Would you consider an alternative option to ordering buffer stock on your next project?

Mar 26, 2023Blogs, Edgeline, Finishes, Market Intelligence, Projects, Vitrabond, VitrabondG2, Vitraplate

It is a fact of life in the metal cladding industry that if you want to make sure you have enough material to complete a project you need to factor in some buffer stock in case of damage to panels, miscalculation of materials, or one of a number of reasons that can cause you to fall short on the job site. 

Buffer stock is ordered on top of what you estimate that you will need for the job and generally (as a rule of thumb) it is approximately 10% above what is required and is ordered at the same time as your project order. It may be that you don’t need to dip into this stock, only need a couple of sheets or you end up using all your buffer stock. It is this uncertainty that makes ordering buffer stock essential. 

But did you know that there is a way to have your buffer stock material reserved for your project and only pay for it if you need it? Sounds too good to be true? It is possible through Fairview’s customer-orientated 110% Stock and Color program. 

Our 110% Stock and Color program has been available to customers since before we entered the North American market in 2012. However, because of the “too good to be true” factor it can take a few conversations with customers to help them understand that it really is possible to reserve buffer stock with absolutely no obligation to buy it if it is not required. Want to find out more? Read on to learn how you can benefit from this program. 

What is buffer stock? 

Buffer stock is used to describe the extra material that customers often purchase on top of their order as a contingency. If there is an issue with the project and additional material is required, then the customer has these panels on hand and available for use as required. It is important to have this stock available in an emergency, however, if this stock is not required then you will be left with excess stock at the end of the project. If this is a project with a custom finish, then the chances of being able to use the material on a future project is unlikely. 


When could you need buffer stock? 

The point of buying extra material as a buffer is to ensure you have enough material even if there are unforeseen circumstances. However, when you look back over your experience, you probably have examples of when you wished you had bought extra material. Based on your previous experience, you will buy additional material now because you have seen the unforeseen!   

Here are some common reasons for buying more material than you estimate is needed on your projects: 

  1. Fear of running out of material during the project: This is a common reason for overbuying, especially if the project is large or complex, or you are unsure of how the sheets will optimize. 
  2. Installed panels getting damaged: with multiple trades all working on the same site, the risk of panels getting damaged by another trade is highly likely. 
  3. Ensuring consistency: Buying more materials can help ensure consistency in the materials used throughout the project, especially if there are multiple finishes on the project. 
  4. To accommodate potential changes: If the project scope changes, having extra materials on hand can help accommodate those changes without having to stop work or delay the project. For example, sometimes the architect will change which finishes they want to go where. 
  5. To avoid delays: Waiting for additional materials to arrive can cause delays in the project schedule. Overbuying can help avoid these delays. 
  6. To hedge against price increases: If the cost of materials is expected to increase, buying extra material now can save money in the long run. 
  7. To reduce the number of re-orders: Buying more material can reduce the number of times you need to reorder material, which can save time and money. 
  8. To account for waste: There is always some waste due to a variety of reasons, so buying extra material can help account for this. 

What are the risks of not ordering buffer stock?     

To purchase or not to purchase buffer stock is completely up to you and varies from company to company. However, after more than a decade of having clients buy material from us, we know that buffer stock material is drawn from on approximately 90% of the projects that we supply.  

Here are some of the issues we have seen because of customers not acquiring buffer stock: 

  1. Delays: Construction projects can encounter unexpected events that may delay the project’s completion. Examples can include on site damage, as-built variations, or simple miscounts. Without buffer stock, delays can result in the project not meeting its deadline, leading to financial losses and potential legal disputes. 
  2. Cost Overruns: Unexpected events can also increase the costs of a construction project. Without buffer stock, project managers may struggle to buy additional material at the same price as at the beginning of the project, leading to cost overruns and project cancellations. 
  3. Batch Differences: Without having acquired buffer stock at the beginning of the project, additional material procured may be from a different batch, resulting in noticeable visual differences. 
  4. Quality Issues: If the installers know there is no buffer stock available, they may use unacceptable methods of repurposing supplies, leading to quality issues in the future. 
  5. Reputation Damage: Failing to complete a construction project on time and within budget can damage a company’s reputation, leading to the loss of future business opportunities and clients. 

How can you get buffer stock without having to pay for it in advance? 

At Fairview we take an unconventional view to buffer stock that is based on our customer service core value; “our success is based on our customer’s success”. Our 110% Stock & Color Program means that customers do not pay for buffer stock in advance yet have access at any time to this reserved material that is set aside for their specific order should they can choose to use it or not. The 110% Stock & Color Program is unique to Fairview and available to eligible customers.  

How does Fairview’s 110% Stock & Color program work? 

On every Vitrabond, a buffer stock order is automatically created alongside your project order, from the same batch, for 10% of your total order (up to a maximum of 2,000sf per finish). We call this our “110 Order”.  

In the case of product from our inventory, the material on this 110 Order is simply reserved until your project is completed or the warranty is issued, whichever comes first. Whatever buffer stock you don’t use is simply released back into our inventory to be sold to another client, so that your prices are not artificially inflated to cover the cost of the buffer stock.  

If your order was for a finish that we do not keep in inventory, the buffer stock on the 110 Order will be back coated with one of our standard stocking finishes. This means that if you don’t end up needing the material we simply turn the sheets over and sell the stocking finish on the other side. This way you also don’t end up paying for any of the material you don’t use. 

This program means that you have access at any time to buffer stock from the same batch, and at the same project price (yes that’s part of it!), and you only buy it if/when you need it! 


Is my business eligible for the 110% stock program? 

Yes! If buffer stock is something that you have needed on past projects or think you could need on future projects, contact us for more information on the 110% Stock and Color Program. These are the easiest ways to get in touch with us: 


Email: helpdesk@fairview-na.com 

Phone: 860-242-2711

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