Just like all of you, I'm concerned about the uncertain times that lay ahead. I’m concerned for my team members. Not only for their health and safety but for their economic prosperity. We have 95 families that are depending on us to put food on their tables. The current situation concerns me, but overall I’m optimistic for a number of reasons:
First, we have an unbelievably talented and resourceful team. They are ready and able to do whatever we need to stay operational, serve our customers, and stay competitive during this time.
Secondly, we have mitigation and contingency plans already in place.
Third, we are blessed to serve a very diverse customer base. Many of which are essential industries in a time of crisis. We serve industries like Agriculture who are getting ready to go to the fields for their spring planting, Transportation who are working to keep our country's supply chains moving, Food & Pharmaceuticals who keep us all healthy, some of which are even working directly on the virus efforts, the Defense Industry, and Power Generation, who are literally keeping our lights on. We are honored and fortunate to serve these industries.
While this situation is impacting our business, because of the things I've just mentioned, we trust that we will get through this…... and our heart goes out to those industries who have been catastrophically affected by this.
On a more practical note. I want to share with you a few of the things we have put in place to ensure we are protecting the health of our team members, our customers, and ensuring our ability to continue to operate and serve you.
- Like most everyone, we have instituted a travel ban and an associated 14-day quarantine if anyone has to travel.
- Any employees with symptoms or temperature will be sent home and not allowed on any customer’s site for at least 14 days. We are loosening all our attendance policies to discourage people from coming to work sick.
- We have heightened our cleaning regiments.
- We have ceased all movement of employees (including management) between our 4 locations in an effort to isolate our risk, giving ourselves the ability to shift resources, and to remain operable, should one facility be affected by the virus.
Finally, we are hearing a lot of people use the comment lately, "We are all in this together." You know, on the surface it sounds a little cheesy, but as you think about it, it’s so true. We have always been interdependent as an economy. The awareness is only heightened right now, and in some sense that might be a good thing. I remember asking my grandfather about the Great Depression and how it affected our business, he said that my great-grandfather put it simply this way, “we always had plenty to eat.” I know he was speaking literally about how essential his blacksmith and wagon repair business was to the farmer's livelihood since they were known to bring him food in the form of payment if they couldn't pay their bill, but I think he was also making a point that if we have our family, our health and something to eat, we don’t really need much else. I’ve often reflected on that level of appreciation and reliance he and his customers had built into their relationships and looked to model that.
As a family business who's been around for 118 years, we’ve seen a lot of challenges along the way. But through all of it, we have always tried to do things the right way and treat our employees and customers fairly, because of that we feel pretty good about our chances during these tough times and we are really banking on the loyalty that I hope we've earned over the past years, decades, or in some cases, even generations.
Thank you for your trust in us and we wish you the very best during these trying times.