Coronavirus has taken a hold of the world’s attention, with schools, offices, and businesses closing across the country and across the globe. As the challenging situation unfolds, dealers have been forced to react quickly to the ongoing pandemic.
In many cases, deliveries continue and companies remain open for business. However, many dealers are taking cautious preventative measures and communicating these changes with their stakeholders.
Beloit, Wis.-based ABC Supply, the largest company on the 2019 ProSales 100, released a note to customers and vendors communicating the distributor’s plan amid the coronavirus pandemic. ABC Supply stated the company has implemented a no-contact policy, canceled meetings or gatherings of more than 50 people, limited travel to essential business activities, instituted enhanced cleaning policies at facilities, instructed outside sales reps to stop making in-person sales calls, and instructed employees feeling ill to stay home and seek appropriate medical attention.
ABC Supply also instructed customers to, when possible, call, text, or email orders to the company. The distributor stated it will stage deliveries for pickup in its yards to limit traffic inside facilities. The company also encouraged customers to communicate via phone, FaceTime, or other electronic means if assistance is needed on bids and other services to limit face-to-face meetings as much as possible.
Pat Hughes, executive vice president of branch operations at SRS Distribution, based in McKinney, Texas, sent an email out to stakeholders Monday night, providing an update on steps taken by the company to ensure business continuity. Hughes encouraged customers, when possible, to shop online and utilize email and phone to contact branch teams.
SRS has reinforced and enhanced branch cleaning policies and sanitized high-traffic areas in facilities. Hughes said all branches will continue to operate at regular business hours to limit business disruption, but that all classes and branch events have been canceled through the end of the month.
At Eighty Four, Pa.-based 84 Lumber, owner and president Maggie Hardy Knox sent a message to her employees last week. Knox stated she will “stand behind all associates’ base pay and there will not be any lapse in medical benefits.” Knox wrote that 84 Lumber would not charge sick time or paid time off, particularly as many employees are forced to stay home to take care of young children. 84 Lumber also suspended air travel and Knox stated the company will continuously re-evaluate its plan and communicate it with associates. Knox’s letter to employees remains on 84 Lumber’s home page.
As the coronavirus continues to spread, it remains uncertain how it will affect employees, business, and business processes. Given all the uncertainty, it can be difficult to craft a business plan and communicate that with all the stakeholders in the company. In a previous article on ProSales, several construction industry pros shared tips to help business leaders prepare and respond to the pandemic.