Thanksgiving 2018 Newsletter

Thanksgiving 2018 Newsletter




New South News

Dear Friends,

First off, best wishes for Thanksgiving and the beginning of the holiday season. As the year winds down we tend to reflect on those who are responsible for our good fortune and our customers are at the top of the list. I hope all of you have a great Thanksgiving surrounded by lots of family and friends. That is my plan.

Now on to material pricing. After a brief respite from most manufacturers price increases are being announced by many of our suppliers. See below for more details.

Multiple manufacturers of construction products we distribute either announced price increases or increased prices in November. Most cited transportation availability shortages and resulting freight rate hikes as the main culprit, as well as increased raw material costs. A few manufacturers dealing in asphaltic based products also cited the lack of availability of asphalt as a reason. While the increased emphasis on infrastructure growth has been a positive to the overall economy, one side effect has been the limited amount of asphalt in free supply.

Chicago Shredded Scrap Steel posted up $20/ton from October resulting in a second month of rising scrap prices heading into winter. The current metals market is in a “wait and see” approach on how long the mills will continue to absorb the increases before responding to them. The tariffs of 2018 are still having an impact on the import metal market as well.  The price of imported rebar and other steel currently in the market is still very high and is posing little competition to domestic mills. Discounts seen on import materials are mostly an attempt to liquidate material by the seller before the close of 2018, even if those discounted sales are at a loss.

The Quikrete Companies, a leading supplier of cements, mortars, and concrete repair products, announced a price increase effective February 1, 2019. This price increase is a 5% across the board increase on all products. Continued increases associated with labor, raw material, and transportation are stated as the reasons for the price increase. When planning for those spring time job starts, please be aware of pending price increases and look to buy out bulk material by the end of January where possible.

Polyguard Products, Inc notified their distributors that they will increase prices at the beginning of 2019. A 7% price increase on all products within their Architectural Division will become effective on all shipments starting January 7th, 2019. Another leading supplier of waterproofing materials, Carlisle Coatings & Waterproofing, Inc, announced that they will be implementing a 3% increase on all materials starting January 1, 2019. Both these companies deal heavily in asphaltic products and mentioned that the availability of raw materials and increased transportation costs are the main reasons for their 2019 price increases.

The Euclid Chemical Company will also be increasing prices at the beginning of 2019. In an announcement to their distributors earlier this month, Euclid Chemical will increase prices by 5% on all Euclid Chemical and Increte construction products. The price increase will be effective for all orders placed on or after January, 1 2019. Any orders placed before January 1, 2019 must ship prior to January 15, 2019 to maintain the current pricing. Euclid cited increased transportation costs, the tariffs on imported raw materials, and overall global trade volatility as the main factors for their price increase.

Even though scrap steel again posted higher for a second straight month, domestic rebar prices remained stable through November. Demand is historically lower in the months of November and December, however; with the price for scrap steel posting up in October and November,    domestic mills may increase prices towards the later part of December or at the beginning of the New Year.   On November 5th Commercial Metals Company (CMC) announced they had finalized the acquisition of certain rebar fabrication and steel mill assets from Gerdau in the US. The acquisition includes all U.S. rebar fabrication facilities and the steel mills located in Knoxville, Tennessee; Jacksonville, Florida; Sayreville, New Jersey; and Rancho Cucamonga, California.

Concrete reinforcing wire mesh prices have been stable over the past few months, with November pricing staying flat after the double digit increases seen three to six months ago. Availability has improved, but depending on the gauge and size of both sheets and rolls, lead times are still longer than they have historically has been. Early buyout of material is still recommended for your upcoming projects. The lack of drivers and increased transportation costs are still playing a role with the increased lead times.

The few polyolefin under slab vapor barrier manufacturer’s that did not implement price increases in October followed suit and increased prices in November. Stego Industries, Yellow Guard, and Raven Industries have all now increased prices by roughly 5% since the end of September. With volatile resin pricing, we strongly recommend purchasing out your under slab vapor barriers as soon as possible.

The producer price index (PPI) for final demand in October, not seasonally adjusted, increased 0.8% from September and 2.9% year-over-year (y/y) from October 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported on November 9. AGC posted tables and an explanation focusing on construction prices and costs

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

Featured Manufacturers



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Products that protect surfaces and structures from moisture, water and other undesired substances.

Associate Profile

Our associate profile this month is of Randall Wood. Randall is our North Carolina Road and Bridge Sales Manager, based out of our Greensboro branch. Randall joined us back in June to help us expand our sales to road and bridge contractors. He is a native of Danbury, NC and graduated from South Stokes High School in Walnut Cove, NC. Randall has been married for ten years and he and his wife have three children, two boys and one girl. In his down time he enjoys hunting, fishing, and building furniture. Prior to joining us Randall was with CMC Rebar Fabrication for 15 years as a detailer, estimator, project manager, and in outside sales. Before that he was a project manager for Osborne Construction. We are excited to have someone with his extensive background on our team.

Our management article this month is entitled, Tools for Defusing Explosive Conversations. We all know the old saying, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” This article addresses how to handle potentially volatile discussions. I trust you will find it helpful.

We were also grateful to have another cover story done on us. We are on the cover of The Who’s Who in Building and Construction Fall/ Winter edition. If you want to read the story here is the link:{%22issue_id%22:534989,%22page%22:0}

November’s Management Article

Tools for defusing explosive conversations
By Eric Torrance

We’ve all seen an action movie where a bomb is set to go off in seconds. Our hero frantically wipes away sweats as he or she attempts to disarm it before everything is blown into oblivion. Hands shaking while holding a pair of wire cutters, we watch them look at the big dilemma: which wire leads to victory and which one leads to destruction. Ah, the tension!

I’ve never been around a live bomb. I’m not trying to be either. But, I have been in explosive situations involving potentially destructive conversations with difficult people. The consequences were less dire – nothing has come to life or death, and no buildings were at risk. But, the stakes were still high with big ramifications. Either the situation would be diffused… or people could leave very hurt, and things could get incredibly hostile.

Have you ever known a disarmer — someone with the rare ability to walk into a potentially volatile situation and bring calm, coolness, rationality, and resolve? These people are a rarity. They are a species on the verge of extinction in today’s cultural climate. While they’re hard to find, we can’t have too many of them.

The Rare Skill of Disarming
We can’t control difficult people. But, we can be a disarming person. It is possible to defuse tension in the most explosive of situations. I’ve had the chance to learn from a few disarmers and watch them work in the tense, wire-cutting types of conversations. Here’s what I know about them: they are intentional people with a particular mindset. They don’t accidentally disarm situations or defuse difficult people. Here’s what they do.

Plan Ahead
If they know a potentially explosive situation is a possibility, disarmers have a plan. They don’t walk into tough conversations cold. Some of the best ones I know write out their thoughts on paper prior to the meeting. They want to choose words carefully. In some circumstances, disarmers will open up a difficult conversation by reading what they wrote down, not to be cold but rather to make sure the stage is set properly.

Prepare People
Disarmers don’t want the other people in the conversation to be caught by surprise. When people are caught off guard, most get defensive. Disarmers prep people by using statements like, “Can I ask you a difficult question?” Or, “I have something sensitive to talk to you about. Is now a good time or can we set up a time?”

Assume the Best
Disarmers work really hard at trying to think the best about others. Admittedly, the more difficult the person, the more work this takes. Disarmers put themselves in the shoes of the disgruntled person. They try to understand what they might be feeling. And, they attempt to assume that a person has good intentions, even if the outcomes haven’t been great. Now, it’s important to know that this isn’t always the case. Sometimes people do want to inflict harm or cause damage. But, disarmers don’t immediately assume this is the motivation of the other person.

Reflect Before Respond
One of the habits described in Stephen Covey’s classic book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, is seeking first to understand, then to be understood. Disarmers have great listening skills. They work to understand what the other person is experiencing. They often try to reflect back what they heard by articulating that person’s feelings in their own words. They use this phrase often: “What I heard you say was…” Then, and only then, do they share their perspective and feedback.

Say Sorry When Needed
Saying “I’m sorry” can be the difference between a complete meltdown and a helpful conversation. When dealing with a difficult person, it can be challenging to say sorry. However, disarmers know that saying, “I’m sorry,” doesn’t let the other person off the hook; disarmers understand that owning mistakes big and small can help someone else own their mistakes too. It’s human nature. If someone attacks and never concedes, the natural reaction is to do the same. Disarmers break the cycle by looking to apologize.

Choose the Right Time
In the movies, bomb detonation scenes always have a ticking clock. The bomb squad doesn’t have the luxury to choose the time and place to address the bomb. However, for most of us, our situations don’t have a ticking clock. Disarmers recognize when it’s time to have difficult conversations and when tensions are simply too high. They call time-outs and schedule another time down the road when emotions are less heated, and perspectives can be clearer.

Let’s face it: most of us will never be in an action movie with Bruce Willis. We won’t have to choose which wire to cut or have the fate of the world in our hands. But, we will face the opportunity to either escalate a volatile situation or diffuse it with our words and actions. So let’s develop our skills as disarmers. Maybe the fate of the world is more in our hands than we think.

In closing we again wish all of our customers and suppliers a Happy Thanksgiving and a successful end to 2018.

Best regards,

Jim Sobeck
President 864-263-4377
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Author of The Real Business 101: Lessons From the Trenches
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