A conversation with Maintenance Inc. President and CEO Mark McLeod about 2022, supply chain concerns, and our industry’s place in it all
With the cold weather gone, pavement maintenance season has finally kicked off—but not without a slight chill of apprehension caused by world events and the uncertainty of how they’ll impact our beloved industry. To add some valuable insight, Allied Paving Equipment Magazine invited Mark McLeod, President and CEO of Maintenance Inc., to add his thoughts on the state of our industry in 2022. As the head of Maintenance Inc.—manufacturer of pavement maintenance products and Able brand equipment—McLeod brings unique expertise to the conversation when discussing industry trends. Fortunately for us, he’s always willing to share his professional perspective about our industry and where he thinks it’s headed, this season and beyond. We asked Mark to give us his thoughts on various issues that may affect his business, and yours.
Allied Paving Equipment: As you have stated in your previous articles in APE magazine over the years, the pavement maintenance industry has always been resilient and able to weather product supply shortages and rising fuel costs. As it kicks off, what about this season, if anything, seems different to you?
Mark McLeod: The war and turmoil with Ukraine is making a huge difference. Russia has had an impact on the USA, for sure. The squabbling over oil and territory, pandemic hangover, leadership at home and abroad has to be questioned. It has hit a low, and we all could suffer from this power struggle through increased price of crude oil and fuel. We will see shortages from the logistics side because companies will be unable to deliver goods if the fuel price is too high to roll their trucks. Increased fuel costs will lead to new fuel surcharges that once again fall on the American consumer’s shoulders.
APE: Has Maintenance Inc. felt the pressure of shortages yet in 2022? Do you see any difference from the 2021 supply chain and deliveries so far?
MM: That’s a great question. Typically, in spring most manufacturers are stocked with inventory from the previous season’s unsold finished goods and new deliveries from early orders. This might not be the case in 2022 for many manufacturers of liquid products and accessories. If you chat with contractors they will tell you they had a bumper year and could not get all of their 2021 work done! However, the supplier side is a different story. Most, if not all, products were in very high demand and the wait times were maddening. I was very lucky to offer a variety of additives that contractors could incorporate into their mix designs. We found new customers that tried our additives for the first time and want pricing for 2022 already. That in itself is a big benefit to our growth.
APE: What have you heard regarding contractors’ concerns for 2022?
MM: Brad Eagle, our national sales director, and I talk about this topic a lot. In his conversations with contractors, Brad says he’s gotten great feedback on the contractors’ ability to fill their job boards, but they are concerned about manufacturers not having their traditional products available. Product wait times, new product information and what’s hard to find seem to be the biggest issues for contractors. Right now, price doesn’t matter as much as availability does!
APE: Can you elaborate on what happens when a shortage of raw materials occurs so our readers can better understand what manufacturers, including Maintenance Inc., might experience?
MM: First off, if you go to Home Depot, Lowes, Menards, or your grocery store you might see a boatload of what you are looking for, but the next week the shelves may be bare. Why? Well, the supply chains are interrupted by a variety of things. Logistics is the top culprit because there are not enough long-haul truck drivers and local delivery drivers to satisfy the demand. Warehouses get backed up and freight sits there until it can be moved. Labor issues in manufacturing have become a real problem for many, including contractors.
APE: What is your company doing to help out the situation with supply and demand? And how are you planning to bring in new pavement maintenance startup businesses while still servicing the veteran pavement maintenance professionals in 2022?
MM: Maintenance Inc. has always been the contractor’s friend, from educating the newbie to assisting the seasoned vet with application tips, product quality and consistency in pricing. Brad Eagle has been training and educating new startups for the last few decades. He’s always been willing to work through our customers’ issues with cost effective solutions and guidance catered to their type of sealer. He likes to say that if you train them to do it right the first time, they will stick by you forever. That’s it in a nutshell.
APE: Are you saying most manufacturers are stocked up right now and ready to kick off the season? Do supply chains become less important when product is available?
MM: It is so important for the contractor to be talking with their supplier reps about where they stand on products, especially early in the season. When June hits, depending on the fuel prices, we very well could have a repeat of 2021 if it doesn’t get straightened out from the pandemic hangover. It’s easy to price out products now, but June might be a different animal! If you stay in contact with your suppliers regularly, you can work together to get through the toughest of times.
APE: Are you stocked up and ready to go for 2022? Any new products or equipment?
MM: Oh My! So much going on after the NPE trade show. It was so good to chat with our vendors and to see so many of our friends and contractors that incorporate Maintenance Inc. products into their daily work.
On the new product side Maintenance Inc. officially introduced our TROWEL GRADE crack filler for deep and wide cracks. Trowel Grade is creamy and has great spreadability. We also are now making our OXI-BOND PRIMER for priming asphalt and concrete for asphalt based sealer application. Formulated for bonding asphalt-based sealer to asphalt surfaces by staining the surface rocks, reducing rock polish on the aggregate along with providing some oil and fuel resistance. We recommend Oxi-Bond primer under all asphalt-based sealers for drive thru restaurant applications, main drives and turn lanes, exit and entrances, etc. It is like sealer glue – bonding surface to sealer, extending the service life of all AE sealer applications. Dries in 30 minutes. So it’s fast and can be pre-diluted up to 2-1. Apply by spray, roller, or brush. A must for application of asphalt emulsion-based pavement sealers over old previously sealed coal-tar parking lots and driveways.
APE: You mentioned you have finished your 2022 catalog. Is it ready to ship out to contractors? I hear you also have a well-stocked showroom of tools and accessories.
MM: Yes! We are stocked up for now! Contractors can go online at www.maintinc.com and request a catalog, or call 800-892-6701 and we will send you a copy. We are excited about our new showroom in our Wooster, Ohio location, which is fully stocked. We are ready to ship all over the world.
All sale orders should be sent to email@example.com for fast service. Our Maintenance Inc. team and I would like to thank everyone for their business and look forward to another year of growth and prosperity in our beloved pavement maintenance industry! We THANK everyone for celebrating our 85th year servicing our industry’s distributors and contractors worldwide.
Maintenance Inc., Bonding Pavement Sealers and Contractors Together for 85 YEARS!