Procurement Perseverance: How Businesses are Surviving the Pandemic
As we enter the third month of the COVID-19 pandemic in America, the shock can be felt far and wide by communities and businesses alike. Initially, none of us was sure what the overall global impact would be, which led to a variety of responses from the business community. Many forged ahead with business as usual. Others cautiously prepared for the worst while hoping for the best. Eventually some would be forced to close their doors, temporarily shuttering the business or closing indefinitely. A recent report from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) states that 40% of businesses do not reopen following a disaster. On top of that, another 25% fail within one year.
While it’s easy to feel conditioned to the circumstances of the present moment, it’s critical to keep in mind that the world continues to change by the day. Projections shift. As some states reopen their economy, the timeline for recovery in others is being further delayed. With a return to “normal” becoming more elusive and indefinable, the choices made by businesses fall under an increasingly fine microscope. A failure to respond appropriately can have dire consequences for their long-term health and survival.
At LogicSource, we’re certainly not immune to the struggles of the post-COVID world. Yet, we’re also uniquely positioned to help businesses receive some needed relief when it’s hard to find. Since the start of this crisis, we have worked with dozens of clients and non-clients alike to respond to COVID-19. And while the problems facing all of these businesses were unique to their ever-evolving situations, we were able to support our partners in three primary critical initiatives: Cash Conservation, Workforce and Labor Support and Emergency Supplies.
Here’s what we’ve found to be challenges specific to these categories and the ways LogicSource has been able to help:
Shutdowns across the country have strained the bottom-line of nearly every business. Revenues have become unpredictable, and whether or not a business has the cash needed to operate—even in pared-down capacities—is a week-to-week consideration.
With foot-traffic trends, purchasing habits and revenue forecasting all instantly changed due to the pandemic, the mindset of many business leaders we spoke to has shifted from growth to survival. For many businesses, the significant shock of revenue loss from closed stores, offices, and warehouse locations has put significant pressure on cash flow. To assure financial solvency, businesses are looking to rapidly reduce costs as an offset to lost revenues. This includes starting with non-mission critical indirect expenses.
At LogicSource, we have focused on a number of initiatives that generate cash and reduce both operating and capital expenses:
- Payment-term extension programs
- Supply chain financing initiatives
- Reviewing contracts to identify non-critical retainers and recurring fees, and helping to halt payments until business restarts
- Lease payment concessions, including payment deferrals and payment discounts as well as common areas maintenance (CAM) charge payment holidays for closed locations
- Benchmarking rates to drive post-restart rate reductions and value-add benefits.
- Strategically sourcing categories that have been impacted by demand and/or change in strategy
These initiatives and others like them help businesses conserve cash that would have otherwise been squandered when they can least afford it. When the stakes are sink-or-swim for many, an infusion of cash takes on a different meaning. In a pre-COVID world, cash may have been invested in merger and acquisition activity, or developing and launching a new product, cash in today’s world buys time, which is the currency we’re all trading in right now.
Workforce and Labor
The worldwide closings of non-essential businesses have had a binary impact on the business community. For non-essential businesses, traffic in-and-out the door has dropped to zero. Conversely, for essential businesses, there has been a dramatic traffic increase, driving up demand. The result has saddled non-essential businesses with lay-offs and employee furloughs to survive while essential businesses struggle to keep up with the demand.
The labor demand shift to essential businesses coupled with potential employee health/exposure risks is making it increasingly difficult to staff positions and is driving wage increases for certain roles. This impact is being particularly felt in retail and warehouse and distribution centers where it can be challenging to quickly find qualified workers. During this time, it is critically important to make sure that your business has the labor necessary to support demand, and that you do so efficiently—not at the mercy of severely marked-up rates.
While unfortunately, we cannot alter federal and state-level policy in a way that can restore non-essential business, LogicSource can support essential businesses in a time of need:
- LogicSource is working with our client partners to assure the availability of high-quality, qualified resources, to analyze base labor rates relative to the market, and negotiate better terms for labor markups with all of our current providers.
- Additionally, we continue to consolidate contingent labor spend with a smaller number of key providers to maximize negotiation leverage for our clients.
- We are actively reviewing all HR/staffing contracts for early contract extensions to take advantage of current market conditions.
At first glance, it’s easy to look at these labor demand challenges as “nice problems to have.” However, very few of these essential businesses were designed to operate under such extreme demand. They lack the resources and infrastructure to solve their problems. And while economic activity has slowed, the competitive landscape of the business world rages on. If one of these businesses cannot meet demand, another will, leaving the long-term existence of the business as endangered as their non-essential counterparts. Being able to connect needed talent to urgent opportunity on terms that can work for all stakeholders has been one of the most substantive ways LogicSource has been able to help businesses throughout the COVID crisis.
The sudden arrival of the Coronavirus led to a surge of demand for certain supplies like cleaning and sanitation chemicals while also creating demand for new items like cashier safety shields. Nearly all businesses that remain open urgently need gloves, wipes, and sanitizers to keep their customers and employees safe while they operate during the pandemic.
And these needs are not solely limited to those essential businesses. Some states are beginning a gradual reopening of their economy that will result in the demand for supplies to increase exponentially. Additionally, businesses deemed non-essential will need to take myriad precautions before opening their doors. They require floor-to-ceiling sanitation before the prospect of reopening can even be visited.
At LogicSource, we are doing all we can to help businesses track down these necessities and get back on-track to business as usual:
- In the opening days and weeks of the pandemic, LogicSource worked around the clock, teaming up with our preferred supplier partners to expedite the delivery of urgently needed supplies to our clients—all the while continuing to identify new suppliers to keep up with the requests and demand
- Pallets and truckloads of latex gloves, cavicade wipes, disinfectant and hand sanitizer on behalf of LogicSource, are feverishly crossing the country to get to the front lines, typically on the road and on the way within a day of the request
- We continue to plan for ‘life-after-COVID’, developing strategic partnerships with janitorial and cleaning services to meet the demand and immediate cleaning requirements for our client store reopenings
Once the storm clouds have passed, it’s our mission to make sure every business we engage with can mobilize and reopen in short order. That starts with getting stocked with supplies that are becoming more scarce by the day. It’s our unique privilege to be able to leverage our supplier network, and do our part to help heal and support the recovery of the American economy.
LogicSource was purpose-built to drive profit improvement for their clients through better buying. LogicSource focuses exclusively on the sourcing and procurement of goods and services not-for-resale, which typically represents 20% of a company’s revenue and the area of greatest spending inefficiency. Tested time and again in the marketplace, their proven engagement model builds profitable partnerships that achieve 4-15x ROI. Learn more at www.logicsource.com.
- Colin Gilmore – Director, Marketing
- Steven Schmitchel – Managing Partner, Client Solutions
- Sam Vail – Managing Partner, Growth
Tags: On Demand Resources, Supply Chain, Sourcing and Procurement, Labor, Supplies