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February 2017

Extraordinary circumstances are surrounding this year’s market – protect yourself!

By | Homeowner News, Professional Builder News | No Comments

There is a lot of uncertainty in the market this spring

With both an expected agreement on a new Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA) and the settlement of a Countervailing Duty (CVD) for presumably subsidized Canadian lumber sold into the United States.  The United States and Canada operated all last year without an agreement.  Most parties seemed content with last year’s business with one exception – small U.S. lumber producers.  With no SLA, the high volumes of Canadian lumber that shipped to the United States kept pricing low and the returns that went back to Canada were aided by an almost 30% exchange rate advantage keeping Canadian mills happy.

This isn’t a new argument between the United States and Canada, the argument stems from a fundamental disagreement on land management.  U.S. mills own or lease vast tracks of timberlands and must therefore manage their own sustainability while Canadian mills pay a stumpage charge to the Canadian government to forest the Canadian government’s land which the Canadian government manages.  Canadian mills therefore presumably do not bear the burden of maintaining land on their balance sheet.

Decking Products

To dealers like us the issue seems ludicrous

Many of the larger mills operate on both sides of the border now anyway and pricing appears directly correlated between northern and southern offerings.  We just simply want to provide our customers with the products they want, when they want them, and at a price they are willing to pay for them.  Unfortunately, we are not the only parties involved and some feel the competition is unfair.

That being said, the United States Softwood Lumber Coalition filed an anti-dumping lawsuit after a one year “cooling down” period when the SLA expired.  The suit named the four biggest Canadian lumber producers (West Fraser, Canfor, Resolute, and Tolko).  A panel agreed there were damages and now anyone interested in North American lumber is eagerly awaiting the determination of what those damages are.  Between the SLA and the CVD, Canadian mills are bracing for 30% increase but the actual determination may be quite different than that.  Unfortunately I think we are along for the ride this spring until it all gets sorted out.  There are four dates to keep in mind that will influence lumber pricing this year:

  • 01/24            Pricing for the countervailing duty is retroactive to this date.
  • 02/03            Pricing for the anti-dumping lawsuit are retroactive to this date.
  • 04/24            Determination date for the countervailing duty.
  • 05/04            Determination date for the anti-dumping lawsuit.

What does this mean for both of us?

Look for pricing to rise between now and the determination dates.  Pricing bumped up pretty good this week and if you haven’t raised your selling prices now is the time to do it.  Again, the market is bracing for 30% and the determination dates may bring more pain or relief.  Our goal is to always be a resource that adds value to your business and we pledge to keep you competitive in the market but pricing is going up in the short term.  Please protect yourselves with market correction clauses and expiration dates on your quotes.  The dynamics in this market are much bigger than both of us and neither of us can control them.  All is not lost though, it is very likely the market will come back down just as fast as it went up after the determination dates but don’t leave it in someone else’s hands!

 

 

 

John Colley, MBA
Purchasing Manager
Zeeland Lumber & Supply

Now Hiring: Service & Parts Coordinator

By | Open Positions | No Comments
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Location: Zeeland, MI

Job Title:   Service & Parts Coordinator        FLSA Status:    Non-Exempt

Department:  Window / Exterior Door        Reports to:     Specialty Product Sales Coordinator

Summary: Service & Parts Coordinator is responsible for serving Zeeland Lumber’s customers in service and parts coordination.  Its purpose is to enhance sales and service in the windows, exterior doors, and cabinet departments.  It will include meeting with walk-in customers and talking with phone-in customers.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Accurately enter quotes and orders with all information needed to ensure successful interaction with operations.
  • Receive and process incoming internal parts orders. Notify co-workers of the receipt of the parts and when necessary, schedule the service appointment in which parts are to be installed
  • Collect and process payments for window/door service calls
  • Maintain an accurate inventory of window service parts; reporting this data to outside suppliers as requested
  • Maintain an accurate inventory of select window and exterior door stock items
  • Greeting customers as they enter our office/showroom
  • Writing up walk-in and phone-in customers’ orders
  • Assisting customers with product, delivery, and service status information
  • Coordinate installations & perform scheduling and paperwork for installed overhead garage doors & window service.
  • Assist with scheduling work crews to meet customer’s schedule, and coordinating the material/labor.
  • Engaging in customers’ projects
    • Asking questions to qualify customer needs
    • Identify product brand and specs. with customers
    • Returning project information in a timely manner (based on customer need)
    • Following up on customer requests and possible orders
  • Continual responsibility of being a cooperative resource to customers and fellow employees

Qualifications / Requirements

  • Excellent time management including but not limited to excellent organizational skills, detail oriented, manage multiple priorities, work logically and systematically, etc.
  • Working knowledge and everyday use of technology including but not limited to email, phones, internet, MS Word, MS Excel, BisTrack, WMS, & ADP
  • Problem solving skills and the ability to offer creative solutions.
  • Flexibility and the ability to manage change.
  • Excellent listening skills and interpersonal communication skills.
  • Positive attitude to continued learning and continual improvement.

Education / Training / Experience

  • High School degree a minimum
  • Experience in the Building Industry
  • Knowledge of blueprints

Success Factors

Personal characteristics/behavior that contribute to the ability to do your job well:

  • Respect for employees, customers, vendors and management.
  • Respect for the Organization and its information
  • Willingness to serve the customer
  • Teamwork mentality
  • Product & building industry knowledge.

Reporting to this Position:    None

Physical Demands and Work Environment

The physical demands and work environment characteristics described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  1. Physical Demands: While performing the duties of this job, the employee is occasionally required to walk; sit; use hands to finger, handle, or feel objects, tools, or controls; reach with hands and arms; balance; stoop; talk or hear.  The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 15 pounds.  Specific vision abilities required by the job include close vision, distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, depth perception, and the ability to adjust focus.
  1. Work Environment: While performing the duties of this job, the employee is exposed to weather conditions prevalent at the time.  The noise level in the work environment is usually minimal.

Most of the job will be performed within the office environment, specifically at a desk and on the showroom floor.  There will be occasional need to go to the warehouse and actual job-sites for deliveries or customer sales calls.

Summary:

The above is a list of activities routinely performed by this position and includes the essential functions an individual must perform for the position.  The above list is not all inclusive and the Specialty Product Sales Coordinator reserves the right to add and/or remove any job duties as deemed necessary at any time.  The employee is expected to adhere to all company policies and to act as a role model in the adherence of policies.