David Byrne and the Talking Heads were right, “this ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco, this ain’t no fooling around.”
And that brief musical interlude brings us to the third installment of our Business as Unusual series. Today, we share with you some of the comments we received from dealers when we reached out to them on Monday to learn how they are faring and adjusting their businesses to continue functioning during the COVID-19 crisis. Here’s what four dealers shared with us earlier this week.
First and foremost is the health and safety of our employees and their loved ones at home. In our office we are focused on people separation, hand washing and surface cleaning. Our clients and suppliers are next. Only sales and service visits will be made with confirmed appointments. And, with that, my sales and service people are utilizing safety protocols and adhering to those of our clients. We will be relying heavily on emails, phone calls, and Skype meetings.
I wish that we could just send everyone home on a two- to three-week paid time off, but we don’t have the luxury. Between the outflow of businesses from NJ, accelerating corporate mergers, challenging margins in our extremely competitive marketplace, and a heavy tax burden, I have to still strategize on sales production, servicing our client’s needs and cash flow during this crisis. Andrew Ritschel, president, Electronic Office Systems, Fairfield, NJ
Things are just fine at Gordon Flesch Company but the uncertainty of the COVID-19 outbreak does cause us some concern. Schools being shutdown certainly doesn’t help our aftermarket numbers, for example. But we issued internal communication today with updates on certain policies like travel and the ability to work from home. An external communication will likely go out prior to EOB today. Personally, by all accounts I am healthy so that is good. Patrick Flesch, President, Gordon Flesch Company, Madison, WI
I would say things at Marco are going as well as one could expect during this unpredictable and constantly changing health crisis. We’ve had many internal meetings in developing regular communication with our employees. Today, we moved to an official “please work from home strategy if at all possible.”
We have heard from more than two dozen customers that they want their deliveries delayed specifically because of the virus situation. This of course doesn’t include the obvious places that have asked us not to deliver such as hospitals and healthcare facilities. It also doesn’t include all the school closures that are obviously being affected. Personally, I’m doing good. Steve Gau, president, copier division, Marco, St. Cloud, MN
- We made a lot of dramatic changes yesterday.
- We implemented a hygiene protocol for anyone in the field.
- Put up signs to explain effective handwashing
- Sent home anyone that could reasonably work from home and made sure all of their technology was set up and ready.
- We practiced social distancing for anyone left in the office. Everyone is in a private office or 10 feet away from the next person.
- All parts are shipped to the service technicians and they are dispatched from home.
- We have posted information on our website and sent an email to all of our customers.
- We’ve added extra cleaners to all common areas.
- We have changed face to face meetings to electronic meetings.
- All internal meetings are done by phone.
- We have an all company meeting by phone each day at 4:00.
- Our leadership team meets every day by phone to assess our status.
- We are providing online training.
- We are posting our sales and other stats electronically compared to last year so the entire company can see where we are and hopefully feel compelled to do what they can to help.
- We have a great team and have leveraged the staff’s commitment to us and our customers.
- We have discontinued our breakfast and lunch delivery for sanitary reasons.
- We have cut some costs.
- We are doing everything we can to avoid layoffs!!!
Dawn Abbuhl, president, Repeat Systems, Albany, NY
Look for more best practices and commentary tomorrow.
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