June 2021 Newsletter

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New South News

Dear Friends,   

We continue to live in unusual times in the construction industry. Price increases, truck shortages, freight surcharges, and not enough drivers all combined to make for rampant price increases and long lead times.  Most all our items remain in stock due to our placing orders months ago for most of the products we sell, as we largely saw this coming. 

For a detailed look at commodity prices, see below:

The supply chain for most products used within the construction industry continues to be in upheaval. Price increase notices continue to be announced almost daily. Many commodity-based items are now being priced at time of shipment, with purchase orders being submitted and taken without definitive pricing. Availability is vastly more important than price at this point in the year. 

Rebar once again saw a price increase in June. On June 11th, two major mills announced increases. One mill increased prices by $80 per ton and the other mill by $50 per ton. By Monday, June 14, two other mills followed suit and pushed through $80 per ton increases. This now puts rebar at an all time high with expectations for the trend to continue. This feels much like the way the lumber run began, so prepare for tight supply and rising prices to continue through the summer. Multiple diameter rollings at the mills are already booked for July and August. 

The massive wire mesh and wire rod availability issue remains a major problem. While the mills are producing material as fast as possible, the shortage of available raw materials to manufacture continues to stifle production. Mesh mills are currently providing 16-17 week lead times on product from the time purchase orders are placed. Distributors are currently having to plan and procure materials that will not arrive until September or October. These lead times continue to push out further each and every week as purchase orders continue to come in. It does not appear this problem will be resolved any time soon. Expectations are for wire mesh shortages to continue through the remainder of the year and possibly beyond. 

Polyethylene sheeting also saw an increase at the beginning of the month. The cost of resins, raw materials, and shipping have forced poly manufacturers to push through another increase. The June increase is in addition to the increase that took effect in May. A combined total value for the May and June increases are roughly $0.10 cents per pound on all poly products. Production times do appear to be improving though, with lead times running 4 or 5 weeks on single size full truckload orders. Mixed sizes are typically taking a week or two longer to arrive. 

One commodity that is seeing some pricing reprieve is lumber. Lumber pricing crested early last month and has been steadily softening over the past month. Availability is becoming much less of an issue and demand for product needed instantly has calmed. Lead times are averaging two to three weeks, but in some cases, material has shipped within a week. 

The gulf between contractors’ costs and pricing widened again in May. The producer price index (PPI) for nonresidential building construction—a measure of the price that contractors say they would charge to build a fixed set of buildings—increased 0.5% from April and 2.8% year-over-year (y/y) since May 2020, while the PPI for material and service inputs to construction industries jumped 4.3% and 24.3%, respectively, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported on June 15. An index that measures the price of goods inputs to all construction soared 4.6% for the month and 24.3% y/y; both increases were the largest in the 35-year history of the series.

Click here for the latest update on the construction economy from Ken Simonson, the chief economist of the AGC.

For some more exciting news, I am proud to announce we were once again selected as one of the Best Places to Work in South Carolina. We strive to create a workplace that empowers and motivates our associates to give great service to our customers. I hope you feel you receive great superior service when doing business with us.

Catching up with our Customers

In this month’s segment of Catching up with our Customers, we hear from Jason Fisher, Senior Vice President of Operations at Roebuck Buildings Co., Inc. Established in 1947 by John C. Anderson alongside a group of investors, Roebuck Buildings was focused on the pre-engineered building industry. Over the years, Roebuck has changed with the market, now designing, and constructing everything from precast concrete, metal industrial buildings, as well as commercial, automotive, education, religious, and healthcare projects just to mention a few. Roebuck’s wide range of experienced personnel is what drives the company forward, providing value to customers and creating quality products and services which is one of the company’s top priorities. Learn more about the remarkable jobs Roebuck Buildings, Co., Inc. is currently working on, their core values and what those mean to them, and the “why” behind their “Build Better” company motto by reading the full Q/A here.

Featured Manufacturers



Manufacturer of power tools, drill bits, blades, and other equipment


Hohmann & Barnard

Provider of quality and innovative products that architects, engineers and contractors have come to rely on since 1933


A Leader in Concrete Cutting Tools and Accessories


Associate Profile

Bobby Webber
Sales Manager, Atlanta

This month's associate profile is of Bobby Weber, an Atlanta-based Sales Manager. Bobby was born in Saginaw, Michigan where he graduated from Heritage High School. Bobby moved to Florida after high school where he began a 15-year career with another building material distributor. He started in the warehouse and ended up in a dual role as branch manager and outside sales at the same time. He is married and has three daughters, ages 12, 9 and 7. In his downtime, he likes to camp with his family, movie nights with his girls and attending dirt track races. Bobby has been a great addition to our Atlanta team!

This month’s management article is entitled, Plan Regular 1: 1 Meetings. I have been a fan of 1:1 meetings for over 40 years and think they are one of the best tools available to a manager. I hope you enjoy it.

Plan Regular 1:1 Meetings

By Naphtali Hoff

To unleash the potential of the people you manage, you must engage and bond with each person individually. There simply is no hack or shortcut for building real connections.

That’s why it is critical that, in addition to morning huddles, you need to plan regular one-to-one meeting time, or 1:1s, with individual team members to check in on a more personal manner.

As a manager, you can use 1:1s to ask your team members about their well-being, their experience working with the team and their career goals. You can also get updates on their progress and any challenges they may be experiencing with projects so that you can course correct as needed.

Folks pay attention to those things their leaders also pay attention to. To get what you want from others, you need inspect what you expect of them. Beyond that, 1:1s offer dedicated time for mentoring and coaching, helping to bring out the absolute best in your people.

Other important benefits of 1:1s include:

  • They provide a routine opportunity for you, as a manager, to assess the parts (your individual employees) that lead to the productive whole (your team.)
  • Each 1:1 is an opportunity to clarify the goals of the organization and your performance expectations for each person.
  • 1:1s help managers build a trusting relationship with their employees by getting to know them as people, not just employees.

At the 1:1, ask your go-to question(s) (more on that below,) stay silent until your employee has the chance to answer, listen with the intent to understand and not to cross-examine, and then reward the candor you receive. Remember that dedicated 1:1 conversations help create the space and trust to ensure you know what’s on people's minds — and take actions to keep them happy and productive.

Lest you think of 1:1s as exclusively manager-driven, I highly recommend that employees be asked to share their talking points with their manager prior to the meetings. This allows the employee to also guide the conversation and ensure that matters that are top of mind for them get discussed.

1:1s should always be conducted face-to-face. That said, when in-person is not possible, hold them anyway. If some or all your employees in your organizations work remotely, it’s important to get as close to a face-to-face conversation as possible.

1:1s are supposed to build strong relationships, which means that leaders must be fully present by giving the other person their full attention. During your meetings, reduce distractions to an absolute minimum. This includes turning off notifications on your devices. It goes without saying that you should come prepared and start on time.

Once you’ve finished your meeting, summarize the most important outcomes and share them to eliminate misunderstandings. Summaries also make it easier to pick up the ball in the next 1:1 meeting. As a manager or employee, you can also just take private notes to keep track of how the 1:1s went and to capture key takeaways for future reference.

1:1s come in all shapes and sizes. Some people meet for an hour weekly. Others for 30 minutes twice monthly. What matters most is creating the rhythm and honoring it consistently. Regardless of length and frequency, making time for an individual says you genuinely care about them as a person.

Once you have a solid meeting routine in place, consider adding some spice by leaving the office every now and then. Head outside for a walk. Go to a cafe. Be creative. No matter where you meet, pick a place where you and your report feel comfortable speaking openly.

You might be thinking that 1:1s sound all nice and good, but if you don’t have the time as it is to get things done, especially now with morning huddles to run, how can you possibly add this to your plate? The answer is that this is a case of spending time to free up time.

1:1s help managers avoid overwhelm by ensuring the team is focused on the right task. Taking a few minutes to coach employees on how to move forward frees up your time to focus intently on your own work with the confidence that you won’t be putting out fires later.

To recap, 1:1s are the only forum where manager and reports can engage in an honest, private conversation with each other about what’s really going on, professionally and personally. It is critical that you make the time for them.

What to discuss
If you are meeting to set worker and team objectives, consider using the following talking points.

  • A recap on why and how to set objectives.
  • Review of previous objectives.
  • Company and team priorities.
  • Current objectives and personal development goals.
  • Next steps.

Here are some questions to ask:

  1. What’s on your mind this week?
  2. How happy were you this past week?
  3. How productive were you this past week?
  4. What feedback do you have for me?
  5. How are you doing? How did the past week/month go?
  6. What would you like to talk about today?
  7. What are you proud of? Anything blocking you?
  8. Do you need any support? How can I help you?
  9. Anything else you’d like to talk about today?
  10. “What are the most important things we should discuss today? And are there any roadblocks or ways how we can better support each other?”

That’s it for this month. I hope the materials shortages aren’t delaying any of your jobs. If they are, let us know and we’ll see if we can help. Enjoy the summer!

Best regards,

Jim Sobeck
President & CEO 864-263-4377 (Direct Line)

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