By Doug Ross

It is too easy to say that these last six months have been devastating, painful and damaging to our industry. But with every cloud, there is a silver lining.  Let’s take a look at the positive. 

Teamwork still wins the battle. The rally cry in our company was met with enthusiasm and we were able to overcome a potential loss of revenue by making every dollar count. All the while our team continued to produce high quality parts on the pre-COVID schedule. These efforts paid off with an increase in revenue and cost savings far beyond what we had ever thought possible. 

Additionally, connecting has become much easier. As an “old guy”, I had become comfortable in my approach to connecting with clients, prospects as well as team members. With the “social distancing” and travel limitations, it became nearly impossible to operate in the same fashion. Virtual trade shows, conferences and “Teams” meetings became the standard. Advancements in technology allowed the Baby Boomers to easily stay in touch, even increasing the number of touches you could make in a week.

Another take-away of the past six months has been our ability to stop and reevaluate the necessity of certain items and procedures. More and more often I find myself and my team asking, “Do we need to spend $$ on that?” Let me be clear, I firmly believe relationships are built on in person meetings, lunches, outside of the office. However, virtual meetings and trade shows have proven to be an excellent alternative. I found that we had better attendance and communication with our virtual guests, resulting in a larger number of new contacts than the traditional way. 

I am not advocating for cutting travel or eliminating brick and mortar trade shows, but we have learned that we can be wiser in planning, connecting, selling and were even able to put some of the savings into equipment, training. And mostly importantly, and as an employee owned company, we were able to put some money back into the hands back of the hard working “owners” in the form of year-end dividends. 

We turned lemons into lemonade, simply by adjusting the response to a “problem.”