Purchasing Building Materials

Starting out

When people start a business, they go in guns blazing with business plans, market research, networking and advertising.  They find vendors, open lines of credit, and start closing jobs. After a few months and some success, all those things seem to get shelved for “more pressing” needs.

Owners wear lots of hats, and the things that drive immediate income take precedence over everything else.  When you only spend $30,000 in a year on materials, leaving 10-20% on the table isn’t as painful as when you spend $300,000 or $3,000,000.

Businesses evolve and change over time and their needs change, but purchasing seems to get neglected.  As long as product shows up and complaints from the field are minimal, all is well.

But is it? When was the last time an owner, partner, or C-level executive took a hard look at the market (or markets) they are working in to compare vendors?

Continue reading 12 Steps to Fixing Your Purchasing

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Price, quality, speed – choose two.  We’ve seen this “rule” written and rewritten in different ways since the 1950’s, when the Project Management Triangle first appeared.  Also known as the Triple Constraint or the Iron Triangle, it is a simple way to define the complex mix between time, cost and quality.  “You get what you pay for” is a cliché everyone knows, but people keep trying to change the dynamic in their favor.

We’ve all seen signs and internet meme’s stating something like this;

We offer 3 kinds of service

Good – Cheap – Fast

You can pick any two

Good service cheap won’t be fast

Good service fast won’t be cheap

Fast service cheap won’t be good

For many building materials buyers, this “rule” is an absolute fact.  However, I believe that with proper planning and the right vendor relationships, it doesn’t have to be.

Continue reading You Get What You Pay For…Usually

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Building Materials?

Yes, but more specifically buying and selling building materials.  I’ve worked in the industry since 1997 and have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly.  My hope is that this blog helps everyone avoid the latter two.

While the average size of homes in the U.S. has increased over the last 40 years, the methods of construction and the materials used haven’t changed much.  We’ve seen building products evolve over time, becoming more efficient to produce and use, but the basics remain the same.

The building materials supply chain has remained largely unchanged as well.   Recently it seems like a dealer is getting bought by a larger company every week, with mergers and acquisitions driving the news in the trade magazines.  While the names on buildings and delivery trucks may change, product still gets from point A to point B the same way.  More materials may come from China or Mexico now, but that’s the story now with almost everything else we buy.

We haven’t seen a real revolution in building materials in a long time.  The first hint of change began with the design and production of safer products.  Continue reading Why A Blog About Building Materials?

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