Riding out the storms: Lowe’s shares its best practices
Lowe’s store manager Michael Hollowell received a congratulatory call from the President of the United States the day after he and his team herded about 70 customers away from the vulnerable front-end of his Sanford, N.C., store, moments before it was ripped apart by a tornado.
The modest Hollowell credited the training and policies handed down to him and his team from the Mooresville, N.C.-based retailer. But interviews with witnesses suggest that quick thinking and decisive action played a major role, as customers verbally questioned the danger — and even the existence of a tornado. According to reports, it took calm, clear leadership to get everyone back to the protected rear of the store, literally seconds before the tornado hit.
Home Channel News asked Lowe’s to describe the policies that Michael Hollowell credited for the successful emergency management. Here’s what we heard:
• In a tornado warning, the manager on duty makes a public address announcement for customers and employees to move to a safer place in the building.
• Employees direct customers to safe area and encourage them to remain calm.
• Take shelter inside the building under sturdy objects such as desks, counters, archways, interior hallways and away from windows, doors and glass.
The company also said that management takes the safety of Lowe’s customers and employees very seriously, so the company has store staff dedicated to monitoring and reporting severe weather situations when the National Weather Service releases warnings and watches.
All 1,750 Lowe’s stores are also prepared to act in a worst-case scenario when severe weather or natural disasters hit stores, and Lowe’s has an “Emergency Command Center” staffed 365 days a year dedicated to supporting stores before, during and after an emergency situation. The Lowe’s Emergency Command Center guides stores through crisis situations and the aftermath/cleanup phase.
Across North Carolina last month, a severe weekend of weather saw dozens of destructive tornadoes sweep across the state. Throughout the South, there were more than 200 deaths reported, while the property damage continues to be tallied.
In Sanford, N.C., Lowe’s said it will eventually reopen the store. Until then, employees have been given jobs in other area stores.
Market Recap: RISI Crow’s Construction Materials Cost Index
A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for May 6, 2011
*Western – regional species perimeter foundation; Southern – regional species slab construction.
Crow’s Market Recap — A condensed recap of the market conditions for the major North American softwood lumber and panel products as reported in Crow’s Weekly Market Report.
LUMBER: Sluggish sales activity continued to place downward pressure on SPF lumber prices. Secondaries selling volumes at prices considerably lower than mill levels attracted a considerable share of the sales activity. Southern Pine lumber producers continued to carry significant volumes and were forced to discount surplus items. Most prices for #2 remained soft, with some exceptions found in 20 ft. and longer lengths. Coastal species lumber prices remained on a downward curve, still suffering from a lack of domestic demand. Discounts of $5 to $10 were typical for most dry items, while green Doug Fir producers tended to dip down deeper. Inland species lumber price changes were more modest following the discounts of last week. Still, both Fir-Larch and Hem-Fir narrows easily lost $5 or slightly more, and wides were even more vulnerable. Ponderosa Pine Mldg&Btr shows 5/4 at $1,350 and 6/4 at $1,400. Shop is firmer, ranging from $5 to $10 above last week. The price of #2 Common is stable and holding well, while #3 Common shows perhaps the greatest range of prices. No substantial changes were reported this week for Idaho White Pine. Eastern White Pine prices are very firm, with most Standard items having at least some upward pressure. Radiata Pine lumber is very firmly priced, although very little is available for the open market. Some Western Red Cedar producers noted a modest increase in sales activity, as weather continues to gradually improve. Orders often contain highly mixed volumes of various items.
PANELS: Although volumes of most Western Fir plywood items remained available for prompt shipment by Friday, mills tested higher prices and achieved some success at the new levels. A slight increase in Southern Pine plywood sales activity Wednesday and Thursday allowed a few order files to reach into the week of May 16. Price cuts of more than $5 were rare, although some producers were still open to negotiation at those new levels. OSB prices in all areas are virtually unchanged. The market is not static, however. Some areas have a tendency toward softness, while others want to push up a little. The domestic Canadian plywood market is decidedly quiet, at all levels, and few direct sales are being made. The baseline price, which was C$303 on Wednesday, has been lowered to C$300 today. Particleboard and MDF prices, which have generally moved up grudgingly over the course of the last several weeks, seem pinioned by lack of buyer needs and weak overall demand.
Source: RISI’s Crow’s Weekly Market Report