For more than a decade, our editors have invited concrete producers to help us develop our State of the Concrete Production Industry report. When we started, we called it the TCP100. Back then, we collected estimated revenue figures from private and public producers.
About seven years after we started our TCP100 listing, the industry dramatically changed. Firms did not want to report their earnings. And just as importantly, our industry underwent consolidation at surprisingly high rates. In time it was hard to determine 75 companies on which we could accurately report. And there was another important trend. It became difficult to select producers for our list, as companies expanded product offerings into other market segments and businesses.
These changes caused us to change our call for industry information. We started asking general survey questions–looking for signs of optimism, increased hiring, and the start of new capital projects.
Our call for help might be seem bothersome to a much-too-busy executive. But when we publish the results, the summary becomes a highly read and discussed source of information. Everyone wants to catch a glimpse of what happening out there.
This year’s survey is probably more important than any we have conducted. Just as our industry starts to recover, producers are facing the uncertainty of plant ownership changes. There are global economic forces at play that are forcing divesture of many operations. Supporting my thoughts are two recent news articles that are included in this newsletter. In the next 18-24 months, buyers will be assembling divested operations.
So let me start the discussion about the future. Unlike you, I’m just making an educated guess.
I predict that our industry will see an increase of newly formed regional concrete producers. This change will create a more responsive concrete production industry. These new entities will be able to focus on local markets and will have enough capital to inject efficiencies into their operations. Established firms will continue to invest. Combined with growing markets, these changes will fuel sustained growth.
Our industry will see a net increase of employees of about 10% in 2014, followed by another 8% in 2015. And capital investments will increase by 25% in 2014–primarily trucks and portable plants. Sales will grow about 15% for both 2014 and 2015.
Is this happening in your company? Are you as optimistic as I am?
We will only know what is really happening if you join in by completing our survey.