Month: November 2020

November 30, 2020

Volatility in the lumber industry is here to stay

While recording the most recent episode of the Hire Smarter podcast, the conversation with Kyle Little provided such great insight to the commodity lumber and distribution side to our industry, we wanted to share full highlights of the conversation.

Kyle grew up in a family lumber business, and is currently the COO of Sherwood Lumber, a family-owned lumber distribution business. We first dive into Kyle’s background, which allows us to draw comparisons between lumber industry patterns in the 90s compared to today. We go in-depth into both the supply and the demand side of commodity lumber, Kyle is excellent at articulating, in simple terms, the market drivers and why we can expect this market volatility to continue past 2021.

Kyle: “I will say without a doubt, volatility for the next five years, at minimum, is here to stay. It started in 2017/2018. It continued into this COVID supply crunch in 2020. And 2021 should prove no different. And the reason for that is….” 

Read the conversation

Leaders – LBM leaders commonly will complain about the 2020 commodity market eroding profits. Comments like: “Had we not experienced the volatility in the market, we would’ve made our budget.” As if saying, “When you look at our P&L pre-tax profit, understand we are an excellent company outside how the lumber market treated us.” My follow-up question, “What do you plan to do about it?” is usually met with some version of, “We plan on rolling the dice again this year, and 7s and 11s are sure come, as we are due.” Commanding leaders take action to avoid being tricked, duped, or sacrificed by the lumber market. Ask yourself, what are you prepared to do differently in 2021? When evaluating your procurement team, their performance in 2020 might be the best prediction of their performance in 2021. It’s a new world. Please reach out to schedule a conversation; we can help evaluate the strengths and growth opportunities within the team. 

Industry purchasing professionals – smart progressive leaders know that a great buyer might add 1-2% points of pre-tax profit to the bottom line company wide. People making a $1m impact on a company’s P&L are being valued accordingly. Please reach out to our team to better understand your market value. 

 

Hire Smarter – Tony Misura 

 

 

November 13, 2020

Hire Smarter Episode 13: Kyle Little, COO of Sherwood Lumber

Welcome to our latest episode of Hire Smarter. Our mission is to help building materials industry leaders adopt best practices for hiring talent while helping professionals make better career decisions.

In this episode, we look to deliver a greater understanding of the lumber market. 2020 has been a wild year, and particularly explosive to the lumber market. Our guest is Kyle Little, COO of Sherwood Lumber, one of the largest privately-owned lumber distributors in the nation. Kyle has dedicated his life and profession to understanding the lumber commodity markets and has one message for everyone: “the market volatility is here to stay for the next 5 years.”

What defines heightened volatility? For years 2x dimensional lumber was traded at $320 per thousand with a 30% training range, would fluctuate from $220 to $420 ($200 range). The traditional market lows in January and dealers would watch for a summer slump to buy again. Like the Andy Griffith Show, Mayberry, those days are gone. In 2018 the market traded from a low of $300 to $650, and everyone said that would never happen again. In 2020 the market traded from a low of $250 to over $1000.

What are the factors that drove this recent volatility?

What are the drivers of continuing volatility in the future?

What are the best practices a dealer can implement to prepare?

Kyle does an excellent job laying out some clear, concise answers everyone can action. The sign of a high intellect is the ability to communicate explanations and solutions in a simple, direct format. Kyle hits a home run with his insight and direction.

Listen in on Kyle’s methodology and adopt them as your own, don’t hesitate to reach out to Kyle or myself with any questions. http://sherwoodlumber.com

 

Hire Smarter – Tony Misura

 

November 2, 2020

What is the difference between experience and success?

What is the most important factor when hiring a leader? At Misura Group, we look for the candidate’s proven history of success. While a degree, certification, or number of years of experience might be on your list of must-haves, does it outweigh the impact of a candidate’s success in a similar environment?

Consider this example from NASA:

On October 14, 1947, Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier, at a time when the fast fighter planes struggle to reach 500 MPH. Yeager’s most outstanding achievement was December 12, 1953, when he flew his Bell X-1A at Mach 2.435, 1650 miles per hour, over Edwards Airforce Base. The flight did not go as planned as the aircraft spun out of control on all 3 axes, plummeting 51,000 ft in 51 seconds before he regained control at 25,000 ft and landed safely. Scientists believe Yeager’s body withstood 8x G forces, meaning a 200-pound body would feel the weight of 1600 pounds. Imagine battling through that trauma to regain control of a damaged aircraft and land safely, traveling at 1600 miles per hour. https://www.chuckyeager.com/1947-1954-testing-the-limits

Fast forward to April of 1959 – the Mercury 7 Project, the development of the world’s first astronauts, under the newly formed NASA. Why did the list of 7 legendary heroes glamorized in the 1983 movie The Right Stuff not include Chuck Yeager? It was not his age, as revisionist history was spun to control NASA’s image. Alan Shepard was only nine months younger than Yeager, Wally Schirra, one month younger, and John Glenn was 19 months older than Yeager.  In actuality: NASA required a college degree, and Yeager had his high school diploma from Hamlin, WV. Yeager was the most successful person in the world in exhibiting the physical and mental prowess related to being an astronaut. He had the proven history of success. https://www.businessinsider.com/14-reasons-chuck-yeager-may-be-the-greatest-military-pilot-of-all-time-2016-3


Know the difference between experience and success 

Leaders running a lazy hiring process will talk about the required experience of a candidate. The world is full of people with experience. The perennial bottom 20% of performers have experience, the professionals who repeatedly self-sabotage have experience, but success, on the other hand, is a clear distinction. A history of success in the exact situation, achieved 3 times or more in a similar environment, is the best indicator of future success.

What is most commonly the #1 problem with hiring processes? It is interviewing a limited and shallow pool of talent that lacks a proven history of success. If you do not have more than 2 excellent candidates fighting over the position at the end of your hiring process, your process is suspect. Do not settle. Embrace your strengths along with your areas for growth. The solution is simple, fix the problem areas or hire an expert recruiting firm to deliver the high-level talent your company and team deserve.


In 2002, at the EAA Air Venture in Oshkosh, WI, I saw an old guy climb into P51 Mustang and start taxiing down a runway. Like a kid, I start running after the plane, the family in tow, as the deep throaty merlin engines shake the ground. The fighter plane pulls over into side access next to a podium and the pilot Chuck Yeager climbs out. A mass of 10,000 people walking by clueless, as our family is talking with Chuck one on one. It took about 30 minutes for the crowd to figure out who he was. His message was clear: the minute the US Space Program moved outside the authority of the US military, the focus shifted to money, fundraising, image, and profits. The list of NASA errors and tragedies attributed to that bane is long. Here is a photo of my son, Logan, from the day we met a hero.

Hire Smarter – Tony

 

 

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