Winter will be here soon, and now is the time to get informed and know what’s on the horizon for ice melt, salt, and the snow management season. In our industry, preparing ahead of the season is vital for success. You want to be sure your business is ready for the upcoming winter.
Let’s Talk Salt: Supply-Chain Issues & Transportation Disruption
Last year, we had a mild winter season in most of the country. This mild weather helped to improve the long-standing issues with salt shortages that we had seen in previous seasons. For this year however, the big challenge will not be a shortage of salt, it will be supply-chain and transportation issues. These supply-chain issues have plagued numerous industries since early 2020 and ours is no different. The ongoing pandemic, will continue to impact businesses all around the world. To date, it has disrupted supply chains for nearly 75% of U.S companies, and our industry will continue to be impacted.
Most major ports are still open, although their workforce have been reduced due to government regulations. With a reduced workforce at the ports, it leads to congestion. Congested ports take up space which reduces capacity for any incoming shipment leading to a delay or slow process of reaching its destination.
Much of the Midwest relies on the Illinois Waterway to get their salt. The Illinois Waterway will have partial closures for significant repairs again this year, which will cause delays as it provides a navigable connection between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River. Due to these partial closures, we expect to see not only delayed shipping but also an increased costs for shipping.
Beyond the issues caused by the pandemic, the trucking industry is going through major changes with limited travel schedules and a giant workforce shortage. The average age for a truck driver in the U.S. is 55 and many are now choosing to retire or limit their geography due to covid-19. This is troubling as there are still insufficient numbers of new recruits entering the workforce, and will ultimately result in shipping disruptions throughout the U.S., across all industries. Plan for delays due to transportation and supply chain, as well as higher manufacturer prices due to the reduced availability of transport and the higher costs associated with it.
When you couple all of this: reduced workforces at ports, the partial closure of the Illinois Waterway, and the limited available drivers in the trucking industry—continued disruptions are imminent, especially if we have any major snow events this season.
With multiple situations impacting this year’s salt and ice melt supply chain, make sure you partner with a distributor that can get you the product when and where you need it. If you partner with Central, we’ll make sure you won’t be left out in the cold this season.
Solutions: Combat Shortages & Supply-Chain Issues
Over the last several seasons, our industry saw salt shortages. Central, however, did not experience these shortages. We had plenty of product in supply and were able to ship numerous truckloads of ice melt into the Midwest, Northeast, and other regions, when customers were not able to get it from anywhere else.
Earlier in the year, the supply chain for irrigation products and seed saw major challenges. Again, Central did not experience these challenges in getting the products our customers needed, when they needed it.
How can that be?
Working with a dedicated and trusted partner can make all the difference to get through particularly difficult seasons. When you work with a partner that understands the challenges and is proactive in addressing a solution as soon as they arise, or even tackle them before they become an issue—it helps you and your business stay on track.
The Central team has been diligently working with our manufacturing partners to stay at the forefront of any supply-chain and transportation issues. This open communication and proactive planning has allowed us to bypass many of the challenges that other distributors have had.
Furthermore, we understand your challenges. We pride ourselves on being for the contractor, by the contractor. What’s important to you is important to us from the largest selection of in-stock inventory, flexible credit lines and terms, same-day delivery, and subject matter experts—we know that your success is our success.
When you work with Central, you can expect a commitment in these five areas:
DIVERSE NETWORK OF LEADING MANUFACTURERS
We work with a network of multiple manufacturers, including one that owns two salt mines. We do not just rely on one salt supplier or foreign importer. This enables us to be nimble and get you the best pricing possible. If one of our manufacturers is having trouble, we’re able to rely on the others to make up the difference. This means faster delivery, a product guarantee, and consistent pricing.
DEDICATED TO SALT
Our salt manufacturers are dedicated to salt. What does this mean? They focus on salt 365 days a year. They are worldwide leaders in the industry and have multiple salt origin points to make sure they are always in business. They manufacture salt for use as ice melt, water softener, animal feed, and pool salt. This means they keep producing all year long, unlike companies that have a fertilizer focus and only make ice melt for part of the year.
150+ TRUCK FLEET. 50 BRANCHES. 16 STATES. 2 COUNTRIES.
Central has nearly 50 warehouses in 16 states and two countries. A majority of these warehouses are located in the snowbelt or other areas impacted by winter weather. We know the salt and ice melt. Our fleet of 150+ trucks is available for delivery or drop shipment of product in more than 20 state throughout the Midwest, Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Canada. When our customers in the Midwest couldn’t get salt locally from other suppliers, we were able to fulfill their needs quickly, effectively, and affordably.
PRODUCT QUALITY & GUARANTEE
At Central, we pride ourselves on being a valued partner to our customers. We offer an ice melt early order program that gives cash discounts, extended payment terms, and a guarantee of product and delivery. Furthermore, the quality of our products are based on innovation and chemically formulated crystals that effectively melt ice and protect the environment.
When it comes to melting ice, there is a melting trifecta to consider: melting temp, melting speed, and melting life. Each of your customers has a different need because of the complexity of their environments and the conditions outside. We understand this and have solutions to fit any budget or any challenge: extreme cold, pre-storm application, fast melting, long-lasting melt, freeze/thaw cycle, environmentally safe, kid and pet friendly, liquid solutions, and more.
When you work with a dedicate partner like Central, you can rest assured that you will have the quality product when and where you need it, at a price that works for your bottom line.
Winter is Coming: The 2020-2021 Season
What can you expect for the 2020-2021 season? In terms of cold, snow and ice; the opposite of last year.
Snowy Comeback, is what we can expect to see as explained by the Farmers’ Almanac’s winter prediction for the upcoming season.
“Based on our time-tested weather formula, the forecast for the upcoming winter looks a lot different from last year, quite divided with some very intense cold snaps and snowfall.” According to Farmers’ Almanac’s winter prediction, there’s a possibility of a blizzard and significant above-normal snowfall beginning in the second week of February. Also, more snow during the final week of March.
Now, meteorologists do say that this prediction should be taken with a grain of salt because long-range forecasting is not always accurate. However, it’s always better to be over prepared and ready for a wrench to be thrown into the mix.
Choosing the right ice melting solution isn’t a decision to be taken lightly. You’re making an important decision that impacts your profitability, your customers’ safety and your potential liability. Central offers a variety of deicing products: rock salt, magnesium chloride, calcium chloride, potassium chloride, sand/salt mix, liquid deicers, urea, and blended deicing products.
If you have questions about what products make the most sense in your area, reach out to your local Central branch or rep. We have experts on staff to help you find the right solution for your business.
Ice Melt Program
As a dedicated partner, Central helps you grow your sales by keeping costs down with our seasonal, early-order, and commitment programs. You still have time to take advantage of our Ice Melt Early Order Program to grow your bottom line with discounts and extended dating. To amplify your success, ask your Central rep or local branch for pricing and more details on the program. Better yet, when you order early, product is guaranteed to be available to you when you need it. No scrambling to find product during a major winter weather event.
Rely on Central to help, whether it’s questions about specific different types of deicers, melting temperatures and longevity, eco and pet friendly mixes, or the newest innovative solutions for snow and ice management. We stay at the leading edge of the industry and we’re ready to help you grow!