October 2019 Newsletter

October 2019 Newsletter



New South News

Dear Friends,

As I write this near the end of October all signs point to a strong end to 2019 and continued strength in construction for 2020.  Even though construction remains strong, price increases continue to be moderate. See below for an in-depth look at commodity pricing trends.

Dry, warm weather through most of September and into October has helped keep construction progressing nicely through the third quarter of 2019. Construction does not seem to be slowing down in most major southern markets, and we are expecting a strong remainder of the year to make up for the wet beginnings of 2019.

Rebar pricing remained stable through September and into October. Scrap again dropped $35/ton from September’s number and finished at $217/ton, but mills are holding their current pricing and we do not anticipate any major changes over the next few weeks. Mills are operating with ample inventory on the ground and lead times are down to roughly a week depending on the diameter and length of the bar needed.

Lumber pricing also remained stable through the later part of September and early October. Prices are varying from mill to mill and order to order, but the overall total variance from early September has been minimal. Southern Yellow Pine remains in high demand since some of the SPF mill shutdowns a few months back, but most loads are experiencing normal lead times of roughly two weeks from time of order.

To wrap up the commodities update, both poly and wire reinforcing mesh pricing remained the same. Poly has been very steady over the summer and that trend looks to continue through the remainder of the year. Like last month, it is a very opportunistic time to purchase reinforcing mesh. Ample mill stock is leading to some very competitive numbers moving into the winter season.

A few of our manufactures made price announcements over the last month:

NDS, Inc, a leading manufacturer of trench drain, piping, and fittings, announced that they will implement a price increase on January 1, 2020. The reasons mentioned for the price increase were increased costs on raw materials, freight, and implemented tariffs. Depending on the product prices may increase anywhere from 3% to 8%.

STI Firestop has also announced a coming price increase. They too will implement a price increase on January 1, 2020. Most of the STI product line will see an increase up to 5% based on raw materials, transportation, and general operating costs. Firestop Sleeves, Cast in Place Deck Adapters, Intumescent & Restraining Collars, Wrap Strip and accessories will all be increased at a higher rate that the mentioned 5% above.

Southwire Tools and Equipment released their pending price increase that will go into effect on November 2, 2019. Due to the mounting tariffs and freight costs accrued in 2019, an increase from 2% to 15% will be applied depending on the product. Any orders accepted on or after November 2, 2019 will use the new pricing.

Contractors’ bid prices increased 0.2% from August to September, while materials and services input costs dipped 0.1% for the month, based on an AGC analysis of producer price indexes (PPIs) that the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) posted on October 9. Compared to September 2018, 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—rose 5.7%.

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

Featured Manufacturers

Euclid Chemical

Makers of Chemicals and Aggregates for the Concrete Industry


Hohmann & Barnard

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

Simpson Strong-Tie
Connecting systems for wood, steel, masonry, and concrete


Associate Profile

Neal Bond
Inside Salesperson, Hardeeville, SC

Our associate profile this month is of Neal Bond, an inside salesperson at our Hardeeville, SC branch. He was born in Columbus, GA on Fort Benning and graduated from Overhills High School in Spring Lake, NC. He is working on finishing his degree in criminal justice at Georgia Southern. Neal is single and has a son, Elias, who is two years old. He likes building things, fishing, hunting, traveling, and shooting sports of all kinds. He recently got started in a long-range shooting club and has been entering competitions over the last six months. Neal joined us as a rebar fabricator in April 2016 and worked his way into inside sales a couple of years later. Neal has a strong work ethic and has been a great addition to our Hardeeville team.

Our management article this month is entitled, Are You Efficient or Effective? A lot of managers are efficient but not effective. If you, or someone who reports to you, aren’t as effective as you would like to be, give this a read.

October’s Management Article

Are You Efficient or Effective?

By Steve Keating

Almost everyone can be efficient under normal circumstances. That’s good since in order to survive in today’s competitive business environment you must be efficient.

The thing is I don’t think merely surviving is a worthy goal. I do think however that succeeding is.

If you’re going to succeed in business or any other endeavor efficiency alone will not do. You must also be effective.

The difference between effectiveness and efficiency can be summed up like this: Being effective is about doing the right things, while being efficient is about doing things right.

One of the biggest wastes of time and money any person or organization can undertake is to be efficient at doing something that doesn’t need to be done.

I would much rather have people working for me who are only partially effective at doing things that need to be done than to be 100% efficient at doing things that add little or no value to the organization.

Spreadsheets are an example of being efficient without being effective. Some of the least effective people I know are highly efficient at creating beautiful spreadsheets with what appears to be a wealth of information.

But upon closer review you see there is no real useable information contained in the spreadsheet. No data, no statistics, and no percentages. They could have just as easily created a word document but people seem to fall for information contained in little cells with lots of color.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of spreadsheets when properly used. A colleague of mine is currently creating a spreadsheet loaded with actionable information laid out in an understandable format. That is a highly effective use of the tools available when using a spreadsheet.

I use spreadsheets as an example because too many ineffective people are using them to hide their ineffectiveness. Efficient leaders may fall for that but effective leaders will not.

So, are you efficient or effective? Ask yourself that question frequently. Ask yourself if what you’re doing at any given moment needs to be done. What might the consequences be if it weren’t done? Would anyone notice?

Then ask yourself what you could be doing if you weren’t doing that. Would what you could be doing be more valuable to you or your organization. And by the way, you MUST be honest with yourself or don’t bother asking the questions at all. Lying to yourself is neither effective or efficient.

I think if you’re honest with yourself you’ll discover that many of the things you do efficiently are things you like to do. It’s likely you’ll also discover that many of the things you don’t like to do, or are unsure of how to do, are things that would make you far more effective.

That’s why it’s relatively easy to be efficient and a serious challenge to be effective.

The most successful people opt for effectiveness over efficiency. Which one do you prefer?

That’s it for this month. Let’s hope the rain keeps staying away and that the warm weather continues, and we should all have a great end to 2019.

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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