Home February 2020 Off and running

Off and running

Off and running

As I write this, the LBM Journal team just returned from the International Builders Show (IBS) in Las Vegas. Lots of things have changed during my 30 years (!) working in this industry. One that hasn’t, however, is IBS as a bellwether for what to expect from the coming year. In the early 2000s, for example, residential remodeling and construction were white-hot—a fact borne out by the packed-to-capacity aisles and exhibits. A decade later, not surprisingly, things were significantly quieter, as the industry was in full reboot mode after the Great Recession. IBS 2020 was a standout because the atmosphere was neither overly frenetic nor wait-and-see. Instead, it had what I can only describe as a sustainably healthy, positive energy.

Which makes sense. After all, builder confidence is at its highest point this century, and those economists who aren’t pounding the drum about an impending recession are talking about pent-up demand for homes. The underlying message: builders, dealers, distributors and manufacturers had best be set to deliver.

Here’s what we know today. We know that people need housing. We know that attitudes and preferences toward housing are changing. We know that there’s tremendous demand for entry level homes. We know that energy-efficiency, longevity and sustainability are expected by homeowners across the board.

In my view, today’s realities represent very real opportunities for everyone in the LBM industry. The question is, are you and your team prepared to meet the challenges that these opportunities represent? Are you actively engaged with builders, remodelers and homeowners in your market—and are you listening to what they want from you? Are you and your team tracking with changes in building codes, the latest trends in materials, and advances in technology that make your company easier to do business with?

Those are tough questions, and it’s okay if you don’t answer yes to all of them. The important thing is that you be aware of the changing dynamics that will determine how successful your company will be at the end of this year and ten years from now. And that you act on this intelligence to arm your team with the tools and training that they need to outperform the competition.

Bottom line: these are exciting times to be in the construction supply business. In this issue, and in everything we do, your team at LBM Journal is committed to working with you to embrace the challenges and make the most of the opportunities. By the way, none of this happens without the advertisers in the magazine, our website, the LBM Daily email newsletter, and the sponsors of our live events. Those companies are invested in your success, and they deserve your consideration