Dealer adjustments continue, outlook remains cautiously optimistic
As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic impacts many avenues of life and work, the aggregate industry continues to adapt to these unprecedented times. Portable Plants recently caught up with Kemper Equipment‘s Greg and Sheri Donecker, Davis Industrial‘s Stephenie Davis and Bramco-MPS’s Mark Strader for their perspectives on how the coronavirus is impacting their companies and how their colleagues are looking out for one another.
P&Q: How has the coronavirus impacted how you and your company can go about business, whether on a day-to-day basis or in the big picture?
The Doneckers: Kemper Equipment has implemented COVID-19 guidelines, including social distancing among employees, staff working remotely and additional PPE and precautions in our manufacturing and warehouse facilities.
The word on our street, so to speak, is optimism in the long run for our industry because of the potential for a phase four coronavirus infrastructure spending bill.
Kemper is currently hiring additional manufacturing employees and adding tooling and machining centers to the shop in order to meet anticipated higher demand when things start up again. To cover anticipated delays in our supply chain, we continue to increase inventory of equipment and parts and are expanding sourcing to expedite deliveries.
Strader: Our customers are considered essential business, so they continue to work. We have actually seen, in some cases, customers who may have been doing overnight jobs moved to day jobs – since traffic and activity have decreased.
To respond to all of this, we are implementing creative ways to provide continued service to our customers, such as parts delivery and curbside service. We are also offering options to service hours, working during off-hours in an effort to keep human distancing to a minimum.
Davis: From a day-to-day standpoint, we have adopted all of the CDC’s (Center for Disease Control & Prevention) recommended precautions, as well as altered our technician’s scheduling to accommodate enhanced social distancing measures and implemented a work-from-home model, where possible, in order to still be there to serve our customers 24/7.
Our team has been nothing short of fantastic. They have all been very flexible and accommodating to help ensure their health and safety while balancing the ability to be ready to help our customers. We truly appreciate their efforts and positive attitude during this challenging time.
We have been able to navigate these uncertain times without any layoffs. In fact, we’ve hired additional personnel during the last few weeks to keep up with the demand.
Have you seen any moments of inspiration or compassion during these unprecedented times?
Strader: We are seeing it every day. We have an awesome employee base willing to go the extra mile to help our customers.
We are fortunate to have transparent corporate leadership who have been watching and responding to government regulations and communicating all information to our employees and customers. It’s even things as simple as calling others simply to check in on them.
Davis: We are in a pretty incredible industry – one that, on the surface, wouldn’t seem to be overly empathetic or compassionate. But the way we have all banded together to share ideas, information, resources and our time is really inspiring.
We have seen, and been a part of, things like donations of PPE (personal protective equipment) from individuals and businesses to those in need, donations of meals to those less fortunate, donations of money to those here at home in need and even abroad to help individuals who have been furloughed from supplier companies unable to operate.
As a business owner, I find it inspiring to see people come together to make things happen not only here at Davis Industrial but all around the industry.
The Doneckers: Customers and suppliers are reconnecting, which is a great thing. We’ve been on many calls with suppliers and customers throughout the country as we check in on each other and the industry.
For such a large industry, it’s a tight-knit group. That will give us strength moving forward.
For additional Portable Plants coverage related to the coronavirus, visit our dedicated webpage.