Thank you, Mr. Chair.
First of all, I'd like to thank you for giving us this opportunity to voice our opinion on the matter.
I'm Justin Juneau, director of operations for Cedomatec. We're a third-generation family business located in Repentigny, Quebec. We are a manufacturer of steel and aluminum garage doors. We've been in business since the fifties, back when we were manufacturing hardware for garage doors. We've been building panels since 1987. We have a staff of about 25 employees. They come from a wide range of income distribution and skills backgrounds.
Being in the business of steel and aluminum garage doors, of course, we've been greatly impacted by the tariffs that took effect on July 1. We see impact in three major areas: on our costs of goods, on our supply chain management and on our revenues.
If we dig deeper into the impact on our cost of goods, all of the raw material we directly import from the U.S., such as some of the aluminum we use, is directly hit by the tariff, even if the orders were made way before tariffs were even on the table. Because of the usual lead time of six months, we still have to pay tariffs on the orders placed in February. That was, of course, not planned.
We also see repercussions when sourcing from Canadian suppliers of steel and aluminum. We see them try to transfer the tariff onto us, or else they carry a lot less inventory due to the climate of uncertainty, which leads to shortages of some types of steel. The scarcity also creates price hikes. For example, for one type of galvanized steel we use, we've seen an increase of up to 70% compared with the price of last year's material.
If we take a look also at the impact on our supply chain management, we have a concrete example of a partner that we were developing in Asia to source our steel. Unfortunately, they pulled out of the deal before we could place our first order because of the possible anti-dumping measures asked for by local steel mills. To give you some context, it can take up to four months to develop a partnership due to the specificity of our material. That includes sourcing, negotiation, testing and trial runs. All of that time and energy went to waste when that partner pulled out of the negotiation.
We also have to start a process to find new suppliers for our aluminum that comes from the U.S. That means ending a relationship that lasted more than a decade with a very trusted and reliable supplier. We have to start all over again, with, again, complicated material. This climate reduces our leverage when negotiating with local suppliers. The intensity of the competition has diminished a lot in the last months.
If we look at the impact on our revenues, of course, the increased price of raw material had an impact on our gross margin, which diminished sometimes to a single-digit gross margin on some products. Industry-wide, we've seen an increase in prices on garage doors in Quebec, but since our product is mostly seen as a commodity and the elasticity of demand is very high, we cannot pass the increase in price on down the supply chain. We pretty much have to foot the bill.
This, of course, impacts our shareholder value as well as our workers, whose wages have been stagnant for the last months. Unfortunately, this winter we have to consider furlough due to the climate of uncertainty. We do not want to stock too much inventory, because we expect a decrease in demand due to the higher prices. We also have to delay investments that would have increased our productivity and our competitiveness in the market. These are all measures that go against our long-term vision, but in such a grave situation, we have no choice but to prioritize the viability of the company.
I think our situation clearly demonstrates that tariffs always end up hurting people, not organizations or countries. In our situation, due to the market conditions, it's mainly the Canadian workers and entrepreneurs who are hit. Therefore, we think these tariffs are inefficient, since the prime payers are Canadian workers and entrepreneurs. In the long term, it will be consumers who will have to pay this increase.
We therefore demand the abolition of the 10% tariff on U.S. aluminum and the U.S. 25% tax on steel and, as well, to maintain open borders for steel and aluminum coming from foreign countries, especially Asian countries. This would maintain price competitiveness and benefit a large number of businesses, both large and small, as well as ultimately benefiting the consumer.
I thank you for your time and look forward to your questions.