“It was just kind of a crazy idea,” Johnson recalled.
“We had a couple of employees working on the business, and we were thinking we might need to buy some furniture.”
The idea of selling building supplies at a time when the state was struggling to rebuild from the Great Recession did not sit well with the couple, who owned an apartment building in downtown Detroit.
“I thought, We can’t just buy this stuff and we can’t even sell it,” Johnson remembered.
So he decided to try something new.
Sobeys bought the equipment needed to build a new home-supply chain.
The business has grown steadily in size over the past decade, with more than 150 employees now.SOBAR is the company’s latest product, and it’s one that Johnson said he and his colleagues are very proud of.
“We’ve built a product to help people get the product they want,” Johnson noted.
“The best part is you get