Scenario Planning and Cash Flow were Key Messages Delivered by METALCON Experts
The “greatest economic boom has come to a screeching halt…” commented Frank A. Stasiowski, FAIA, Founder and CEO of PSMJ Resources and Co-Founder of METALCON, in partnership with the Metal Construction Association, in his opening comments of last week’s first METALCON Live industry event. If you tuned in, however, you’ll know that it was not all doom and gloom; in fact, just the opposite. “Re-Igniting Sales and Operations Amidst a World Health Crisis” did just as it promised – it delivered a “no-BS discussion of current challenges and workarounds.”
Nearly 300 participants from all facets of the metal construction industry tuned in last Wednesday as Frank and Rob Haddock, CEO and Founder of S-5! Metal Roof Innovations, commenced METALCON’s first of several upcoming METALCON Live events. Not only did they lend their expertise and share practical steps they are taking in their own businesses, Frank and Rob also asked questions via Zoom’s polling feature that provided an opportunity to discover what is happening across the industry in real time.
Frank kicked off the event by detailing three critical action items; creating a vision, cash flow planning and how to re-ignite sales. For creating a vision, he emphasized “while a crisis plan is needed in present time, also keep an eye on the future.” In addition to a 30-60-90 day plan, think 3-6-9 months as well. Another critical step is “scenario planning around cash flow and to find ways of getting cash flowing any way you can.” Frank highlighted the recently passed CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) which will make grants available for small businesses (see SBA website for details) and encouraged participants to immediately apply (if you qualify) and be ready when the banks are ready to distribute. Lastly, “re-ignite sales” by having your sales team in contact with clients to assist them with their needs and to keep the pipeline alive.
While Frank was addressing the group, the first live polling question was asked, “Have you done a 3-way cash flow plan as of today?” Within minutes, 43% of those who responded answered no. Subsequently, Frank suggested that this was the first action step everyone should take and to report on it during the second METALCON Live event April 8.
Next, Rob took center stage and spoke first on the status of his company and steps they had taken since the crisis began. Given the strength of their business over the past two years, he said S-5! was well postured heading into 2020 so part of their plan included utilizing some of the past backlog and profits. He highlighted they have not made any staff cuts, and in fact, stressed how important it is right now “to not lose good employees—they are hard to find.” While business now does not resemble business in normal times, he commented it provides companies with an “opportunity on how to react” and manage differently, but effectively.
For example, he explained that his manufacturing plant is in full swing, but they have implemented some changes including growing the automation side, taking temperatures daily of their workers, sanitizing effectively, spending time educating their personnel on COVID-19 and emphasizing the importance of applying the expected code of conduct both at work and outside work. Rob commented that one of the silver linings of the pandemic could be “helping to solve the labor shortage issue that has existed for the past couple of years.”
“Reaching customers is the next important step,” Rob commented. If distributors begin to lean their inventory, what happens with pent-up demand? Rob advised companies to remain bullish right now, to be ready for when “normal life” resumes and to be ready for the pent-up demand. This will continue to evolve and should be evaluated weekly. Frank chimed in agreeing with Rob saying, “If you let too many staff go, you box yourself in.”
As it relates to sales, Rob said that of course it looks differently right now, but there are ways to “get creative with the sales process.” For example, sales managers could potentially help them work with banks or small equity lenders to possibly finance new projects right now. Another creative approach is to offer webinars and invite and engage your clients through the learning opportunities. Rob commented that “he was more than pleasantly surprised at the attendance of some of their recent webinars.” (see upcoming S-5! webinars HERE)
Polling Question #2: “Have you seen any disruption in the supply chain?” 65% responded no. Rob commented, “That means that 35% of you need to tap into your ‘plan B’s’ to find another source/vendor.”
METALCON Live participant and long-time METALCON exhibitor, Brian Partyka, VP Sales and Marketing with Drexel Metals Inc., was asked to chime in regarding the current status of the supply chain. Brian said he was “expecting a slight decrease in orders but as of right now steel mills are operating as normal and inventories are plentiful.” He went on to say ,”we may see a slowdown come summer, expecting the residential side to see more than the commercial side.” He said some people might have seen something in the news about U.S. Steel closing one of their steel mills. He clarified this announcement was made back in December and unrelated to the pandemic.
Polling Question #3: Have you furloughed staff or cut salaries as of today? 89% said they had not.
Polling Question #4: Do you expect the worst of the pandemic will be over by mid-summer? 68% responded yes.
Polling Question #5: Do you expect strong Fall sales as a result of pent up demand? 77% said yes.
Rounding out the METALCON Live event on a very positive note, Frank and Rob shared mutual optimism about being able to gather as a community at METALCON 2020 in Las Vegas in October and use the event to “re-ignite” sales and other business opportunities.
If you missed the event or wish, listen to it again, or forward it on to a colleague, the recording available to you on PSMJ Podcasts Presents (wherever you listen to podcasts) or here on Soundcloud.
For more information on Frank Stasiowski, click HERE.
For more information on Rob Haddock, click HERE.
Click HERE for additional COVID-19 Resiliency Resources for A/E/C firms.
JOIN US AGAIN THIS WEEK FOR OUR NEXT METALCON LIVE
“Re-Igniting Sales and Operations Amidst a World Health Crisis”
WHEN: April 8, 2020
TIME: 1:00 PM EST
This week Rob and Frank will be joined by special guests Art Hance, President of the MBCEA and Owner/President of Hance Construction, Inc. and Heidi J. Ellsworth, partner with RoofersCoffeeShop® and owner of HJE Consulting.
THIS no-BS discussion of current challenges and workarounds is FREE for our friends in the metal construction industry. Find out what you need to be doing NOW to ensure your business comes out stronger when the dust settles. Register now for free and save your virtual “seat” for Wednesday, April 8, 2020. All you need is a computer, tablet or smart phone.