Monthly Archives

February 2013

Higher and Higher

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HerkSince I wrote my previous letter OSB prices have moved up considerably. It appears to me that any OSB production in the United States is being sold into whatever market is willing to pay the most. Sound familiar? This is how I started my January letter and it is still true. The only issue with that statement is that we are now at higher prices than when I wrote in January. It appears we had a pause in price in late January and the first few days of February, but then it was ‘off to the races.’ The prices I am seeing today are now reminiscent of the highs we saw in 2005. The pullback that I thought would happen in February is simply not happening. I still maintain that as new production comes online we will see a pullback that will bring us down to more reasonable levels. As I said in the last letter, that pullback should occur as we enter the third quarter of this year. The question is however, what price will we pull back from? The next few weeks should tell the story.

Lumber prices have also risen but at a more reasonable pace. The increases have been felt in all segments with yellow pine leading the way. Yellow pine was somewhat of a bargain in the fall but now it has jumped past hem fir equivalents in cost. Until more production comes online expect the increases to hold.

As can be expected, related products such as engineered products are showing increases. Every major manufacturer is taking an increase from 6 to 8 percent on the product line. Expect those increases to filter into your cost over the next 30 days.

What to do?

Price your jobs defensively. Even though you may wish for lower prices, do not reflect those wishes into your quotes. Higher prices are a reality and are going to be with us going forward.

To cut some costs let us help you engineer cost out of your homes by using alternative products like LSL, jack studs , 2×4 shorts, etc. Buying all prime lengths and refusing to change methodology by using shorts, LSL and the like, will cost you profits besides putting you at a competitive disadvantage. Check with your salesperson or call John Colley (616-879-1165) or myself (616-879-1102) and we can show you some potential savings.

Here’s to the coming spring and a great year of building.

Pro Contractor Showcase 2013

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On-the-TownWe’re excited to announce that registration is now open for our ‘2013 Pro Contractor Showcase!’ For over 10 years we have offered this event as a free service to our clients and vendors. This year we have made a few minor changes that we believe will enhance your experience.

Call Tony Huver at 616-879-1106 to register or with any questions. The Great Screw-Off
Who is the best in West… Michigan?
5:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

New for 2013 is ‘The Great Screw – Off.’ Sponsored by National Nail, this competition will find out who is the fastest screw driver in all of West Michigan. Time trials will take place throughout the evening and will come to conclusion with the eight fastest competitors meeting on stage in head to head competition.

Sign ups for “The Great Screw – Off’ will take place the night of the event and screw guns will be furnished by National Nail. Cash prizes will be awarded for the top three finishers.

Vendor Showroom
5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Many of the top names in our industry will be in one room to show off what’s new for 2013. New products, new innovations and new applications.

2013 Economic Forecast Seminar
Dr. Paul Isely, GVSU

4:00 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.
Dr. Isely will offer his views on where the housing market is headed in 2013.

 Location
The Eberhard Center is located in downtown Grand Rapids minutes away from the Van Andel Arena, The B.O.B and the Blue Footbridge.

 Our Sponsors
“The Great Screw – Off”
National Nail

Lanyard Sponsors
LP Products

Speaker Sponsorship
Andersen Windows

Watering Hole Sponsors
Fabral Metal Walls & Siding

MiraTec
Owens Corning

Universal Forest Products

Food Sponsors
Huber
MiraTec
Victor Barnes

Table Sponsors
EPS

Fabral Metal Walls & Siding

James Hardie
Lumbermen’s

Quality Edge
Quikrete
Weekes Forest Products

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Economic Forecast for 2013

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Mike-Dykstra-SmallThere have been many positive outlooks on the the housing industry for Michigan and Indiana recently. At the West Michigan Economic and Commercial Real Estate Forecast, Paul Isely, Grand Valley State University (GVSU) professor of economics, predicts West Michigan will see modest yet continuing growth for 2013. Isely’s slideshow revealed employment increases will be 1.7 percent to 2.3 percent, with an overall sales growth of 2.4 percent. At the Grand Rapids HBA economic summit, George Erickcek predicted moderate growth in West Michigan, low interest rates, and improving employment (due to manufacturing) that is setting the stage for housing growth. Robert Denk, an economist from the national HBA, predicted growth as a percentage of “normal” housing starts (based on housing starts between 200-2003) Using this method, Grand Rapids is currently at 31% of normal, and is predicted to increase to 45% at the end of 2013 and 62% at the end of 2014. Michigan and Indiana closely reflect this trend growing to roughly 45% and 60% in 2013 and 2014 respectively. This economic prediction lays out a 50% growth in each of the next two years.

For a closer, more detailed economic forecast, please join us at the Eberhard Center at 4:00 on Thursday, February 7th, to hear Paul Isley, GVSU professor of economics. This economic presentation will be held before our 2013 Pro Contractor show.

We are preparing our company for growth in a few ways. We are hiring in many areas of the company: production employees at the truss plant, designers at the truss plant, salespeople, material handlers in Zeeland, and CDL-A truck drivers. If you know of anyone that may be a good fit, please send them over to apply. We are also implementing a warehouse management system (WMS) to increase our efficiency and improve our accuracy in our Zeeland yard. We have labor solutions with ZCS and wall panel solutions at ZTC. Although we are challenged with our supply chain with increasing prices and extended lead times, we are committed to servicing our customers through this growth period.

Zeeland Lumber and Supply Links – January 2013

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We have compiled all of the links we featured this month and posted them below.  We found them to be helpful and informative, and we hope that you do too.

Rebound in construction hiring by the Washington Post
Mark sat down with Barbara Thompson from EPS Security by Zeeland Lumber and Supply
Eight snow shoveling safety tips courtesy of the Safety X Change
Retail real estate is on the rise from WZZM 13
Real estate prices are expected to rise by The Today Show

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Pro-Contractor-Showcase-255x300Our 2013 Pro Contractor Showcase was great.  Thank you to all of our clients, sponsors and employees for braving the weather on February 7th and joining us at the Eberhard Center for this annual event.

This year’s show included included an economic forecast by Dr. Paul Isley from Grand Valley State University and screw driving competition that was sponsored by National Nail.

Watch our video here.