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Distributor's Link Magazine Fall 2020 / Vol 43 No 4

48 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S

48 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK Robert Footlik Robert B. Footlik, PE is a retired Professional Industrial Engineer. With over 50 years’ experience as a Warehouse and Logistics Consultant to a wide variety of clients including Fastener Distributors, Bob has a wealth of valuable information for our industry and he is willing to share it. While Footlik & Associates is now closed, his expertise is still available to his friends and our readers. For friendly advice, a second opinion or just to start a conversation, he can be reached at robert@footlik.net. AS THE WORLD CHANGES AROUND YOU My articles in the Spring and Summer issues of this magazine covered some of the people considerations of your business, especially the warehouse where fitness and mental health are the key factors in keeping property and people safe. Then Covid-19 hit. At this point there are thousands of articles, tips and contradictory advisories regarding things to do, or not do, to insure that the workspace is “safe.” There is no need to add to this overload because the truth is that no one really knows enough to formulate real solutions. Anyone who claims to be an “Expert” probably isn’t. There are huge political ramifications in turning a relatively routine epidemic into a Pandemic and then taking it to the higher level of a “Panic-demic.” One has only to look at the history of Yugoslavia since 1995 to see some frightening parallels. The November elections will be pivotal in terms of taking the United States and ultimately the world in some totally new direction. And my crystal ball just turned into a “Magic 8-Ball” and now shows “Maybe.” But in the meantime you and your company need to provide some truly essential services to stay in business and rebuild a world economy that has been devastated by political malfeasance, media irresponsibility and malevolent agendas as well as disease. Fasteners really do hold the world together and as companies resume production your role is more vital than ever. CONTRIBUTOR ARTICLE The world of distribution and logistics fancifully called “The Supply Chain” has radically changed and your marketing, warehouse and operations will need to change with it. The Lockdown accelerated these changes exponentially and what was an upward trend became almost vertical overnight as everyone turned to online ordering for both needs and wants. Amazon has expanded massively to meet these demands and now sets a very high standard for rapid, on time, reliable delivery and this has been done in ways you cannot meet…no matter how hard you try going head to head. But independent Fastener Distributors can still leverage their core strengths to stay viable and even prosper. Changes in the Marketplace That You Can Use Effectively People everywhere have now been fully trained to use any reasonably competent online ordering process. Thanks to Amazon and others personal purchases using the Internet are now commonplace and at the very least you need to reevaluate your internal and external Internet and order processing just to keep up with competition. Is it simple, easy to use and most importantly are you providing the information that customers need? There are major differences between consumer purchasing errors and business to business purchases that can potentially shut down a production line. CONTINUED ON PAGE 128

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