27 Nov November 2017 Newsletter
I hope you spend it with those nearest and dearest to you and may your favorite team win.As the year winds down it has been another good year for construction despite more rain than normal in the spring and tropical storms and hurricanes in the late summer.
First off, on behalf of all of my colleagues at New South I hope everyone had a very Happy Thanksgiving.
I hope you spent it with those nearest and dearest to you and your favorite team put on a good show.
As the year winds down it has been another good year for construction despite more rain than normal in the spring and tropical storms and hurricanes in the late summer. The most respected construction forecasters are calling for another good year in 2018 but some are warning of a possible downturn in the second half of 2018; however, if tax reform is passed by our dysfunctional Congress that should be avoided. Let’s hope our elected officials can set partisan differences aside and do what’s right for once.
Price increases continue to be moderate, at least for now. Scroll down for a detailed look at pricing trends for the main products we distribute.
As in October, there were few price changes for the major lines of products we distribute, although several manufacturers announced future price increases. The price for scrap steel in the US was unchanged in November and most analysts expect a moderate increase in December. Prices for both oil and natural gas resins were unchanged; however, resin manufacturers are expected to increase prices in December and/or January, as historically, oil and natural gas prices rise during these months, due to increased demand by utilities for the winter heating season.
Tremco Commercial Sealants & Waterproofing increased prices by 6% on November 15th on their entire line of silicone products due to increased costs for raw materials over the past few months. Other manufacturers of silicone caulking and sealants increased their prices by a like amount in November.
Simpson Strong-Tie announced an across the board price increase on their entire line of connectors effective January 1, 2018. The percentage of the increase was not announced, but Simpson sales representatives said the increase will be in the 3 to 5% range on most items. Other connector manufacturers are expected to follow Simpson’s lead and increase prices in January.
Domestic rebar mills in the southeast held the line on prices in November and have made no indication of any price changes for December orders. Although the price for scrap steel was unchanged in November, demand for domestic rebar increased in November over October and September, primarily due to the dwindling supply of imported rebar in the southeast. Some analysts expect domestic rebar mills to increase prices by early December, due to the increased demand and limited supply of imported rebar, but at this point it is anyone’s guess as to what domestic mills will do.
Argos announced they will increase prices on January 15, 2018 as follows; Gray Portland Bulk Cement $10.00/short ton, Slag Cement $10.00/short ton, Gray Portland Cement bagged products by $.50/bag, Colored Masonry Mortar Mixes and Cements by $.45/bag, and Gray Masonry Mortar Mixes and Cements by $.35/bag. Be sure to factor in these price increases for any projects that you are bidding.
Several light weight concrete block and lintel manufacturers announced in November that they will increase prices in January, due to the industry wide Portland cement price increase and other higher operating costs. Most will increase prices between 10 and 12%. If you are bidding projects which will not start until 2018 be sure to get a quote for these items from your New South sales representative.
Unisorb Installation Technologies, one of the premier manufacturers of plant equipment insolation pads, anti-vibration pads, anchoring systems, and high performance grouts will increase prices on December 1st. The amount of the increase will vary by product category and will range from a minimum of 2% to a high of 12% depending on the product.
Polyethylene sheeting prices have remained the same since spiking in September, due to the unprecedented polyethylene resin price increases after the hurricanes hit the Gulf coast. Polyethylene sheeting manufacturers have no plans to change prices in November, but representatives have said that if resin manufacturers do increase prices in December, as expected, that they will increase prices by early January.
Several major diamond blade, core bit and abrasive blade manufacturers announced that they will increase prices in January between 3 and 5%. Several manufacturers of concrete power trowels, mortar mixers, tampers, and other power equipment also announced price increases for January between 3 and 6%. If you need to purchase any of these types of items consider purchasing them in December to avoid paying higher prices in 2018.
The producer price index (PPI) for final demand in October, not seasonally adjusted, increased 0.5% from September and 2.8% y/y from October 2016, BLS reported on November 16. AGC posted tables and an explanation focusing on construction prices and costs.
Click here for the latest update on the construction economy from Ken Simonson, the chief economist of the AGC.
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Our Associate spotlight is shining on Allen Poteat this month. Allen is the Senior Sales Manager over North Carolina and also manages several major accounts. He was born in Charlotte and graduated from East Gaston High School. From there he studied at Gaston College. He served in the US Army and is married to Andrea Poteat. He has three children, January (12), Kole (10), and Myiah (7). In his spare time he enjoys competitive bodybuilding, traveling, and hiking. Allen came to us from 84 Lumber. He previously worked with Carter Lumber and had his own framing business. He has over 20 years’ experience in the construction industry so he hit the ground running when he joined us last May. We were happy to add someone with Allen’s background to our team.
Our management article for this month is entitled, Leaders Can’t Make Excuses. I found this to be an interesting read and hope you do too.
NOVEMBER’S MANAGEMENT ARTICLE
Leaders Can’t Make Excuses
By Naphtali Hoff
We all make excuses.
Whether they cover up for why we were late (“There was no parking”), provide a reason as to why we didn’t do that errand that our spouse requested (“It didn’t get into my to-do list”), seek to justify why we broke our diet (“There we SO many sweets on the table”), or attempt to explain why we didn’t get the business deal (“My competition swept in and undercut me”), we use excuses throughout our day to justify our errors and explain away our failings.
The reason that we do this, according to psychologists, is to protect ourselves against anxiety and shame. It is simply easier to blame external factors than ourselves for our lack of achievement or for letting ourselves or others down. The problem is, the more that we make excuses, the likelier we are to build barriers that will impede our chances of attaining meaningful goals in the future.
While excuse-making is common to everyone, it can be particularly problematic for leaders. Leaders are responsible for their own work and those whom they lead. When leaders excuse away failures, they lower the standard at which they operate, which will inevitably reduce their productivity and impact. Worse, such behavior helps to create a culture of excuse-making that quickly trickles down the pipeline.
In no time, people throughout the organization feel vindicated in justifying their miscues or lack of production. And if the boss makes his/her own excuses all the time, who is going to call them on it?
According to the World Economic Forum, executive excuse-making comes in many forms and includes personal excuses (such as being under excessive pressure, not being paid enough to deal with real problems, and being poorly trained) as well as perceived external factors (like an inherited political climate or how others respond to their leadership).
Obviously, for leaders to succeed they can’t be in the business of making excuses. They have to set high (but achievable) standards and then make sure to hold themselves and those around them accountable. The following strategies can help leaders create a more accountable and higher-achieving work environment.
Own the problem
Before leaders can do anything to change their excuse-making behavior, they have to be willing to own the problem. They must take an honest look in the mirror and recognize that they must own their behaviors as well as their reactions. The following anecdote captures this idea well. (While the context focuses on employee excuse-making, its relevance is equally applicable for the guy in charge.)
Once, at the beginning of the workday, all of the employees arrived at the office to start on their duties. When they arrived, they saw a big sign on the door that said, “Yesterday the person who has been hindering your growth in this company passed away. The funeral will begin shortly outside.”
Nobody knew who the sign was referring to, but they all went anyway, saddened by the news. As they approached the coffin to see who this person was that was inhibiting their progress, they were shocked by what they saw. Instead of viewing a person, they were greeted with a mirror. Everyone who looked inside saw himself or herself.
A sign next to the mirror read as follows: “There is only one person who is capable to set limits to your growth: YOU. You are the only person who can help yourself. Your life does not change when others change or when circumstances change. Your life changes when you change, when you go beyond your limiting beliefs, when you realize that you are the only one responsible for your life.”
At its core, excuse-making comes from a person’s inability or unwillingness to take responsibility for their behaviors. Leaders need to accept responsibility for their jobs and focus on the things which they can control. Train yourself to always accept responsibility for the things you do and the things you fail to do. Even in cases where events occur that are outside of your control, you should avoid making excuses and identify the things which you can change to get a better result next time. Responsibility and control = power.
Focus on what matters
Often we waste time on things that don’t matter and then find excuses to justify our decisions. Time management and goal setting techniques and tools can help leaders focus better and get more done.
Set high standards
Ironically, though high standards are harder to reach than lower ones, folks who set high standards tend to work harder to achieve them. Moreover, even when they come up short, they are more willing to analyze their “failures” objectively so that they can learn from them and not have a repeat performance the next time.
Strong leaders know that making excuses only delays the end goal. If we take responsibility for inaction or mistakes, we’re able to correct them and get back on track towards the goal.
In closing, once again, Happy Thanksgiving. We are thankful for your friendship and business and hope to keep earning it for many years to come.
Author of The Real Business 101: Lessons From the Trenches
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