The Industry and Businesses Keep Moving Forward Despite Supply Chain Challenges

During the Dodge Construction Network Conference last week, experts convened to discuss the ongoing issues associated with supply chain challenges. In a separate session targeted towards subcontractors, Dave Colford, chief revenue officer for Dodge Construction Network; Jim Davis, vice president of Whirl Construction; Mike Headrick, vice president and district manager of PCL Construction; and Bryan Callaway, CFO of C&E Lumber Co., offered tips and reviewed how to keep businesses and projects going as supply-chain challenges persist.

“Because despite these near-term issues, the market is headed towards a period of sustained growth. And that is the best news of all,” said Colford.

The four experts commented on how their businesses have progressed and endured the challenges that came with the COVID-19 pandemic—remote working, dealing with storage issues and coordinating deliveries.

“It’s not just about solving for today, it’s about how our business is fundamentally changed in terms of how we move forward,” Colford said.

“The biggest concern for our industry turns into: are we buying it at the right time? We all know lumber went through the roof,” Callaway said. ‘If I buy heavy right now, what’s my price going to be next month?’ You know, we bought six or seven truckloads of material back in July, and each truckload was approximately $12,000 cost on average. Then in August, when the lumber market decided to drop, we lost 40% right off the top–a $70,000 loss. So, we just can’t go through that.”

Davis also noted a piece of business being emphasized is communication with customers.

“Typically, a lot of standard proposals are 30 days… you can’t guarantee the 30 days because, just like what happened with the lumber fall-out, the price of steel is going up astronomically. The price 10 days from now may not be good anymore. So, I think the biggest thing on our end is trying to manage the customer expectations. Educate them on what we know, ask them for guidance on what we don’t know. Then we come to a happy medium and try to have the understanding that this is the price today. But, if XYZ happens, the price is subject to change.”

The panelists spoke on what they think the future looks like for their businesses, as the pandemic-related restrictions rise.

“I would say that we’re relatively bullish about the next 18 to 24 [months],” said Headrick. “I think that there’s a lot of great opportunities out there. The pipelines have been full for quite some time– they all kind of hit pause for quite a while … So, we really think there’s some great opportunity in the next 18 to 24 months.”

“There is cautious optimism across the board, but at least the underlying data suggests the recovery is real,” Colford said.

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