Every month, as part of our Real Issues survey, we ask members of the LBM community to share a business challenge that they’re wrestling with. This month, one reader wrote:
“Do you mean besides labor shortages, outages on common inventory items, far out lead times, and large price increases, fuel price increases, lack of equipment to purchase for deliveries? Other than that, it’s just another day in the lumberyard!”
There’s no shortage of challenges facing everyone in our industry. That’s how it’s been ever since I joined this community in 1990, though it seems that today’s business issues are amplified. Indeed, there’s no question that that many key challenges are amplified—labor shortages, inventory outages, price spikes, etc. But it’s also true that the positives are amplified, too. Specifically, business is up…way up.
Every two years, we do a comprehensive survey of our audience to help give us a state of the industry view. According to the just-completed 2021 LBM Readership Study, 43% of respondents expected their 2021 sales to end up more than 20% higher than 2020. And 23% expected that figure to be 25% higher. That’s big. Granted, the spiking commodity lumber and panel prices contributed heavily to that result. But even so, historically low interest rates have fueled a white-hot market for remodels and new homes.
The fact is, you and your team are doing more with less. Our small but fierce team at LBM Journal is right there with you, having finished 2021 with the strongest year in our history. As I write this in the waning days of December, we’re doing the same as many of you: leveraging robust technology tools that will help us work better, smarter, and faster. Specifically, we’re pulling the trigger on a software platform that is lightyears ahead of the system we’ve outgrown.
As we turn the page on 2021 and go boldly into 2022, no one knows what fresh (or freshly amplified) challenges we’ll encounter. But here’s what I do know. We’re all a part of an incredible LBM community. I believe that there’s nothing we can’t accomplish together. The LBM Journal team is committed to connecting you with others, and to delivering the insights and information you need to drive your company forward. Thanks to support from our industry’s manufacturers and service providers, nearly everything we do (print and digital magazine, robust website, webinars, podcasts, daily e-newsletter, etc.), costs you nothing.
Even though it’s free to you doesn’t mean it doesn’t have tremendous value. Access to topic experts Rick Davis, Thea Dudley, Shane Soule, John Wagner, Russ Kathrein, Bill Lee, and Rikka Brandon. Expertly researched and written In Depth product features by Mike Berger. Insightful Dealer Profiles by our own James Anderson. While I may be biased, I believe that there is no set of business tools that can match what LBM Journal delivers. The icing on the cake: they’re paid for by companies invested in your success. Like any tools, they only work when you put them to work.
Thank you for the opportunity to work together to build your sales, your business, and your brand.