Continue Scenario Planning
Metal Contractors and Manufacturers ARE Still at Work
Take Care of your People
For the third week in a row, METALCON Co-Founder and CEO, Frank A. Stasiowski, FAIA, in partnership with the Metal Construction Association and Rob Haddock, CEO and Founder of S-5! Metal Roof Innovations, welcomed everyone last Wednesday, 4/15, to our FREE weekly “no-BS discussion” of challenges and workarounds happening in real time. Rob and Frank were joined by special guests Tony Buoquot, general manager of MBMA and Miguel Pena, sales, marketing and operations at GSSI Sealants, also a Metal Construction Association Board Member.
Highlights from Frank Stasiowski, METALCON Co-Founder and CEO
- Mixed news at the moment with numbers of cases still strong across the U.S., citing a newly released Harvard study indicating that social distancing may be necessary through 2022.
- Issued a “checklist” to help with scenario planning; all event participants are eligible to receive a complimentary copy (link to receive your copy located at end of blog).
- Delivered key message, “Take care of your people”; apply for a grant or loan.
- Commented on a recent quarterly PSMJ Resources survey of their 165,000 A/E/C reps which stated, as of March 31, there is a decided downturn in some markets but an upturn in others; seeing a 14% delay ratio from design and construction side.
Highlights from Rob Haddock, CEO and Founder of S-5! Metal Roof Innovations
- At S-5!, seeing year-over-year orders to date are ahead but there’s been a 40-50% drop over past 6 weeks with inbound orders, which were anticipated; expect drop to continue through mid-May; seeing sporadic patterns.
- Currently have two large building projects in the works, including expansions of their corporate office in Colorado and their north Texas plant, which are continuing.
- In speaking with a large Denver-based architecture firm, anecdotally they commented seeing a slowing of commercial retail projects (i.e., strip malls), but other commercial projects seem to be moving forward along with planning and zoning; permitting has gone virtual; supply chain seems like it’s doing fine with some slowing of inbound deliveries and also seeing some price lowering (e.g., lumber).
- A California-based customer is seeing some success in using virtual tools for the building inspections process.
- A major equipment supplier is still working on a 16-week lead timeline, which is consistent with Q3 and Q4 2019.
- Emphasized taking care of the opportunities to do business differently, highlighting S-5!’s weekly webinars and the great reception they are receiving.
- In looking ahead and at the prospect of loosening restrictions, he sees more of a “W” or “lazy S” curve for the economy versus a full rebound
- Overall, staying bullish and optimistic, yet pragmatic.
Special Guest, Tony Buoquot, General Manager at Metal Building Manufacturers Association (MBMA). Tony has been the GM at MBMA since 2018. Previously he was president of the NSA, the largest trade organization in the sunroom and solarium industry. He is an experienced engineer responsible for manufacturing plants, customer service, purchasing and engineering.
Tony shared the following perspectives:
- MBMA is staying focused on serving its members and focusing on the association’s mission of education.
- MBMA staff is busy providing technical support to structural engineers, energy efficiency and safety.
- Working with universities on the clinical and lab work has slowed given the closings.
- Similar to MBCEA (referenced by Art Hance during last week’s event), MBMA is in the process of replacing face-to-face meetings and seminars with virtual meetings.
- No plans to shut down; all staff is working remotely.
- When asked by Frank for a membership update, Tony shared numbers were up in Jan. and Feb. but March had not yet been compiled; based on anecdotal conversations, he said he hasn’t heard of any of their member companies shutting down completely and business levels are holding steady.
Special guest Miguel Pena, VP of GSSI Sealants Metal Construction Association Board Member, was introduced next. Miguel has worked at GSSI Sealants for 13 years, responsible for sales, marketing and operations. The company has manufactured Butyl Sealants for the metal industry for more than 30 years.
Miguel offered the following perspective on the current status of industry sales:
- Concurred with Rob Haddock in that Q1, including March felt normal and waiting to see the “shoe drop”; just now starting to see about a 20-25% decline and a “general slow-down.”
- Commented the “silver lining” may be that a slow down will give manufacturers time to focus on taking care of their workers and make adjustments according to CDC recommendations for their safety, while still be able to meet customer expectations.
- Haven’t furloughed and currently not planning to.
- Sales wise, have seen erratic patterns, e.g. – seeing a lot of activity in Texas right now, some shipping to Southern California and Southeast but understandably lower in Northwest and Northeast; pleasantly surprised to see large orders to Middle East and Southeast Asia.
- Not seeing a “severe” effect across the industry, but agrees with Rob that it will be erratic and be prepared for the ups and downs.
- Suggested companies find new ways to get their name out there, e.g.,-sponsor webinars
LIVE questions from participants … REAL TIME!
- Will this crisis create new opportunities, new business, etc.? Consensus from speakers was yes; Miguel said, “From the metal construction side, we can align with the story of how this is having a positive effect on the environment.” Rob commented, “As far as shake-ups go, this is a big, one but it gives companies an opportunity to change, rethink and reshuffle.”
- Will there be a difference between renovation vs. new construction? The speakers agreed new construction already planned will move forward, but renovations or retrofitting may be put on hold.
- Has anyone shifted marketing and sales efforts to go direct to residential homeowners? Some are already doing this or focusing their outreach to distributors who then market direct to homeowners.
POLLING QUESTIONS (questions asked “live” during the course of the event to get a “pulse” of the industry from week to week)
PQ #1: How many since last week have applied for an SBA Loan? 65% reported yes. A complete reversal from last week when 65% reported no; Frank said, “getting this money can help you take care of your people, which is key.”
PQ #2: Of those who have applied, have you received the funds yet? 85% replied no. This is lower than last week’s 97% who hadn’t received funds so moving in the right direction. Frank commented, “SBA has released funds to the banks, but banks are slow to issue because of the volume of applications; stay in close contact with your bank.”
PQ #3: Compared to last week, are you more, less or same optimistic? 53% reported same, 15% reported less and 32% report more. Consistent with last week.
PQ #4: Since last week’s METALCONLive!, how many have done scenario planning? 77% reported yes, up from 64% last week.
PQ #5: Are you now experiencing project delays or cancellations as compared to last week? 31% said yes, compared to last week when 80% reported yes.
“Crystal ball” predictions from the speakers
All agreed May will look like April with continued slowing and shutdowns but optimistically looking ahead to restrictions being loosened by June. All suggested stay alert and stay involved with industry interactions as much as possible versus world news. Rob mentioned “keep an eye on the medical community, legislative community and ‘Joe Q public’ meaning the public’s compliance.
In Closing …. Get your copy of Frank’s Handout and Pre-Register for METALCON
Calling it his, “Runway Reopening Planning,” Frank announced a new Handout he created called, “38 Questions to Ask-and Answer-When Designing Your Reopening Plan,” which you can download for free. Answering questions including, “How do you protect your people?,” “How will you deal with your customers?,” “What are your long term strategic issues?,” and more.
Samie Jean, METALCON’s Director of Exhibit Sales, wrapped up last week’s event with a special invitation to METALCON, scheduled for October 21-23 in Las Vegas. Planning is in full swing, and we are excited to announce that brand NEW “Architect’s Experience” and “Women Connect” programs will be offered. Registration will open next month but you can PRE-REGISTER now to be alerted on all show news.
If you missed last week’s event, want to listen to it again or share it with a colleague, click HERE to download the recording.
For more information about Rob Haddock, check out his recent article “Seize The Opportunity Presented By These Uncertain Times” in DesignandBuildwithMetal.com. Also click HERE for a list of S-5!’s upcoming FREE Webinars; the next one is scheduled for April 22.