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Distributors sing praises of products

Distribution America and PRO Group point to vendors and suppliers of the year.

BY HBSDealer Staff

Denver-based PRO Group and Charlotte, N.C.-based Distribution America held their joint Executive Planning Conference in Tucson, Ariz. During the event, they distributed awards for a job well done to vendors and suppliers.

Distribution America named the following companies its “Vendors of the Year:”

  • Electrical: Gardner Bender
  • Paint and Paint Sundries: Linzer
  • Hardware: Midwest Fastener
  • Hand and Power Tools: Century Drill
  • Plumbing: Genova Products, Inc.
  • Lawn and Garden: Woodstream
  • Overall Vendor Partnership Award: Stanley Black & Decker

PRO Group’s “Key Suppliers of the Year” list included:

  • Tools: Stanley Black & Decker
  • Plumbing: Oatey SCS
  • Hardware: Master Lock Company
  • Paint Sundries: DAP Products Inc.
  • Electrical: World & Main
  • Lawn and Garden: Swan Products, LLC
  • Key Supplier of the Year: Chapin International

More than 350 distributors and manufacturers attended the annual Executive Planning Conference (EPC) and participated in more than 2,600 one-on-one sessions. During those sessions, distributors and manufacturers discussed topics ranging from new product and program launches, prior year fill-rates, order turn-around time, promotional effectiveness and new business opportunities.

Dave Christmas, President and CEO at Distribution America, said: “The conference provides an opportunity to expand relationships between our distributor members and the vendors that support our group and industry.”

Distributor attendees selected the best new products and presented awards to the manufacturers in the major hardline categories. The New Product Winners included an overall award to RZ Mask for the Air Filtration Dust and Pollution Mask.

Best New Product Awards:

  • Hand & Power Tools – Stanley Black & Decker 20V Max Inflator
  • Hardware – Screw-It-Again Wood Anchor
  • Paint Sundries – Rustoleum High Output Spray Paint
  • Plumbing – Magna Industries Quick-Fix Copper Pipe Repair
  • Electrical – Leviton Manufacturing USB Combination Outlet
  • Lawn & Garden/Pet – Swan Products Element Viper Hose
  • Specialty – Camco Manufacturing Wine Tumbler Set
  • Overall Winner – RZ Mask Air Filtration Dust and Pollution Mask

 

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Pending home sales slide in October

Rising mortgage rates are reducing the pool of eligible homebuyers.

BY HBSDealer Staff

A day removed from news that new home sales fell 8.9% in October, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that pending home sales fell 2.6% in October.

The latest Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) indicates that contract signings fell to 102.1 last month from 104.8 in September. Year-over-year contract signings dropped 6.7% making the 10th straight month of annual decreases.

According to Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the NAR, the recent rise in mortgage rates is reducing the pool of eligible homebuyers.

Yun notes that a similar period of decline occurred during the 2013 Taper Tantrum when interest rates jumped from 3.5% to 4.5%. After 11 months – November 2013 to September 2014 – sales rebounded when rates decreased.

“But this time, interest rates are not going down, in fact, they are probably going to increase even further,” Yun said.

All four major regions saw a decline when compared to a year ago, with the West seeing the most pronounced drop. Yun said that decline is not at all surprising. “The West region experienced the fastest run-up in home prices in a short time and therefore, has essentially priced out many consumers.”

The PHSI in the Northeast rose 0.7% to 92.9 in October, and is now 2.9% below a year ago. In the Midwest, the index fell 1.8% to 100.4 in October and is 4.9% lower than October 2017.

Pending home sales in the South fell 1.1% to an index of 118.9 in October, which is 4.6% lower than a year ago. The index in the West decreased 8.9% in October to 84.8 and fell 15.3% below a year ago.

Yun says the Federal Reserve should be less aggressive in raising rates and points to the collapse in oil prices and the decrease in gasoline prices.

“The inflationary pressure is all but disappearing. Given that condition, there is less of a need to aggressively raise interest rates. Looking at the broader economy and keeping in mind that the housing sector is a great contributor to the economy, it would be wise for the Federal Reserve to slow the raising of rates to see how inflation develops.”

Looking ahead, the NAR expects existing-home sales this year to decrease 3.1% to 5.34 million, and the national median existing-home price to increase 4.7%. For 2019,  existing sales are forecast to decline 0.4% and home prices to drop roughly 2.5%.

Yun said that he is very optimistic about the long-term outlook. The current home sales level matches sales in 2000.

“However, mortgage rates are much lower today compared to earlier this century, when mortgage rates averaged 8%. Additionally, there are more jobs today than there were two decades ago,” said Yun. “So, while the long-term prospects look solid, we just have to get through this short-term period of uncertainty.”

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A case for off-site home building

Blueprint Robotics and Metsä Wood say their home building process is faster and cheaper.

BY Andy Carlo

Blueprint Robotics and Metsä Wood are working closely together to improve the efficiency of construction.

Both companies have put an effort into understanding each other’s business and sought mutual benefits that translates into a home building process that is faster, cheaper, and greener.

Blueprint Robotics, based in Baltimore, Md., has brought prefabricated wood construction technology from Europe to the United States. The company builds unique single-family and multifamily homes.

Components are manufactured at Blueprint Robotics factory in Baltimore, then transported to the construction site and assembled on the foundation. All elements include Kerto LVL (laminated veneer lumber) products by Metsä Wood.

The use of Kerto LVL makes the production, transportation and installation process of the modules faster and reduces costs compared to traditional on-site construction, according to Metsä Wood.

“Metsä Wood was quickly able to produce Kerto LVL in a non-traditional size, which would meaningfully reduce labor and material cost for us,” says Karim Sahyoun, founder and director of Blueprint Robotics. “Getting LVL beams in tailored sizes creates less waste and has speeded up our robotized production.”

Blueprint Robotics focuses on townhomes, apartments, condos, hotels, dormitories, and single-family home communities. The company’s projects are typically larger than 10,000 square feet with the manufacturer serving the entire Northeast.

Sahyoun also notes that Kerto LVL beams are easy to saw and nail, because of their even thickness. The material is also dimensionally stable, so the prefabricated elements match up on site.

The Kerto LVL beams make each of the Blueprint Robotics’ houses structurally sound to support the specific loads. They have an excellent strength-to-weight ratio and greater consistency in bending and shear strength. The higher stiffness allows longer spans with minimal deflection, according to Blueprint Robotics.

Metsä Wood is based in Espoo, Finland and specializes in the production of environmentally friendly wood products for construction, industrial customers and distributor partners. The company had 2017 sales of about $569 million.

“We demand a lot from our partners and Metsä Wood has lived up to our expectations. In addition to the quality and tailored sizes of LVL beams, we respect Metsä Wood’s environmentally friendly approach”, Sahyoun said.

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