October 2020 Newsletter

October 2020 Newsletter


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New South News

Dear Friends,

As this most unusual of years continues to unfold the construction economy continues to be one of the few winners, at least for many segments of construction. Residential construction continues to boom as does warehouse construction. Some hotel jobs that were on hold are now proceeding. the presidential election is only about a week away, and the winner will have a definite effect on our industry, for better or worse.

Product pricing has been fairly stable with only a few exceptions, notably lumber. See below for more details.

There are a few notables worth mentioning regarding some of our commodity products. Scrap metal posted flat at $280/ton in mid-October with no change from the prior month. This flat posting has helped keep pricing stable since the increase in mid-September occurred. With the winter month’s coming and the seasonal industry slowdown upon us, rebar pricing will be something we monitor closely. If scrap prices remain flat and market demand goes down, there may be potential for softening prices in the coming months.

Demand has not been an issue with regards to wire mesh consumption. Mills are reporting very heavy activity over the past few weeks with orders continuing to come in at a steady pace. We believe the surge in residential construction has been a leading factor in the increase. 10ga wire, in both rolls and sheets, have been hot commodities and orders for these two products continue to flow into the mills. The recent surge has impacted lead times, particularly on wire mesh rolls. Rolls are being shipped out as soon as they are coming out of production and lead times can stretch out to two weeks or more. Pricing has remained steady since the two increases pushed through in September, and we expect it to stay that way moving into November.

Polyethylene is another commodity that has seen a surge in demand and increases on lead times. Production facilities are still recovering from the down time due to the hurricanes and are struggling to manufacture material fast enough. Depending on the factory’s location and the availability of raw materials, lead times for certain sizes are stretching out to three and four weeks. There is very little available sitting inventory with most orders being purchased off future manufacturing. Relief may come due to the seasonal slowdown, but for now poly remains a fast moving and highly demanded product.

Lumber finally crested over the peak and is quickly moving downwards. Not all sizes and species are falling at the same rate, but there is a general softening within the lumber market. SYP 2×8’s and 2×10’s are among the fastest falling items. These two sizes, mainly in #2 grade, are in ample supply with the production mills and lumber brokers eager to move excess inventory. SYP 2×4’s are also dropping, but not nearly at the same rate as the 2×8’s or 2×10’s. Current pricing may still seem high on certain sizes, but once the older, more expensive lumber purchased during the rising market is moved out of inventory, pricing to the end user should also decrease. Barring any unexpected setbacks at the mills that would hinder production, we should continue to see lumber correct itself from the craziest summer in recent history.

We did get one price increase notice since the last newsletter. Euclid Chemical made customers aware of a pending price increase. Effective January 1, 2021, Euclid will implement a 3% price change on all construction product packaged goods. Any orders place on or after January 1 st will reflect the new pricing. New pricing for 2021 should be available for quoting by mid-December.

Construction costs moved up sharply in September, while bid prices dipped, as indicated by producer price indexes (PPIs) that the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) posted on October 14. AGC posted tables showing PPIs relevant to construction. 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—edged down 0.2% for the month, not seasonally adjusted. The year-over-year (y/y) gain of 1.7% was the smallest in more than three years.

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

Catching up with our Customers

David DiPietro and Matt Meister of Carolina Foundations, Inc. are this month’s featured customers in our Catching up with our Customers series. New South Construction Supply has worked with David and Matt for years, and their residential concrete contractor business of nine years prides itself on honesty, systems and top-quality work.

During the Q&A,  we interviewed Matt, a Partner alongside David, where we focused on the booming Charleston economy and home building efforts underway. If you haven’t been to Charleston recently or if you’re curious about residential construction in the Lowcountry, give this Q&A a read to discover just how quickly this area is growing.


Featured Manufacturers

Euclid

Makers of Chemicals and Aggregates for the Concrete Industry


 

Spyder

Manufacturer of blades and attachments that work as long and hard as you do

 

Makita

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


Associate Profile
 


Lynn Moore
Regional Manager, Southeast

This month’s Associate Profile is of Lynn Moore, Regional Manager over our Columbia and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and Charlotte, Greensboro, and Raleigh, North Carolina branches. Originally from Columbia, he is a graduate from Brookland-Cayce High School and the University of South Carolina, where he holds a BS in Marketing. Lynn and his wife Carrie have three children, and his hobbies include rugby, traveling, working out, and being a fan at his children’s games and performances. Lynn has been in the building materials business since 1995 and has been a great addition to our team. Get in touch with him at Lynn.Moore@newsouthsupply.com.

Our management article this month is on time management, a crucial skill for any effective manager. My latest column in the Upstate (Greenville, SC) Business Journal has my top tips on how to be a more effective time manager. https://lnkd.in/eF_3y3A


Lessons from the Trenches: 6 tips to keep time on your side

By Jim Sobeck

There have probably been more books written about time management than any other business-related subject. Almost everyone feels like they can do a better job at managing their time. Time is the only commodity that cannot be replaced. Once you waste 15 minutes, it is wasted forever. I hate it when people tell me, “I couldn’t find the time.” I am quick to point out that time is not found, it is made.

Here are a few time management tips that I have discovered over the years:

Take care of the important before the urgent. Many of us take care of urgent tasks while important tasks go undone. I have made a spreadsheet with four quadrants, which I use as my time planner. On the vertical axis is “important” and “not important,” and on the horizontal axis is “urgent” and “not urgent.” I spend most of my time in the top left quadrant — tasks that are both urgent and important. My second priority is tasks which are important but not urgent; my third priority is tasks which are urgent but not important; and my last priority is tasks which are neither urgent nor important. When you focus on mainly the upper left quadrant, that’s where you get the best results.

Use something like the Task function in Microsoft Outlook. You don’t have to use Outlook, but use something like it so you can put all of your tasks into it and get reminders when you need to start working on each task. Once I have put a task into Outlook, I forget about it because I know Outlook will remind me to do it so that I don’t miss the due date.

Tackle first things first. A lot of people are tempted to first knock off a bunch of easy tasks on their daily “to do” list so that they can feel good about seeing a lot of items crossed off. Resist that temptation. You will be much more productive if you attack the toughest tasks first, provided they are both urgent and important.

One bite at a time. Tackle big projects one bite at a time. If you have a project that is going to take eight hours, it won’t be quite as daunting if you do it in four two-hour increments over one week. Plus you’ll end up with a better product, as each time you work on the project you will refine the work you have previously done. It’s just like in school; if you cram the night before a test your grade is never as good as if you studied for a week instead of the night before. Plus the task doesn’t seem that tough when you break it up this way.

Under-promise and over-deliver. When you agree to take on a task, don’t be aggressive in saying when you can have it done. If you think you can have it done in a week, say it will be done in two weeks, and then if you deliver it in 10 days it looks like you delivered on the project early. Obviously, you can only do this when the deadline isn’t time sensitive.

Don’t overcommit yourself. I am constantly asked to be on boards and committees. I enjoy doing this, but I only have so many hours in the day, so I turn down most of them. You have to learn how to say no or you will end up stressed out and doing a lot of things at the last minute — and that is never when you do your best work.


That’s all for this month. If you’re like me, you can’t wait to get this election behind us, if for no other reason than to stop the barrage of campaign attack ads. Hopefully, whoever is elected will be good for the construction industry.

Best regards,

Jim Sobeck
President & CEO 864-263-4377 (Direct Line)
jim.sobeck@newsouthsupply.com
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Author of The Real Business 101: Lessons From the Trenches
Get your copy below.
For Smashwords (eBook version for Kindle, iPad, Nook) click here
For direct link to Amazon site (Kindle and print version) click here


 

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