February 2015 – Market Update

By Paul Rogers,

Business was stronger in January than had been anticipated, and likely due to the fair (but certainly frigid) New England weather. Many items that are normally in good supply were depleted due to the activity and buyers were left hanging on for minute-by-minute updates as to the status of their incoming goods. Products from the West Coast (plywood, in particular) suffered the greatest delays as railcars were slow-going in the Northwest due to flooding, which caused several instances of car derailments. On top of a standing shortage of railcars, these derailments doubled the normal four week lead time as cars that were behind the derailment were, essentially, trapped until the tracks were cleared. Other items that come from the East (such as premium studs) were also in short supply, but this was largely due to a higher-than-normal demand.  Not surprisingly, prices for these select items shot up as buyers scrambled to cover their needs, but the rest of the market seemed to languish. For February, it’s anticipated that the market will remain relatively flat and pricing will even out for the items that ran short as stock gets replenished.

Spring is just a little more than six weeks away, but it’s a great time to take advantage of the cold and short days to attend local presentations sponsored by organizations in our trade. With what our vendors like to call “Show Season”, there are several opportunities that will be presented to you that can help provide valuable knowledge that can be applied to your everyday practices. Most spotlight product advancements (or offer refreshers to products that you may already be familiar with), but it’s important to keep up to speed on these changes and general trends as they can have a profound impact on your project. Inevitably, there is always a “take-away” from something you see or hear that makes your valuable time away from your job worthwhile.  As previously mentioned here, we do sponsor our own educational seminars and meetings (keep your eyes peeled for our Shepley Contractor Nights!), but we also encourage you to attend the regional shows as well, such as the Journal of Light Construction Show (JLC Live, Rhode Island Convention Center, Providence, RI), which is always a big hit. These are great opportunities to learn more about the industry, products and suppliers in addition to being able to network with other building material professionals. As we can all agree upon, there is a tremendous amount of very important information that we must know in order to do our jobs well and effectively, and the constant changes can make it a tough challenge. An old Chinese Proverb states that “Learning is like rowing upstream: not to advance is to drop back”, and it’s certainly true, so please do consider attending these educational opportunities.

More will be announced in coming weeks about these events, so please be attentive to our Shepley e-mail blasts and also what will be posted in Shepformation. Also, be sure to consult your Shepley sales person for any additional information or topics that you would like see addressed, as we always encourage your feedback. As always, thank you for your business and for allowing us to be your professional partner!

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