RC: How would you assess the state of the roofing industry in 2022?
Dave Feitl (DF): The industry proved very resilient considering the varied, unprecedented issues 2021 delivered. These included raw materials supply challenges and product delayed at the ports, topped off with the COVID-19 pandemic and how we’ve had to navigate through that as well. I feel our contractors have done a tremendous job at keeping their companies afloat and remaining optimistic considering it all. There was and still is so much work available and not being able to supply enough products to our contractors over the past year has been frustrating from the manufacturer’s side, but we’ve worked through as well as possible.
RC: What do you think was learned and how will that impact the industry moving forward?
DF: From our vantage point we learned a lot of lessons. Typically, we like to keep a 30-day inventory on hand but we have beefed that up. Additionally, from an R&D standpoint, we have looked at newer technologies we hope to introduce in the future. These solutions are designed to help us avert issues surrounding any raw materials shortages that may occur. We also increased our storage capacity and enhanced our ability to manufacture product at both our Arlington, Texas and Boisbriand, Quebec facility locations. This effort will help facilitate production in multiple locations, as well as to avert and overcome any future issues and disruptions either manmade or caused by natural disasters.
RC: How did you help support contractors as their needs changed throughout the pandemic?
DF: We worked more closely with our contractors during 2021 than we ever have in the past. With the shortages that occurred, filling orders was inevitably more challenging. We had to closely advise our contractors on planning ahead, on our stock levels and alternate products they could use so they would have product when they needed it. As a manufacturer, we also experienced a few disappointing moments in 2021 when we really thought we’d be getting the raw materials needed to manufacture our roofing and envelope products and, like so many others, we were unable to get them. It was a tough year in many ways, but we feel we did our best working with our contractors to keep them as informed and as supplied as possible.
RC: What are you optimistic about in 2022?
DF: We have spoken with many contractors and they all seem highly optimistic. The book of contractor business seems to be very full. There is an existing backlog of business caused by the pandemic’s initial shutdowns and slowdowns alongside new demand. All those projects need to be completed. If we can get the supply situation under control going into 2022, it is anticipated contractors will have a profitable first and second quarter. Everyone is anticipating a busy year ahead.