News from the Construction Suppliers Association

August 8, 2018

The Challenge of Maintaining an Effective Team

By Jim Moody, CAE
CSA President

Jim Moody

We had a defining moment on staff a couple of weeks ago. For the first time ever, all seven CSA staff members were in the same room. Of course, we had all talked to each other, and most of us had met the others at one time or another over the past six months, but we had not all be together in one place.

As you might imagine, when we gained a second office in Oklahoma City with two staff members based there, the challenge of maintaining an effective team became more difficult. And three of our staff members are essentially field-based consultants, spending much of their time with members. It’s a rare day when more than three of us are gathered together.

It’s not unlike many of you who have multiple yards with drivers and sales people who are always away from the yard.


Hotel Rooms Still Available for the CSA Annual Conference; Reserve Today!

We've been working closely with the staff at the Sandestin Beach Resort & Spa, and they tell us that rooms for the CSA Annual Conference are going quickly! You still have time to reserve a great room, but don't wait too long. Our room block expires on Aug. 28 or when all our rooms are gone.

CLICK HERE to reserve your room!

If you'd like to stay a little longer, our room rates are available for three days before and after the meeting, based on availability.

This year, we'll gather Sept. 19-21 on the sugar-sand beaches of Florida's panhandle for the 2018 CSA Annual Conference and Trade Show, as well as the Advanced Estimating Pre-Conference Course. You can find all the details by logging in to the CSA website at

We've arranged excellent educational sessions during the conference, and you can check in with your suppliers or check out new vendors and the newest products at the Expo. Of course, we'll have social events everyone loves.

If you're interested in sponsorship opportunities, check online for a complete list of prices and options.

We'll have much more information for you in upcoming Blueprint and Framework issues, but you'll want to save the date and plan to attend this year's conference. Go ahead -- reserve your room and register to save your spot at the conference.


Oklahoma Legalizes Medical Marijuana; Implementation Questions Arise

Yeva ClarkBy Yeva Clark, SHRM-CP
CSA Director of HR & Workforce Development

In June, Oklahoma voters approved the medicinal use of marijuana in their state, but the devil, it seems, is in the details. The measure took effect on July 26, and the State Board of Health is expected to begin accepting applications on Monday, Aug. 27, but questions remain about implementation.

The Oklahoma Board of Health, charged with administering the new law, has already voted to replace the first set of rules entirely. They authorized a new set of rules, but legal challenges are possible, as are updates to the law itself.


Georgia Latest State to Enact 'Hands-Free' Driving Law

Yeva ClarkBy Yeva Clark, SHRM-CP
CSA Director of HR & Workforce Development

All right, we got through distracted drivers week. (Hopefully without any tickets!) But, don’t forget that effective July 1, Georgia became the latest state to ban the use of hand-held devices while driving.

The "Hands-Free Georgia Act" (House Bill 673) prohibits the following.

  • Drivers cannot have a phone in their hand or touching any part of their body while talking on their phone while driving (including while stopped at a traffic light).
  • Even with hands-free technology, drivers cannot write, read or send text messages, e-mails, social media content and other internet data while on the road. (Voice to text is allowed.)
  • Drivers cannot watch videos when they are on the road. (Navigational/GPS videos are allowed.)


What Is the True Cost of a Customer?

Blue Tarp LogoBy Scott Simpson, President & CEO
Blue Tarp Financial

Most distributors know their gross margins on a per-customer basis precisely. If you’re a typical LBM business, you work on around a 25 percent gross profit margin. Of those 25 points, 20 are usually consumed by overhead, leaving you with a 5 percent net margin. Some distributors are higher, some lower.

Very few distributors, however, know their net margin on a per-customer basis. Think about what goes into “overhead.” Overhead encompasses things like delivery expenses, sales and marketing, cost of bank borrowing, legal and lien expenses, etc. Have you ever determined if these expenses consumed by your customers in direct proportion to their sales volume?

I’ll save you the suspense – they’re not. As a result, if you allocate those expenses by what each customer actually consumes, you’d find your true net profitability for each customer. What you will realize is that not all customers contribute equally to the bottom line. To highlight this point and show where perceptions can be wrong, let’s look at an example.

Ask yourself: Are large customers more profitable than smaller ones? 


3 Timeless Rules for Making Tough Decisions

By Peter Bregman
Contributor, Harvard Business Review

We spend an inordinate amount of time, and a tremendous amount of energy, making choices between equally attractive options in everyday situations. The problem is, that while they may be equally attractive, they are also differently attractive, with tradeoffs that require compromise. Even when deciding between kale salad (healthy and light), salmon (a heavier protein), and ravioli (tasty, but high carbs) for lunch.

If these mundane decisions drag on our time and energy, think about the bigger ones we need to make, in organizations, all the time. Which products should we pursue and which should we kill? Who should I hire or fire? Should I initiate that difficult conversation?

So how can we handle decisions of all kinds more efficiently? I have three methods that I use, two of which I've known for a while, the third which I discovered last week.


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