January 2009 Posts

COVID-19 Recovery Begins

A few weeks ago, I presented a business analysis outlining how recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic would look based upon 20+ years of experience personally being involved in disaster relief operations. This is an follow-up analysis sharing details of real recovery happening now along with an updated outlook.

We are presently between the first and second stage, a time when folks are moving beyond the initial panic and fear as they begin to experience a cautious sense of relief. The world is starting to spin normally again which is a fantastic move in the right direction. This has taken slightly longer than originally anticipated as stay-at-home orders were issued which had not been widely implemented during historical disasters utilized as reference points.

Folks are beginning to get out and about again, traffic is increasing on the roads and parks are filled with people who are willing to risk leave their homes for the enjoyment of having interactions with friends and family members in safe social environments. There’s still a cautious feeling in the air with social distancing and wearing protective masks, but life is returning to the “new normal”.

Governments are slowly relaxing restrictive measures which are helping people get back to work, while businesses are hard at work to ensure safety guidelines are in place to operate responsibly. Everyone is keenly aware that failure to adhere to CDC guidelines (and common sense preventative measures) will result in a tragic relapse of this pandemic. The stakes are high and there’s no second chances to get it right, leaders are committed to making the right moves for the health and safety of others now more than ever.

So, what’s next? As I mentioned in my prior analysis, I provide expert consultation to some of the largest banks and private equity firms in the country. These deep connections have provided me insight into minds of those individuals who invest in a wide variety of industries. It is widely viewed that unlike the “U” shaped 2009 recession (two quarters of free-fall, four quarters of consistent trough recession and two quarters of recovery), this event will appear more “V” shaped in form.

The reason behind this “V” shaped view is two-fold. First, many folks such as myself who are in the driver’s seat during this pandemic are the same people who experienced (and successfully overcame) the 2009 recession. Collectively, we all moved too slowly in cutting and trimming operations back then, we acted much more swiftly this time around as we executed many painful decisions. Inversely, we are all experienced knowing the necessary recovery procedures and will implement many of the same actions learned from the past downturn as we begin to work our way out of this recession. Secondly, there’s massive amounts of money being distributed throughout the supply chain as well as directly to individuals in need. Politics aside, money is a proven driver of economic activity and there’s a lot of it beginning to flow with more expected to follow in the weeks and months ahead.

My current analysis is based upon facts versus pure speculative opinion, although none of us has a crystal ball so a healthy dose of thoughtful interpolation is necessary. I believe that we will see a negative 75%-85% decrease in many businesses for Q220. By Q320, this will be reduced to negative 30% as an anticipated 18%-30% of entities begin to fail, driving increased demand to those business who have survived. By Q420, we will recover to negative 15%, further accelerated by fewer having competitors in the marketplace. This is an important metric as folks will now be in the realm of a “known” recession environment, this is precisely the level we saw in 2009. Familiarity with being in a previously known economic environment will provide a feeling of, “We’ve got this, we know how to recover from this point.” This is the stage where projects will begin to be green-lighted and we will see business activity shift into full gear. That being said, projects and supply chains naturally take time to ramp up so we’re still several months away from truly seeing the effect of these initiates. By late Q121 to early Q221 these projects will get underway and we’ll return to the “zero” baseline, essentially the same place we begin prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

I’ve fielded more calls and e-mails than I can even count these past weeks. Interactions are filled with people reaching out who are overwhelmed and looking for hope and assurance that brighter days are ahead. My typical days are 20+ hours long and quite frankly are exhausting, yet incredibly fulfilling to be able to help others during this time of need. I continue my resolve to stay strong and confident by recognizing this entire event is just a bookmark in time in the grand scheme of life. There’s many amazing chapters still to be written as we create meaningful business and personal experiences long into the future.

I’m so incredibly proud of the care and generosity exhibited by so many people in this world during this pandemic so will conclude this update simply by saying thank you. I warms my heart and renews my faith in the goodness of the human spirit to see folks stepping up in ways beyond my imagination to help their families, friends, neighbors and loved ones. We are all walking this journey together, surrounded by everyday heroes by our sides, thank you for making the world a better place!

Godspeed to you all!

~ Brad Pierce

After Every Storm There is Sunshine

After every storm there is sunshine, I know this is always true. Our nation has a long and rich history of persevering during the most challenging times to successfully overcome adversity. I have confidence in the spirit of the American people and our friends throughout the world, caring people coming together in unity to help their family, friends, neighbors and co-workers in times of disaster. Know for certain that the resiliency of the human spirit and good in this world will lead us all to sunnier days ahead. ☀️🇺🇸

Brad’s COVID-19 Business Analysis

The following is my COVID-19 business analysis for those who are interested. My background includes military/warzone supply chain, disaster relief ops and as an expert consultant to some of the largest banks and private equity firms in the world. These thoughts are solely my own.

Before I dive in, know for certain we WILL recover economically. It’s in our DNA as a country, we’re a society of entrepreneurs and talented people who have overcome much greater obstacles throughout history. This situation has the wild card factor of unforeseen emotional actions (toilet paper) in play which make timetables more difficult to predict, yet I am confident there is always sunshine after a storm.

I’ve been traveling nationally this past week and have witnessed the shocking turn from 100% occupancy in hotels to below 10% ghost towns. These past nights I’ve been one of only two diners at major national chain restaurants – mind blowing for weekend evenings which are typically bustling with activity. Employees standing around, you could see the fear in their eyes.

Short term, I feel we’re in for a devastating slowdown, exacerbated by intense media coverage and social media. Fear of legal liability will drive even more closures of businesses to avoid negligence claims. I feel this free-fall will continue for the next 10-14 days, then begin a slight recovery. Why? We’re not a sedentary society, social interactions are what we do. We see this with natural disasters, people get stir crazy and say screw it, I’m going to risk it and go out to live life. Businesses will begin to re-open and a sense of cautious relief will follow as the world starts spinning again.

Mid-term (6 months out), I see us in a “new normal” economic environment. Industries such as foodservice supply will see a drop to negative 14-16% growth, similar to our past recession. By this point in time fear should begin to subside, everyone will have friends and/or family who have gotten the virus (and survived), lessening the doomsday worries and giving confidence that folks can carry on with normal life activities. This will begin the inflection point where real recovery begins.

Long-term (1 year out), we’ll be back in gear rolling into 2021, with the prior year being one we’d all like to forget. Sadly some businesses will not have survived. As their doors close, business will be absorbed by more stable competitors, fueling those company’s recovery growth at an accelerated pace. Longer term there’s lingering economic impact (including paying for aid, bailouts and other costs incurred), but these are less relevant to everyday business.

Final thoughts, I’ll admit It, I’m concerned. Not much in life phases me, a byproduct of spending a disproportionate amount of time in high risk situations and activities. This however does, simply because there seems to be no logic in play, emotional knee-jerk reactions (hoarding goods) are leading the charge. It’s frankly unsettling. Yet, I know for absolute certainty we will persevere and recover!

For those of you reading this who are business leaders, NOW is your time to shine. You may be terrified on the inside, but on the outside you need to exhibit confidence, be the shining light your team members are looking to for comfort and guidance. Be mindful of short-term needs, yet think and act long-term in your decision making.

Today, we face an enormous test of our abilities and resolve – which we WILL pass. Look COVID-19 challenges right in the eye, stand strong, take care of your family, friends and employees – WE’VE GOT THIS!

Godspeed to you all!

Novel Employee Benefit: Toilet Paper

Many of us in the wholesale distribution industry have access to bulk goods typically sold to commercial establishments – these are different packaging/supply chain than retail products and ARE available. Ease the burden of your employee’s time and frustration running around to empty retail store shelves. Buy pallets and GIVE CASES AWAY to employees at no charge. It will cost you a few thousand dollars, but demonstrates to team members that you care and want to relieve at least one aspect of this crisis from their mind. There’s a time and place to make money, this is not one of them. This is the time to come together and help our associates wherever we can. You have the ability, take action.

Ps – No kudos needed, I’m passing this along to spur a unique thought with something you can do for your employees today. People are our #1 asset and taking care of them isn’t our job, it’s our responsibility.

Ignore the “Rules” – Follow Your Passion and Dreams

Ignore the "Rules", Follow Your Passion and Dreams

Ignore the “rules” – follow your passion and dreams. This is my office with a view today.

My days are filled with meetings solving customer challenges. I love making personal visits to understand operations and build successful relationships. My afternoons are spent airborne, living my passion as I travel to my next customer visit. In the past year I personally flew 196 flights and won’t be slowing down anytime soon. I’m living my mantra of conducting “Business at the Speed of Flight”.

If I’d listened to the naysayers or followed the “rules” accepting that I had to choose between my career and my passion I would never be where I am today – I’m living my dream life engaged fully in both. I’m thankful for amazing friends, family, customers, suppliers and REW team members who have made this life possible – I appreciate you!

I’ve had so many people say to me, “I wish I could do that” – which prompted me to write this post. You can do anything in the world you set your mind to, have the courage and determination to embrace your own passion. Intertwine what you love to do with what you get paid to do. You’ll be happier, enjoy life more, be filled with positive energy and will have a whole lot of fun on the journey.

Live life to the fullest and enjoy every second of the ride! ✈️🌎