You¡¯re Not Just Essential, But Absolutely Irreplaceable
Finding the silver lining in the COVID-19 outbreak is not an easy task. Though service centers and processors have rightfully been determined to be essential businesses in most locations, many, if not all, have seen reduced business levels due to shutdowns or slowdowns from producers and customers.
Steel and aluminum mills throughout North America have been announcing idlings in response to the crisis, a condition reflective of the declining levels of demand from the metals supply chain.
The economy, which had been chugging along for more than a decade, has run headlong into a likely contraction that seemed far in the distance less than two months ago. The R-word question has shifted suddenly from ¡°When?¡± to ¡°How long?¡± and companies are taking steps to gird themselves against the effects of a downturn. Any other approach is foolhardy.
Even in areas where the worst of the outbreak has peaked and the potential exists to ¡°reopen¡± things, the threat of a new surge will be ever-present in the minds of government officials and business leaders. Without a vaccine, which likely remains up to a year in the distance, COVID-19 will continue to hover over the globe.
So where can we look for inspiration? Fortunately, right here, in our community of U.S. manufacturers and distributors.
Enterprising individuals and businesses throughout the industrial supply chain have stepped up to answer the call in myriad ways, through the manufacture of medical equipment to supply individuals on the front lines of the fight to personal protection devices for first responders and other emergency personnel. In many cases, innovative companies have transformed on the fly to serve the sudden needs of their local communities, states or even the world. You can read about a few of those efforts in this issue and on our website.
These companies and business leaders and simple individual tinkerers remind us yet again of not just the value, but the utter irreplaceability, of Americans who make things. We simply can¡¯t live without the collection of people and enterprises that can see a problem in the early stages, design a solution and respond quickly to ramp up production. I may be thoroughly expendable. You are not.
Likewise, as we witness the devastating sight of crops set ablaze in one location while folks go without food in another, we recognize just how necessary smooth, intelligently designed and properly functioning supply chains are to our nation¡¯s well-being. The ability to stock and efficiently distribute commodities and niche products alike is imperative.
The crucial role of manufacturing and distribution in the health of the world has never been more clear. Thank you for your service, and may God keep you and your valuable employees safe as you continue to carry out your essential functions for the rest of us.