Welcome to our year-end edition of Everkem’s Caulk Talk newsletter – where we talk about all things caulk, sealants, adhesives, and construction chemical products. In this issue, we offer an outlook for the sealants and adhesives industry in 2023, a guide to insulating spray foam sealants, and a heartwarming story about one of our special team members.
It seems like yesterday that I was writing to close out 2021 with hope and optimism that things would start to balance out: that we would be free from product stockouts, escalating costs, labor shortages, and any other post-covid craziness we have been experiencing over the past three years…
Enter 2022, where most of the problems stayed the same, but our attitude and perspective on things have changed.
For the Everkem team, one of the greatest challenges of this year was redirecting our manufacturing processes and selling strategies to meet the new demand of a seller’s market. Compared to the past buyers’ market, when we had stock on the shelves and plenty of materials to make more, this year was different.
Growing up as a sales guy in a buyers’ market, I enjoyed hunting down new opportunities armed with a good quality product, a sharp price, and ready to ship that same day. Adjusting to a seller’s market hasn’t necessarily been bad. However, for all of us salespeople, I think it left us feeling somewhat inadequate and helpless.
Salespeople thrive on being heroes to our customers, and our mission has always been to exceed customers’ expectations. Instead, we could only take orders while not being able to provide accurate information to customers regarding when we could deliver and the pricing. We had to assume the role of service people rather than salespeople.
- “Unfortunately, we are out of stock on that product.”
- “We are waiting for materials to come in.”
- “Sorry for the delay.”
- “There is another price increase on the way.”
This has been one of the most discouraging parts of being a supplier in the sellers’ market, but it also has been the catalyst for change.
To perform optimally during this buyer-to-seller market switch, we first had to adjust our mindset, expectations, and understanding of what mattered most to customers. We needed to be attentive and understand that communication would be our most valuable tool. We had to be forthcoming and responsive, even if it was with bad news.
Finally, Everkem had to take accountability even when the issue was from a shipping or vendor partner and not directly from us. We conveyed that we were doing our best and would find a better solution. We did just that and have grown stronger as a company and team.
So here we are, with the year almost to its end. Everkem has adjusted to this new normal where nothing seems to surprise or shock us. We are a little gun-shy and cautiously waiting for what is next. With whispers of things slowing down and a possible recession, we patiently wait for what 2023 will bring.
Will we remain in a sellers’ market where product lead times and deliveries precede quality and price? Or will we shift back towards a buyers’ market akin to the wild west, where we fight it out with cutthroat prices dropping partners for a penny like civilized human beings?