The COVID-19 pandemic caused incredible social and economic disruption across the globe last year. Here in the Midwestern construction and remodeling business, we were fortunate that our industry was able to adapt and continue working during the crisis. Here's what we see coming this year:
Supply Challenges to Continue Well Into 2021
COVID-19-related shutdowns and the implementation of workplace modifications severely hampered building material manufacturers' capacity in 2020. Additionally, devastation from Hurricane Laura last fall created a global PVC resin shortage impacting the manufacture of vinyl siding. These factors plus increases in transportation costs led to material price increases. Demand for roofing and siding products remained high last fall, resulting in extended lead times, temporary cessation of lower volume products, and asphalt shingles going on allocation.
We project that the traditional dip in activity that accompanies the winter season in the Midwest will not be enough for manufacturers to catch up to demand. We anticipate that these supply challenges will continue well into 2021. To mitigate the effects of these challenges, we recommend that you:
- Insert price escalation clauses in your contracts and limit quotes to 30 days
- Be mindful of selling less popular shingle colors
- Secure your orders ASAP to ensure adequate supply
- Prepare your customers for the potential of substitutions to complete projects
As we emerge from 2020, while challenges remain, we look with hope and optimism towards a brighter 2021. Here are a few good reasons why:
Wimsatt turns 85!
Many years ago, a young James Wimsatt left Kentucky for Michigan, obtained a law degree, and learned of the building supply business through the National Association of Credit Management. He and his brothers purchased a warehouse facility in Highland Park from CertainTeed Corporation. On March 17, 1936, Wimsatt Brothers opened its wholesale building supply business, and the rest is history! We've hit many milestones along the way - from introducing unassisted rooftop delivery to Michigan in the late eighties to growing to eight branch locations and expanding into Ohio over the intervening years. Our commitment to provide professional contractors with Gold Standard Experiences in exterior building materials remains the same. To celebrate our 85th anniversary this year, we've launched an all-new wimsattdirect.com and updated the look and feel of things to reflect our 85th anniversary brand. Thank you to all of our customers for your support over the years – we wouldn't be here today without you!
WimsattDirect Portal Upgrades
We're delighted to have hundreds of customers utilizing our customer portal since launching it in early 2019. We continue to invest in new technology to provide a class-leading online experience in building materials account management. In addition to refreshing the site this month, we've added two highly-requested features:
- Customers can now save jobs in their portal account without submitting them as orders, making it easier to quickly draft quotes for clients. When your client is ready to purchase, you can open the saved job, modify it as necessary, then submit your order!
- Need to change a ship date on an upcoming delivery? Now you can conveniently request delivery date changes from within your portal account.
A New Home for Our Toledo Branch
Hard to believe, but Wimsatt Toledo turns seven this month! And they're getting something pretty special for their birthday... a new facility! We couldn't be more excited to announce that the Toledo branch is moving down the road to a new, larger facility on Eckel Junction road in Perrysburg, less than a quarter mile from our previous location! The new location sits on six acres with over 30,000 square feet of warehouse space, stocking all of our Northern Ohio customers’ building material needs. It will also feature an 8,500 square feet state-of-the art showroom displaying the latest in building products & technology to assist you and your customers with product selections in a professional, friendly environment. Stay tuned for details on the official opening date!
There's lots of great things to look forward to this year, and Wimsatt is committed to providing you with a consistent, predictable level of Gold Standard service that earns your trust with every interaction.
Here's to a great 2021!
About Veronica Kerr
Veronica Kerr is the Marketing Specialist at Wimsatt Building Materials.