February 2016 – Market Update

by Paul Rogers,

Weather has just about everything to do with the pace of business this time of year, and the fact that we have been in a mild-weather pattern with little to no snow and warm temperatures is a key reason that business has been as strong as it has been: so far, sales this winter have exceeded expectations on just about every level.  Leading up to the New Year, dealers drew their stock down for inventory and accounting purposes, but were constantly drawn back to replenish from wholesalers as the outtake was greater than expected (and typically at higher prices and at the mercy of whatever inventory was available). Mills had entered into their annual holiday shut downs with full order files from dealers, but the pressure from wholesalers (who needed to replenish as well) kept them extra busy and in a position where they could hold firm on their numbers. As supplies replenished, concerns of the impact of the plunging Chinese market, the growing threat of inclement weather and fears that recent business was cutting into Spring sales kept buyers from taking on more than their immediate needs. As of print, mills have caught up and cracks are beginning to develop in pricing. Presuming that we will continue to enjoy the weather pattern that we’ve had so far, we can anticipate pricing to remain firm to slightly down for February but, being winter in New England, a turn of course may have a greater impact….

For unexpectedly busy periods like these, where obtaining what you need and when you need it can be a challenge, it is quite common for quality control to go on hiatus. From our chair, it’s a predictable phenomenon that the small percentage of incidences that we would normally see increases proportionately to the level of business, in that what would normally be a minor and isolated incident can become more of a widespread issue. Production issues and the human element lend much to these instances, but sometimes older stock that doesn’t get rotated can also be the culprit. Much of what we buy and sell is carefully packaged for protection sake, which can conceal defects or condition issues that may come to light in the field. However, the Shepley Receivers, Shippers and Drivers are exceptional and their well-trained eyes and experience catch many issues long before they are unloaded. They are diligent in reporting them back to Purchasing so that the issues can be resolved promptly. They have also been extensively trained on the handling and care of inventory, and pay close care to rotating our stock. It can’t be forgotten that there is a human element at every stage of the supply chain, from forest to field, so there will always be an element of issues that are missed and, unfortunately, discovered by you, the end user. When these circumstances arise, please put us to the test by immediately notifying us of the problem so that we can make it right. The last thing that we would want is for you to suffer with inferior stock and/or cause delays to your project. We can say with confidence that we have some of the best yard personnel and drivers in the industry, as we have made the extensive investment in intensive and regular training and promote open communication. We promise to do everything within our power to promptly rectify the situation and get you back on track; our people make the difference!

2016 is shaping up to be a good year and one that appears to be bringing us good fortune from a multitude of new opportunities and influences. We hope that we have the opportunity to prove to you why we are the best choice on Cape Cod for a building material supplier. Thank you for your business!

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