November 2019 Newsletter

November 2019 Newsletter

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New South News

Dear Friends,

First off, Happy Thanksgiving. We are thankful for our customers every day but no more so than during the Thanksgiving holiday period. We know that without you we’re nothing and we hope we show our appreciation for your business every day, not just on Thanksgiving.

The construction business continues to chug along and the most recent reports on construction starts show a slight increase over the last few months. This has caused only a few prices increases on our key products lately. See below for more specifics.

The holiday season is upon us and construction crews are frantically working to finish up the year strong. Besides a weeklong cold spell earlier this month, the weather has been cooperative and business remains steady and should stay that way for the remainder of 2019 and at least into the first quarter of 2020.

Rebar pricing has remained stable for yet another month but we are seeing some signs that may indicate a turn in the market. Scrap pricing has rebounded and is now looking at another $20 increase. One reason for the increased price on scrap is the high demand overseas for US shredded scrap. The high demand and willingness to pay higher prices from foreign entities is causing lower availability of scrap for domestic mills. This lower availability should drive the price up for domestic mills, who then will pass along the higher prices to the end user. Pricing on rebar is not expected to rise significantly in the short term, but we do believe that pricing has hit bottom and will bounce back up.

This bounce is also being seen in concrete wire mesh reinforcing. Pricing has finally stabilized from an aggressive summer and we are now seeing some of the major manufacturers in our region begin to implement price increases. Most of these price increases will go into effect before the end of the year. Two of the manufacturers implementing price increases are Wire Mesh Corporation and Insteel Wire Products. These two manufacturers cite the increase in raw good costs as the main culprit for the increase. Both of these price increases will be effective in mid-December.

Lumber pricing continued its recent pattern of slight increases month over month. Pricing may vary slightly up or down weekly, but the net month over month pattern is a slight increase in price. We expect this to continue throughout the winter months as mills scale back their operations for the holiday and winter season. Poly sheeting, on the other hand, has remained stable. We are looking at a long run of little movement in poly pricing. A slight increase or decrease on an order by order basis may occur, but overall the numbers look very similar to summer numbers.

Quite a few other manufacturers made price announcements over the last month:

Electro Tape Specialties announced a price increase that went into effect on November 18, 2019. The latest round of tariffs announced on September 1, 2019 were listed as the main cause. Both reinforced and woven barricade tapes, flagging ribbons, pennant flags, and detectable and non-detectable barricade tapes are being increased by 12%.

Clifford W. Estes Company, a manufacturer of decorative concrete products and color pigments, has also announced a price increase. Increased costs on raw materials, freight and operating expenses are cited as the reason for the increase. The new pricing will go into effect on January 1, 2020.

Carlisle Coatings and Waterproofing announced a price increase that will go into effect on January 15, 2020. This will be a 2% increase across the board on all of their products. Any existing quotes with dates after the January 15th cut off will be honored, but all new quotes with expiration dates after January 15th will reflect the new pricing. New orders must ship out before the 15th to receive the current pricing.

Argos Cement recently made its customers aware of a pending price increase. This price increase will go into effect for the Carolinas district on February 15, 2020 and will impact Bulk Gray Portland, Grey Portland Package, and Masonry Cement Package.

Contractors’ bid prices increased 0.4% from September to October, while materials and services input costs held steady for the month, based on an AGC analysis of producer price indexes (PPIs) that the Bureau of Labor Statistics posted on November 14.

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

Featured Manufacturers

Sika Scofield

The #1 Ranked Brand Name in Decorative Concrete Color, Texture and Performance Systems


Makers of Chemicals and Aggregates for the Concrete Industry

A leader in concrete and masonry accessories


Associate Profile

Cindy Green
Accounts Receivable/Payables Specialist, Greenville, SC

Our associate profile this month is of Cindy Green, an Accounts Receivable/Payables Specialist in our Accounting office in Downtown Greenville. Cindy was born in Simpsonville, SC and graduated from Laurens District 55 High School. She is engaged to Steve Barton and has three children, Steven, Brandon, and Shane. Her hobbies are crocheting, crafting, and spending time with her five grandchildren. Before joining us three years ago Cindy had worked Park Sterling Bank and Kemet Electronics. Cindy’s willingness to jump in and help with anything has made her a great addition to our team.

The management article for this month is entitled: Top 10 Tips for Smart Email Communication. I posted this article recently on LinkedIn and it got a lot of comments, likes, and shares. If you didn’t see it on LinkedIn, check it out here. (By the way, if you are active on LinkedIn please check out the New South Construction Supply page as well as my page. Lots of good info is on both sites.)

November’s Management Article

Top 10 Tips for Smart Email Communication

By Skip Prichard

Realize that email is not private. Not only can your company’s IT department access it, but you also never know to whom your messages might be forwarded— accidentally or intentionally. Avoid discussing sensitive information or writing anything negative unless it’s specifically requested by your boss and/or supported by fact.

Maintain a consistent professional persona. You can achieve this by crafting friendly, polite, and grammatically correct messages. Because you can’t rely on voice or nonverbal cues, always reread your emails to make sure the message you are sending is professional and clear. Don’t get too cutesy with your emoticons or acronyms (LOL, BRB).

Keep emails short and to the point. Make sure to include\ an informative and specific subject line (for example, don’t just call the message “Update”). Begin with a call to action that encourages the person to read the message (starting with the word you usually does the trick). Put your key message up front, and if the information you must communicate is longer than two to three paragraphs, attach a document with the relevant details.

Use email to reinforce in-person conversations. Summarize meetings, impart helpful information (for example, FYI—For Your Information”—messages), or respond appropriately to an important issue (for example, CYA—“Cover Your Ass”—messages) via email to reinforce face-to-face discussions you have with colleagues.

Don’t use email as a forum to express displeasure or criticize. Do these things in person rather than take the easy way out. If you must highlight a problem in an email, be positive and solution-oriented.

Use email sparingly. Carbon copy (CC) your boss only on messages that clearly demonstrate you are doing your job. Avoid sending him thousands of emails unless you want him to stop reading them.

Use flags and read receipts. When sending an important message, draw attention to it in some way so that the recipient is not tempted to ignore it.

Be courteous. In general, it is considered rude to email a question to anyone sitting within ten feet of you. Make an effort to speak to these people face to face.

Know what you are sending before you send it. Before hitting Reply, carefully read an email in its entirety. If it’s preceded by a series of messages, make sure to read and understand the whole string first.

Keep personal emails personal. If you want to send personal emails at work, set up a separate account. Don’t forward too much non-work-related content to your work friends unless they also qualify as real friends.

Finally, in the spirit of Thanksgiving we want to give a shout out to Jeanette Brezeale, our Accounting Manager for leading our partnership with Meals on Wheels. Below is a brief interview with Jeanette about this very worthwhile program.

Q: How did you hear about this program and Meals on Wheels?

A: Our upcoming partnership with Meals On Wheels is the highlight of the year for me! I did not have any previous experience with Meals On Wheels but knew of them from other community connections…I reached out to the MOW volunteer coordinator to discuss the corporate partnership program further and found it to be a great opportunity for our teams.

Q: Why is giving back to the community important? 

A: There are so many benefits to serving that benefit self, but even more important is to support and build community. Being of service to others has always been important to me. As a child I often depended on the good will of others and I believe that is where my heart for serving began. The NSCS team is made up of some of the best folks with the biggest hearts. My hope is to tap into that through serving together to not only positively impact our community but to also build camaraderie within our organization. I serve a local organization that advocates for victims of sexual abuse, and the relationships that I have formed with fellow volunteers has positively impacted my personal and professional life. Serving others is the biggest gift that we can give each other, and I’m super excited to serve alongside the NSCS team.

Thanks, Jeanette for spearheading this very worthy cause.

In closing, I want to again wish all our customer and suppliers a great Thanksgiving holiday and a strong end to this year.

Best regards,

Jim Sobeck
President & CEO 864-263-4377 (Direct Line)
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Author of The Real Business 101: Lessons From the Trenches
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