The ongoing Covid 19 Pandemic is impacting the performance industry in a very bad extreme way. Some companies have completely shut down and are not even taking calls or answering emails. Some have laid off a good number of employees and slashed budgets, unfortunately this has tended to be with personnel and programs for companies we work with. A few have gone out of business already! It’s hard, people are losing livelihoods and people like us have projects and editorial stalled, we can’t get parts, no one is answering phones or returning email or messages. Racing has stopped. Fortunately many companies are weathering the storm well and are still providing great customer service and are still getting stuff out the door. I happend to be talking to Daryl Sampson the Director of Marketing at Turn 14 Distribution about another subject and I was venting to him about how the pandemic was negatively affecting MotoIQ. Daryl then filled me on on how Turn 14 was handling things and it so impressed me that I pressed him for more details and I decided to write this article on how business in disasters should be conducted.
Turn 14 has alway made a big impression on me. If you didn’t know, Turn 14 is one of the largest WD’s of performance parts in this country. Turn 14 has always impressed me with their state of the art logistics and back end technology that makes ordering super easy and seamless. If you are a seasoned industry pro, you know how things often don’t go well when dealing with multiple performance parts suppliers. Turn 14 has always made this less painful.
I was amazed that Turn 14 had procedures on what to do in large scale emergencies and sudden severe economic down turns. Every aspect from employee levels and hours needed to the progression of cost cutting measures is laid out in documented step by step procedures in corporate policy. If things go bad in the world, there will be no panic or bad decisions at Turn 14, just the implementations of carefully considered plans. The steps are progressive and logical with emphasis placed on company survival, employee protection, preservation of jobs, burden sharing, supplier concessions and the providing of best possible customer service.
Employees are Important
Nowadays companies treat people like disposable commodities. Things like cost cutting during the smallest downturn are often done quickly and poorly with layoffs disregarding the uniqueness of a brand and tribal knowledge that key employees have. Turn 14 tries to avoid this in their pre planning. The plan stresses that shareholders and upper management will be asked to make the same sacrifices as the employees or perhaps make greater ones to lead by example. The austerity measures start with wage and hiring freezes, inventory control, for favorable supplier payment terms and fixed cost control. Furloughs and Layoffs are the very last thing to be considered. The employees well being is stressed and equal sharing of hardships among all is as well. I was very impressed with these procedures, they were logical and humane, a far cry from other companies, particularly large public corporations that have bought out much of the racing industry. In this case I have seen pell mell, shoot from the hip, knee jerk layoffs of entire critical departments in response to this pandemic. Of course implementing any disaster plan is not pleasant and no one will be happy but the Turn 14 plan is carefully thought out, logical and ethical.