EFFECTS OF THE CORONAVIRUS ON A SMALL BUSINESS - DAY 18 (03/04/2020)
Day 18 at Contact Left since the COVID-19 has started having an effect on us, as the days of uncertainty merge into one we continue to pick and pack orders with at least 50% of our staff off and turnover no worse than this time last year.
Its 2 weeks since a lot of businesses have either had to close or chose to close, we are affected by both the shops we supply and the suppliers who we buy from. Today I went with having the Sodapup Dog toys we distribute to pet shops being shipped to us by sea. I am not sure how long this will take but it will still cost a little more than airfreight would have cost us 5 weeks ago. The margins we make selling to trade is very small so we need to make sure that we get these items into us as cheap as possible and into the shops at the best possible price. For anyone that hasn’t seen the Sodapup toys, Google them and they are without a doubt the best dog toys on the market but if I can’t get them over here and into the shops it won’t do us or the brand much good.
The first load of the 500ml Hand Sanitiser turned up today and we fulfilled a few thousand bottles of orders, mainly the 50ml going to a new Police force we are supplying too and 80% of retail orders fulfilled. The fabric orders are increasing with more buckles and fabrics being sold than ever before; with the reduced staff Rob is still cutting materials after the post has picked up today. We are well aware that a lot of these materials will be used for orders for serving military and Police and unlike the previous 2 weeks we will have people in tomorrow to catch up with the backlog.
Normally nobody wants to work weekends but with the nightmare of staying at home coupled with were most of our products are destined for its no problem getting people to work right now, we will only have a skeleton staff in to ease some of the backlog though.
Sean has been working tirelessly as ever and the head of manufacturing smiles as I ask for samples of this or that while trying to make more masks in between confirmed orders and teaching other members of staff. Everyone is doing this under the constant worry of being at work and the possibility of catching coronavirus themselves, whether it be of one of us at work or a delivery driver or even one of the police that turn up. Also while I am bouncing about trying to generate orders or get stock in everyone else has the worry of if I don’t get the orders in, will they still have a job. Right at this minute there is no possibility of anyone losing their job long term even if more people have to be furloughed.
What we are doing now is working twice as hard to stay static, we are still getting and fulfilling orders to the Police and MoD and getting most of the materials out on time. Some trade orders we are struggling with but will catch up over the weekend and early next week. What gives me more hope than anything else is that if we are able to do this now with a depleted work force once we get out of this COVID-19 nightmare we should be able to build and grow even further.
Hope everybody has a pleasant Friday night I am going to crack open a beer, stay safe David