May 6, 2020
Dave WrightWe know that the COVID-19 pandemic and the impending recession is a threat. So how do we quickly identify and take advantage of the opportunities? I’ve been reflecting on my own business and how to trim the fat and apply a lean management strategy across the whole operation.

In times like these, the lean will succeed, and anything that’s not, will require intense and intentional change. This is not the time for business-as-usual — a threat this big can actually make important changes in your business easier. It becomes an opportunity to review your pain points and make structural changes, to pass your headaches on to someone else. If you have people that are non-performers, now is the time to let them be someone else’s non-performer. If you have a customer that is slow to pay and gives you all kinds of grief, let them be someone else’s grief. If you have a truck that is costing you dearly in repairs, but you keep fixing it because you can’t do without, sell it and let someone else pay for the repairs. Be rigorous. Take a moment to evaluate what’s really in your wheelhouse and determine if they are real barriers to your productivity. Are there things you shouldn’t be doing and other things you should do more of? Is there a service you are doing because you always have, but that doesn’t really make you money? Is there an opportunity to start doing something you could be really good at with the equipment and people you already have? This could be your chance to pivot and make that change. If it’s strategic, it may give you clarity and save you money.

We’ve been through this kind of uncertainty before and hopefully, we’ve all got some lessons-learned tucked away for a time like this. I’ve learned to surround myself with an amazing team and focus on the opportunities. Back in the middle of the 2009 recession, my daughter was three and my son was on the way. My wife was on maternity leave and the weight of the world was on my shoulders. Sleep was a challenge, and I would take an hour nap at lunch because I was so exhausted. I didn’t have the same people around me then that I have now. I thought it was up to me to come up with all of the big ideas and make all of the decisions. At that time, we had been doing some things for over 40 years, but made the decision to make some very difficult changes. The following year saw the best year ever for net profit in the history of the company. We made changes to procedures we are still using today, 11 years later. As a team, we are now developing and testing new strategies. We are sharing and learning from our peers and our competitors.

Now is the time to stop looking back at the threats and look forward to the great opportunities. I challenge you to be humble and surround yourself with people who are smarter than you to make 2020 your best year yet.
Dave Wright
LO President