Good question… We all know we can afford to buy small quantity inventories on A, B, and C items at higher prices and not get caught with overpriced inventory if the market recoils.
So the question is, will prices back off? Based on the price increases we received this week it doesn’t look that way. As we all wait on pins and needles to see the final 232 decisions, we can make a plan that we still need to move pipe.
One of the best things that ever happened to me is that I started in the steel pipe business when it was terrible, the good thing is, I had no clue. So loaded with stupidity, I attacked it like the market was great, bought deals where we could, priced at or below market and found projects and worked them. I am not the first to say it, but “We all have to sail using the same wind.” How do you make the deals work? Look for folks that can help you with terms to make your cash go further in a high priced market, let’s face it the same inventory now costs twice as much. Buy in quantity to help you negotiate price. If you get a price that is safe for a few months and you can be aggressive and turn it, keep your basket full. Sitting and waiting will not make it go any faster. This is a supply side business and has been for a while, demand on the structural side is remaining flat. Let’s face it; if you had demand, you wouldn’t be reading this.
In summation, its business as usually with shortages and price increases running amuck, the silver lining is that at least you can sell your old owned inventory for what its worth now instead of cussing as you give it away… not buying inventory is not the answer, Buying the right inventory at the right price is the solution… it’s out there, keep hunting.