Mid-Cape Home Centers Supply Chain Insights
Supply Chain Insights
COVID-19 is causing many disruptions to supply chains in all industries, and building materials are no different. While our inventory remains ample, we’d like to give you a brief overview of how our supplier partners have been impacted so far, and what this means for you in the near future.
Mid-Cape and Suppliers alike have been working continuously to remain transparent and upfront about lead times and product supply
Much remains the same on the treated lumber front. This continues to be a nationwide issue due to the unforeseen demand, plant closures and staffing disruptions. Our lumber is coming in more regularly now, however, the demand for 4x4s and 4x6s is incredibly high, causing disruption. We are anticipating a full summer of 4×4 and 4×6 shortages, but remain on the prowl for alternate sources to meet our customers needs.
White Cedar Shingles
At the beginning of the pandemic, Mid-Cape was deemed an essential business. While most other suppliers were also deemed essential, some were not, one being shingle mills. As you can imagine, these closures caused immense delays on the White Cedar Shingle front. On top of the initial closures, the mills have faced employment issues, struggled to meet CDC guidelines, and still plan to close for their annual vacation. We ask for you to plan ahead with this in mind, but also, not too worry too much, as we are well prepared on this front. The main concerns will be green clear shingles.
Deck & Railing
While there have been no dramatic changes in either direction when it comes to deck and railing since the last update, we can say, Mid-Cape is doing everything possible to keep inventory coming in. We are now purchasing straight from the warehouse when necessary, including special orders. This has helped to streamline the ordering process and allowed for more frequent deliveries. We still anticipate certain color shortages throughout the summer.
There are no shortages of delays from vendors, the increased demand across the building industry, combined with the high unemployment rates and general extra precautions, have affected us from every direction. Quikrete remains a problem. We have expanded our variety just to keep as much in stock as possible, most places are already out and don’t anticipate having any for the next month. Other popular products we have on order but remain delayed are West Fraser CCX, T-111, Bilco, and Wood fence products. Nothing is impossible, please just work to plan ahead and we will get you what you need.
Records are continuing to be set daily within our industry, as demand is on the climb, keep in mind, lead times continue to grow simultaneously.
Treaters have been playing catch up all month. The supply of southern yellow pine to treat appears to be recovering, however, the last month has seen extraordinary demand for treated lumber. The progress they’ve made in producing more treated lumber has been outpaced by new orders for their products, so lead times are growing. Virtually all widths and lengths are affected – however, Mid-Cape is getting roughly 5-7 shipments of PT in every week, so we’re doing everything we can to make sure you have product!
Deck & Railing
Just as treated lumber saw a run due an increase in deck projects, so now are the decking materials themselves. Brands like Azek and Trex are now maxing out their production facilities to keep up with the increased nationwide demand, so expect some lead time increases on any colors that we don’t stock. We’re keeping a very close eye on all other deck-related items (concrete, Sonotubes, fasteners, etc.) to make sure we stay in front of any projected shortages, and we’re even looking at other areas that may become the next big sellers during this pandemic.
Unexpected spike in demand for treated lumber is setting records all over the world. Two months ago, these same manufacturers were implementing plans to prevent going under.
Typically, January – April are inventory building times for treated lumber facilities. Due to spikes in prices early in 2020, combined with nervousness and uncertainties brought about by COVID-19 in early March, inventory wasn’t built up the same way it would have been under normal circumstances.
Hardest to source are/remain:
- 10’ and 12’ 4×4
- 10’ and 16’ 2×8
- 8’, 10’, 12’ and 20’ 2×10
- 10’ 2×12
- 10’, 12’, 14’ 5/4×6 (Premium Decking)
- 10’, 12’ 6×6
- 5-1/2” Landscape Timbers
Deck & Railing
Decking manufacturers took a similar approach at the start of this pandemic and focused primarily on covering basic inventory needs. This has led to some shortages in certain colors of products from some manufacturers and lower inventories of available product from some of our distributors.
Some popular decking products facing shortages:
- 10’, 12’, 14’ 5/4×6 (Premium Decking)
Please Note: Mid-Cape has plenty of product in stock and on order. We will continue receiving shipments as availability increases. If there is something specific you are concerned about, please reach out to your Mid-Cape representative or contact us here.
While the feelings of hope and semi-restored normalcy are on the horizon for many, production for some vendors will continue to be affected by the repercussions of the pandemic.
- The national demand for treated lumber has been unrelenting, led primarily by the big box stores in the southern states. Consumers there are turning their attention to home improvement projects and only paint is selling faster than treated lumber. However, market uncertainty in the early days of the pandemic led many treaters to take modest inventory positions leading to regional shortages in a few products.
This has led to some of the spot shortages we are currently dealing with. Hardest to source are:
- 10’ and 12’ 4×4
- 10’, 12’ and 20’ 2×10
- 5-1/2” landscape timbers
- Several vendors and manufacturers are resuming normal operations, either in the form of plant re-openings or a return to usual delivery schedules.
While much continues to remain the same, we have noticed the following…
- Many suppliers have put plans in place to limit their daily deliveries to a less frequent schedule beginning next week, so please continue to plan and allow for the various lead times.
- We continue to see an average of one-week extended timelines across many of our vendors.
- Interfor, one of our cedar manufacturers in Canada is now closed indefinitely. We have plenty of product on the ground, with that being said, be aware that longer lengths or unusual sizes may be more difficult to come by.
- Jeld-Wen – IWP Wood Exterior Door plant in Tijuana has been shut down by the Mexican Government until 4/30, open orders will not ship until reopening.
US produced products, manufactured at plants that are considered non-essential businesses, like used railroad ties out of New York, will not be produced until the essential business lock downs are lifted.
- With new plant closures occurring, it is important to note that distributors still have plenty of their product on the ground, however brands are subject to availability.
- If you are concerned about any of the above details, products, or lead time extensions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your Mid-Cape Representative.
- Ports are continuing to close around the world, now impacting some countries like New Zealand, Chile, and other parts of South America. Our distributors like Lifespan, WindsorOne, and our mouldings vendors did a great job planning in the short period of time they had and were able to ensure ample inventory on the ground for us to continue to be able to meet your needs.
- In both the US and Canada, we’ve seen a few additional plant closures for social distancing-purposes like Azek and Masonite doors but we have plenty of product and they will be resuming production next week. Manufacturers are beginning to warn distributors that longer lead times will likely occur as we make our way into Q2, they are working with us to remain transparent and plan around it. Please continue to plan a little further ahead to help us combat this.
Yes, We’ve Still GOT WOOD…
- The core products you purchase from Mid-Cape are mainly produced in US and Canada:
Although Travel is suspended between these countries, trade is still permitted at this time, not causing many supply chain interuptions.
- Some of these products include, Lumber, Panels, Engineered Wood, Wood/Roof Shingles and more.
COVID-19 Driven Sourcing Changes…
- Many products once produced in Asia have moved manufacturing operations to other countries and are experiencing no supply issues at this time.
What We’re Keeping an Eye On…
- Canadian provinces are starting to dictate which manufacturing sectors can remain open and Quebec has put a hold on all White Cedar Shingle manufacturing.
- Due to current Canadian restrictions and foreign port closures, there may be extended lead times on some molded and stile and rail doors.
- US plants are similarly governed by state, so some of our manufacturers in places like Pennsylvania are shutting down what they deem non-essential, things like Flooring and Kitchen manufacturing, while PVC and Hardwood manufacturers are currently operational.
- Many foreign ports have recently closed due to the virus which could potentially impact our supply of Lifespan, IPE, and Mahogany products in Q3 and beyond.
- In general, US lumber/panel mills are producing 10-20% less due to a combination of the virus and uncertainty in the lumber pricing market. There is still plenty of product already on the ground, and many are doing whatever they can to overcome operational challenges and get their products manufactured. That said, we are starting to see some lead time extensions across the country. Not dramatic, but we’re watching it for you.
Many of our distributors are affected by the same personnel issues as everyone else: employees needing to stay home for childcare, government-mandated “stay at home” orders, and trucking issues with a lack of open rest stops for long haul drivers. This has added a few speed bumps to our procurement process, so some products are currently taking a bit longer to get, and we expect that to continue for the foreseeable future.
Also, many of our distributors are playing it safe from an inventory standpoint and scaling down on how much they stock on hand due to the near-term uncertainty, so some products that we don’t stock may not be as readily-available as they have been in the past – so as a general rule, expect some longer lead times.
To ensure these speed bumps don’t have a ripple effect on your projects cycle time, please adjust accordingly and feel free to ask any questions necessary.
A Note From Mid-Cape to You
Despite these disruptions, we want to assure you that we are in good shape: we have plenty of product on the ground and great working relationships with our suppliers. We are monitoring the manufacturing issues very closely and ordering well in advance. We also made significant purchases in other areas before the virus-related issues set in (Azek, White Cedar Shingles, CertainTeed, etc.). We can’t predict the future, but we’re planning on the lead time extensions to continue as everyone weathers through these issues. We’ll do our best to combat and work around them. Again, planning is key, so we suggest you try to look a little bit further ahead then typical.
If you know of a project coming up with any of these products, reach out to your Mid-Cape contact and we will be sure to stay on top of it together.