Doing Business in the Year of the “Covid Shuffle”
Greetings, everyone! I hope all of you out there in the land of CoolSys are well. It’s our busy season, and our technicians are working hard to serve our customers. Please be safe out there; long days can make for tired people, and that’s when accidents are most likely to happen. We appreciate the hard work you are all doing! Anything the rest of us can do to make their lives easier is a worthwhile pursuit.
This month, I want to talk about how the lingering results of Covid continue to impact the world in strange and unexpected ways. The country wants to reboot, but we’re having trouble. It’s like an 8-cylinder engine that is sputtering because only six cylinders are firing. This post-Covid situation is particularly hard to fix because it’s not the same two cylinders that are sputtering at any given time.
Getting People Back to Work
There are nine million open jobs right now in the USA. These open positions are causing thousands of businesses around the country to operate at reduced capacity or hours of operation. The result is longer wait times, customer frustration and less product or service produced.
Even at CoolSys, we have 250 open positions we want to fill to increase capacity, enabling our technicians to work fewer hours and be on call less frequently.
To that end, we have amped up our recruitment efforts and have, in most cases, more than doubled our referral bonuses for employees who help us get these jobs filled. A full one-third of the people hired at CoolSys are the result of employee referrals. Our best hires come from YOU, so I encourage you to help us turn 2,700 employees into 2,700 recruiters. If just 10% of us brought in one new employee this month, we would have zero open jobs in the company. Check out the announcement on new and improved employee referral program.
Kinks in the Supply Chain
Over the years, the worldwide supply chain has slipped into a “just-in-time” mentality. Gone are the days of large inventories. Instead, factories rely on subcomponents or raw materials to show up precisely when they are needed. As a result of Covid, plant shutdowns have been widespread and uneven, disrupting the supply chain and creating gaps that prevent larger assemblies from being finished.
We have seen this in our own industry. On the construction side of our business, equipment shortages are delaying jobs that customers want to move forward with. The same thing is happening with automobile manufacturers. If you have been to a new car lot lately, you’ve seen that inventories are low. Factory orders are delayed, and the supply chain reboot is struggling to find a smooth rhythm.
The same problem is playing out in home improvement stores. Lumber prices are through the roof, and many aisles have empty shelves. I was trying to find drywall spray texture recently and went to two stores near me that normally would have hundreds of cans in stock. I found nothing but dust on the shelves. We have lots of toilet paper again, but holes in the supply chain are everywhere. Like a rock that is thrown into a pond, the ripples start with raw materials then expand through manufacturing and into the marketplace.
Riding Out the Storm
While companies are doing much better than last year, the gains are less than expected because of these issues. Some markets in the country have opportunities but no labor capacity to fill them. In other markets, there is labor capacity but limited opportunity. Many companies, including CoolSys, are lowering their financial estimates and targets for the full year.
All of these issues are causing a huge increase in the price of materials and goods. Inflation is alive and well after being nonexistent for decades. Everything we do is costing more, which adds pressure to raise prices in response.
I am telling you this because I want you to know we understand the company is experiencing the same impacts that the broader economy is and we are doing everything we can to address the things within our control. So, hang in there, CoolSys We have built a good ship, and we can survive any storm — even if it means we must learn to do the “Covid Shuffle” until the ripples smooth out.