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How the Building Products Industry Adjust to New Supply Chains. Superior truck dropping off railing in Chicago.

How does the Building Products Industry Adjust to New Supply Chains?

  •   Posted on June 25, 2020

The Coronavirus has created a new market dynamic within many industries, including building products. What does the new landscape look like? In part two of our three-part series, we take a closer look at how supply chains have been affected by the coronavirus.

Today’s supply chain is an intricate system that regularly expands beyond the United States’ boarders. Specifically, in the building materials industry roughly 30% of materials originate from Chinese manufacturers alone.


The coronavirus created a global shockwave that saw many of China’s manufacturers shut their doors and brought overseas shipping to a halt, dramatically disrupting the supply chains of every industry. Restarting the intricate global supply chain is not as simple as flipping a switch. Such a large disruption has caused a bottleneck, meaning material is not able to leave China as quickly as it previously has due to high volumes of backlog. Compounding this is an increased strain within the United States transportation industry, creating a similar bottleneck effect from the building material industry to their final customer. It is because of this that many building material manufacturers have had to leave their customers unfulfilled with extended or undetermined lead times. General contractors and distributors are now left scrambling to find suitable replacement materials that can be delivered within their project deadlines.

Direct Delivery

Superior Aluminum has thus far been able to dodge these issues. All Superior Aluminum products are built using material sourced from the US and Canada. By bypassing the common Chinese connection and instead sourcing strictly out of North America, Superior has seen little disruption in their supply chain. Furthermore, Superior has multiple dedicated company trucks to ship building materials directly to customers. By having direct delivery available, Superior is able to bypass the transportation bottleneck that others are experiencing. To reduce potential virus spread, Superior drivers provide an option for no-contact curbside delivery. If a more direct delivery is required, Superior drivers follow all state and jobsite requirements to mitigate and prevent potential spread of the virus. Because of this streamlined approach, Superior has been able to continue to deliver railing and column orders in a timely manner, consistent with pre-coronavirus levels.

Superior Semi Truck being loaded up to deliver railing straight to the customer.

Superior Trucks Deliver Straight to the Customer

What it Means

The construction industry historically works on tight timelines. With a potential second wave and more strict safety measures being put into place, a disrupted and fragile supply chain will remain for the foreseeable future. Distributors and installers are reducing these concerns by turning to American and North American Made manufacturers. Next month in our third and final installment we will look into new practices being implemented at building material manufacturers to help reduce and prevent spread in the workplace.


Further Readings

Changing Plans Pt. 1

Understanding 12 Key Construction Terms

Do Horizontal Railing Lines Cause a Ladder Effect?