May 2019 Newsletter

May 2019 Newsletter



New South News

Dear Friends,

It appears (knock wood) that the rainy weather that has plagued us since last July has ended, at least for the last two weeks. Many jobs that have been delayed for up to nine months or more due to job sites being too wet are now underway. I hope this is behind us.

The economy is chugging along and we are now in the tenth year of the post-Great Recession recovery. With good fiscal policy and less partisan bickering (one can hope, can’t one?) in DC we may be able to keep avoiding a recession. There is no law that says we have to have a recession. Did you know that Australia is now in their 27thyear without a recession? If they can manage their economy to avoid recessions, why can’t we?

The only good thing about the wet weather has been that it has continued to mitigate price increases. See below for an in-depth look at pricing trends.

The month of May has brought drier weather across the Carolinas and Georgia. With the drier weather, the ever-mounting backlog of work from January through March is beginning to shake loose and job starts are happening all over the region. With the increase in activity there are a few items to note moving through May and into the busy summer season. 

Most major commodity items stayed flat again over the past month. Chicago Shredded Scrap again posted down after the first week of May and the mills are now trying to evaluate the change in scrap price with the current levels of demand to decide where the market will go. It would be safe to assume that rebar prices should hold steady or possibly slightly decrease over the coming months. Demand levels again will be one of the most important factors. If demand stays high, prices should stay flat, but if demand begins to slack, prices may fall to move inventory. 

There has been a change with regards to import rebar coming into the country. Turkey, a major supplier of import rebar in the United States, had a reduction in tariffs implemented from the current US administration. The US announced a decrease from the previous 50% that was imposed for political reasons last year, to a 25% rate now. The 50% rate imposed in the fall of 2018 virtually eliminated Turkish bar from consideration domestically, but the new reduction in tariff rates at least gives some hope for import brokers. 

Reinforcing wire mesh pricing has also stayed flat over the past four weeks. Mills are currently operating with adequate stock and at high production rates, so lead times have decreased slightly since last reported. The only reason for extended lead times seem to be coming on the trucking side. With the continued nationwide shortage of available drivers, transportation of material still seems to be an issue for manufacturers located all across the country. 

Lumber continues to bounce along with prices fluctuating up and down weekly, but not by great amounts. It seems for every hot week of lumber sales, a slow, low demand week follows. Hopes are still high for a positive summer, but again those are mainly built upon the large backlog of work building from the past few months. 

You can also add poly sheeting to the list of commodities with no change over the past few weeks.  Even with the recent fluctuations in oil, poly pricing and availability continues to hold steady. 

With little change in commodity pricing recently, it may be a good idea to jump on some stock purchases to beef up inventory levels before the potential volatility of summer prices and demand levels.  

There were no major price increase announcements from our construction material manufacturers. 

Contractors appear to be closing the gap between rising input costs and bid prices, based on the latest Producer Price indexes (PPIs). The PPI for new nonresidential building construction—a measure of the price that contractors say they would charge to build a fixed set of buildings—increased 1.4% in April from March and 5.6% year-over-year (y/y) from April 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported on May 9.

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

Our featured suppliers this month are:

  • SpecChem
  • Simpson Strong-Tie
  • Access Tile

Our associate profile this month is of James Vogt, our Director of Sales.

Our management article this month is entitled, Great Leaders Need to Learn How to Delegate. Many people get promoted into management but have trouble learning how to delegate. Check out this article for some good tips if you’re struggling with this.

 Featured Manufacturers

Makers of Chemicals and Aggregates for the Concrete Industry

Simpson Strong-Tie

Connecting systems for wood, steel, masonry, and concrete

Access Tile

The ultimate solution in detectable warning systems

Access Tile is the result of responding to a market demand for a better solution to detectable warning tiles at a cost-effective price. With over 20 years of proven manufacturing experience in detectable warnings, Access Tile’s improved design features will exceed industry expectations from specifier to installer.

Associate Profile

James Vogt
Director of Sales

James was born in Florida but raised in Brevard, NC where he graduated from high school. James joined the Navy at 17 where he became a member of Seal Team Six. James was deployed to the Middle East seven times during his military career. After a twenty year career in the Navy James joined the private sector where he has been in sales and operations management for the last ten years. James took college classes while in the Navy and is in the process of finishing his degree in Organizational Leadership at the University of Charleston-West Virginia. He is scheduled to get his degree in July. In his spare time he enjoys mountain biking and anything that gets him outdoors. James and his two children reside in Greenville. If you haven’t met James yet make it a point to do so.

May’s Management Article

Great Leaders Need to Learn How to Delegate
By Terry Watkins

Delegation and control are common topics with my coaching clients. They recognize the importance of delegation and how it can serve them, but some still struggle with letting go.

In order to free up space to be more strategic, have a greater impact, be more efficient, and achieve work/life balance, delegating appropriate tasks to others is necessary and even required for managers today. This can feel risky—especially if the leader is high controlling, is a perfectionist, or has a heavy workload. Effective leaders who climb the corporate ladder are skilled at delegating and developing people.

When delegating, room must be made for learners to try and fail, which takes extra time. Similar to Blanchard’s SLII® model, extra time is required in Style 1 (Directing) to provide details, show and tell how, monitor frequently, and give feedback to develop a team member on a new task. As the learner develops, the leader can eventually move to Style 4 (Delegating) and devote less time to the team member.

It takes time and planning to effectively develop others, but it’s worth it. Delegation and the development of others are linked together!

If internal issues are standing in the way of delegating, leaders must ask themselves what is causing the need for control. Why do I fear letting go and trusting others to do it correctly? Do I really believe I am the only one who can do it? Do I just want attention? Some managers simply enjoy the sense of accomplishment because they can complete the tasks quickly and accurately with no heavy brain power (cognitive strain).

Ready to start letting go? Here are seven tactics that will help you be more successful.

  1. Create a detailed plan for transferring the task.
  2. Be clear of the objectives and outcomes of the task.
  3. Create a timeline.
  4. Establish how and when you will monitor progress.
  5. Do not make assumptions.
  6. Create a safe space for learning and failures.
  7. Provide timely feedback.

Many times, what stands in the way of managerial success is control. The leader’s need to remain in control of a task or project will eventually cause both leader and direct report to fall short of expectations. Delegating more will allow for growth opportunities and professional development for both you and your people. Use these suggestions, take a deep breath, and give it a try today!

That’s it for this month. I hope your business is booming and that you will think of us when you need quality building materials.

Best regards,

Jim Sobeck
President & CEO 864-263-4377 (Direct Line)
Connect with us: Twitter | YouTube | Facebook | LinkedIn

Author of The Real Business 101: Lessons From the Trenches
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