Blog BUILDER Honors Lennar as 2018 Builder of the Year

BUILDER Honors Lennar as 2018 Builder of the Year

It’s been an exciting year for Lennar, beginning with the strategic merger of Lennar and CalAtlantic Homes, creating the nation’s leading homebuilder. Lennar is now honored to be named Builder of the Year by Builder Magazine. Executive Chairman, Stuart Miller discusses Lennar’s success and future outlook in this recent interview with John McManus.

“Add to cart.” Those three words together set an almost mystical bar of expectations today for billions of people who exchange value for value online and in the real world of commerce. Action, reaction, transaction. What if consumers could click on “add to cart” to buy their next home—the most expensive consumer durable most of us ever buy and the most valuable asset most of us ever own?

“We’re not there yet,” says Stuart Miller, executive chairman at Miami-based Lennar Corp., who spent the past 21 years as CEO of the company before moving into this newly created leadership position in April. A pathway there, as seen in Miller’s own hand-sketched diagram, includes a step-by-step breakdown of key moments in a customer’s chain of home-buying decisions and explorations—from shopping for a wedding dress, for example, or for baby furniture. It starts with a milestone in the consumer’s life, and progresses from there.

“If we can identify that moment of engagement and start a dialogue that’s based on our educating a customer on what she needs, and grow that into an exchange where we learn more and more about our customer so that we can personalize an offering to her, we’ll soon get to the point where we’re there,” Miller says. “We’ll be able to send them a digital envelope that allows them to look at an Everything’s Included version of their own house, and that eliminates every part of the buying process that’s of no value to them, or a pain point for them.”

This experience—seemingly light years from today’s actual home-buying experience—excites Miller as he and the Lennar leadership team (including Rick Beckwitt as CEO and Jon Jaffe as president) place today’s operational performance and tomorrow’s innovation imperatives on a priority par, one as equally critical as the other.

When—not if—Lennar’s brain trust succeeds in remapping its business model backward from the simplicity of a digital point-of-purchase moment where a buyer clicks “add to cart,” the model can start to resemble the logic and elegance of, say, an Amazon. It’s there that logistics, complexity, physical movement, workflows, and time itself disappear, leaving only the who—a ready, willing, and able buyer—and the what—the home he or she wants.

“We become a pure-play builder when we separate out our land and real estate businesses, everything that’s ancillary to our core home building operations, and remove every part of the expense in our process that doesn’t offer value to our consumer,” Miller says. “That’s what we mean when we talk about building a better mousetrap. Our business at that point becomes more fully about the value we create that we can control and stay in control of, and less about areas we don’t impact.”

The pursuit of getting there on a fast track—to that shopping cart instant, an iconic shift that places the consumer at the top of a buyer-seller value chain—speaks to why Lennar’s Miami headquarters pulses like a technological central nervous system. One floor of the space would be hard to tell apart from any Silicon Valley web product development center or a Wall Street trading floor. Flat-screen monitors crawl color-coded, key performance indicator measures that river real-time data feeds in from the enterprise’s 38 home building divisions nationwide.


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