The LBM adventure

If the lumber/building material industry is a roller coaster (some would argue convincingly that it is), then keep holding on, because the adventure’s not going to stop any time soon. Doubters of that analogy need look no further than NAHB’s Housing Market Index, which tracks builder confidence. In just 12 months, from December 2017 to December 2018, the index plunged 16%. As I write this, builder confidence is bouncing back, having added back 10% in just five months.

I get the rollercoaster analogy, because there are so many factors in which we have little control: the volatile tariff situation (leading to material shortages and/or price spikes), mortgage rate hikes, shipping availability, labor shortage, unpredictable weather patterns, and so on.

However, I disagree with it because of one fundamental reality. On a roller- coaster, passengers have few options beyond scream/don’t scream, defy the safety instructions and put their arms in the air, etc. In contrast, as members of the LBM community, we can choose how to respond to the curves the market throws at us. The choices we make can lead to a wildly different experience than the people we started out next to. And at the end of the ride that is the business cycle, those who made wise decisions finish miles ahead of those who didn’t.

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Like every issue of LBM Journal, this one was crafted to help you smooth the bumps on the road ahead, and to provide the tactics and strategies that will help you outperform your competition. Here are a few of the can’t-miss articles in this month’s magazine:

Real Issues. Real Answers. The Installed Sales Option (p.32) While there are strong opinions on both sides of this issue, more than half of LBM Journal readers offer some kind of installed sales. For some, it’s a way to boost revenues and margins while providing a partial answer to the labor shortage. For others, the bad outweighs the good.

Family Name (p.38) Given the wild economic ride of just the past decade, imagine what the folks at S.W. Collins have been through since the com- pany’s launch back in 1844. Better yet, read the profile of this proud, seven- location company that’s based in Caribou, Maine. Senior Editor James Anderson talked with owner Sam W. Collins, and shares the story of a com- pany that’s survived tough challenges and is positioned to thrive.

Unmatched columnists. Rick Davis. Bill Lee. Russ Kathrein. John Wagner. Rikka Brandon. Bob Heidenreich. They’re recognized LBM industry thought leaders, and their every-issue columns include practical, tactical strategies   to help you grow your business.

There’s no question that the industry we chose (or that chose us?) is every bit an adventure. Thank you for taking LBM Journal along for the ride.

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