With only a few interruptions caused by winter storms, the generally mild weather this winter has, so far, allowed the market to remain active, allowing for favorable inventory turns at all supply levels and preventing any significant swings in pricing that we’d normally see this time of year. With pricing flat and at reasonable figures (and as we inch towards Spring), there is a strong persuasion amongst buyers to buy-in and cover their anticipated needs before something happens to disrupt the market, as it seems almost implausible that we’d be in this position after last year’s dramatic run-up and subsequent run-down. However, restraint is in play and, not unlike like cheap gas, the current strategy is to buy what you need and enjoy it while it lasts. Lessons learned in 2018 are still resonating: the fear of being priced on the wrong side of the market is still prevalent. Also influencing purchasing is the current and future state of the economy: there is some consternation towards the pace of business (as it is now and as it is being anticipated to be in the near term) as rising interest rates, stock market volatility, tariff impacts and political angling has brought angst and caution towards buying. However, despite any existing turmoil, business is good and there seems to be plenty of work to extend us well in to late spring: we’ll enjoy the fact that we are currently in a supply and demand equilibrium (keeping prices flat and stable) and anticipate that we will remain so throughout February.
There is a saying that goes “Price, quality, or service: pick any two.” Also known as the “Price Triangle” (and commonly seen as “cheap, good, and fast”), it poignantly argues that you can be offered a cheap price, high quality, or exceptional service, but you can only have two of the three; that a business cannot deliver on all three and be profitable. There is no doubt that, no matter what you are purchasing, you are making some sort of concession on one in order to have the other two. Ultimately, the decision to choose the two that are most important to you and your project will depend upon your circumstances, but it is always good advice to know and prepare for what you choose to sacrifice. We know that we all have to follow this model despite our best intentions, but still try to come as close as we can to obtaining all three. The key is to know your budget, know your need and know what value comes from the source and, inevitably, your two higher priorities will make the one you sacrifice more obvious. Like you, we are often confronted with making hard decisions as to where we source our products and do realize that we must deliver the best that we can on all three points. Oftentimes, this will put us in a position that forces us to come up with some creative, out-of-the-box thinking, but nothing ventured, nothing gained: we’ve learned that certain strategies afford a better position on obtaining the trifecta of competitive pricing, high quality, and exceptional service. Through our careful and well-managed alliances, we are able to offer some unique products (Bodyguard trim boards, Pau-Lope Ipe decking, Madison Wood Pressure Treated Lumber, and Certainteed Cedar Impressions, to name a few) that come with virtues that exceed the ordinary but are competitively priced when compared to their next closest peers. We also provide unique services through our award-winning Shepley Service Department, our comprehensive mill shop (complete with Weinig moulder and CNC router) and our exceptional Estimating department, all of which you may not find at your typical lumber yard. Beyond our products and services, however, it’s our people who make the ultimate difference and that “service” leg of the stool truly sets Shepley apart:. We earnestly want to provide you with the best experience obtainable from a building materials supplier.
When you prioritize two components of the Price Triangle for your own projects, we hope that you see an exceptional value from Shepley that trumps what you may find elsewhere. Whatever choice you make, you can rest assured that we stand behind our products, our people, and our customers. We are at the ready to assist you in any way that we can. Thank you for your business!