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Distributor's Link Magazine Summer 2020 / Vol 43 No3


40 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK Jim Truesdell James Truesdell is President of Brauer Supply Company, a distributor of specialty fasteners, insulation, air filtration, and air conditioning with headquarters in St. Louis. Mr. Truesdell is adjunct professor at Saint Louis University and Webster University. An attorney and frequently published writer, he is the author of “Total Quality Management: Reports From the Front Lines”. SMALL BUSINESS AFTER THE PANDEMIC Small business owners have been right there on the front lines of managing the pandemic shutdown. Either closing their doors and doing their best to keep their workforces paid and ready to return, or continuing to operate their “essential” business with social distancing protocols ranging from locked doors and curbside delivery to the establishment of remote work procedures put together that will keep their businesses afloat and alive. It is a situation unlike any previously experienced. It is different from the financial collapse in 2008 but with probably similar ramifications for the potential healthy survival of these enterprises. One day this will be over, but we all suspect that things will not quite be the same. People are starting to pontificate over how business, and the world, will change in the months and years to come. Some of the predictions are totally at variance with each other. Some see a continued resurgence of nationalism and countries turning inward to limit travel and personal interaction with foreign trade. This would be an intensification of the trends that were already emerging with protective tariffs and pullbacks from international treaties and organizations. There are others, however, who see a return to globalization as people will see the need for the world as a whole to come forward to fight problems like a virus which does not respect borders or nationalities. They envision a call for more powerful and effective international organizations to monitor and control these types of situations. What Are The Lessons Learned By Small Business Owners And Managers? [1] Working off premises is certainly possible for CONTRIBUTOR ARTICLE some jobs that do not involve physical handling of product or delivery in the supply chain. Since companies were forced to adapt to this in recent months it will probably be difficult to turn a deaf ear to the millennial worker who demonstrated he or she could do their job effectively and who wishes to continue what has been proven to work. Of course this has not been proven for many jobs and many workers. But...some can. [2] There may be more tolerance of government intervention in the economy and in regulation of business. Clearly we have seen some problems that can only seem to be addressed by government. Witness the enactment of the CARES Act and other emergency measures to keep the economy and businesses going. [3] Pressure for paid sick leave and paid family leave will increase as people perceive how weeks or months without a paycheck can cripple their family finances. [4] We may see attempts to soften the political polarization which has characterized our government and society. The continued rabid partisanship in the midst of a national emergency has made many Americans conclude this has all gone far enough and it is time to demand that the parties find a way to work together. CONTINUED ON PAGE 116


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