This is an excerpt of the letter I sent out yesterday to our customers. I am sure you have received many letters from CEO’s of major corporations. Bottom line: Everyone is telling the same message: Stay safe, wash your hands, social distance and get through this. As Larry David would say, “I guess people didn’t stay safe and wash their hands before this crisis.”
Each day we are living in unprecedented times with an unpredictable future. This reminds me of a recent book I read, The Pioneers by David McCullough. McCullough tells the story on how a few heroic pioneers decided to leave the safety of the thirteen colonies in 1788 and head west to explore and develop new parts of America. The area he focused on was Ohio and you learn how Columbus, Cincinnati and the Ohio River became crucial to the rest of America being developed.
What you really learn about were the hardships these pioneers faced from clearing land, to finding food and shelter, to walking thousands of miles with horses and limited supplies to get to Ohio. Many died in their efforts but their efforts and deaths helped to make America what it is today.
America is not short on stories like this one. There are numerous events in our short history that have brought us down to our knees from the Civil War, World Wars I & II, the great depression, the oil embargo of 1973, and most recently, 9/11/2001 and the 2008 financial bust. In every instance, America has emerged stronger and better. This time around will be no different.
However right now we are in the moment and have to do the best we can. In my past 35 years, I have never witnessed supply chain issues like we are having now. If Amazon who has more than 175 distribution centers is out of stock of key items, then you know the rest of the story.
With the exception of gloves and masks, virtually all items in demand are made in the U.S.A. The problem is with consolidation over the past twenty years, there are typically no more than three companies that manufacture more than 80% of the products. So while Procter & Gamble is running their factories full time to make Bounty and Charmin, they are limited to factory production just as Kimberly Clark and Georgia Pacific. Same with hand sanitizer, Clorox makes more than 80% through its Purell brand and can only make so much.
Then the question becomes, which of their customers get goods first? Is it Walmart, Amazon, Kroger, Costco or ???? What about the independent stores? The dollar stores? The government? Commercial and industrial?
Our factories are running full time too. But what happens when a factory has a worker infected with the virus? The factory has to shut down. This has happened to many factories, including bottle companies and silk-screen printers. In times like this, you do what you have to do.
The other issue is raw materials that make things like alcohol, soap and cleaners are in short supply and manufacturers of these materials are raising prices daily. We have experienced many price increases and we are trying our best to hold prices.
We have deliveries of MULTI-CIDE and CITRUS-CIDE arriving weekly along with shipments of gloves from China. Another item that is selling out is foil sheets.
In closing, staying safe and healthy is everyone’s primary focus. Our industry is resilient and we need to take a leadership position no different than the healthcare industry in maintaining the strictest guidelines for cleanliness. THE INDUSTRY SOURCE is your partner in making this happen. Feel free to email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In a rare interview with a civilian, President Donald J. Trump (Trump) spent a few minutes with me on March 12 to answer questions about the COVID-19 virus as he was talking up his new incredible spa update at his Mar a Lago resort.
Larry: It was great to see you on live TV last night to assure the American people in the face of this terrible situation with the COVID-19 virus. Can you highlight your key message?
Trump: We’re going to take care of this Larry. My key message is that we are moving very quickly, and for the vast majority of Americans, the risk is very, very low. And I want to add, young and healthy people can expect to recover fully and quickly if they should get the virus.
Larry: That is amazing and good thing that you are young. I have a lot of readers that sent me a list of questions to ask you and I hope you can answer them truthfully.
Trump: Believe me, I’m not stupid, a loser or a moron. This is a tremendous opportunity to Make America Great Again and you’ll see soon enough. What are your questions?
Larry: Before I start with my reader’s questions, I have one question for you. Since the world has never experienced anything like the COVID-19 since the Spanish Flu in 1919, who are you relying on for your information to make intelligent answers?
Trump: Great question. Larry David and I go way back, in fact, he wanted me to be a guest on his Seinfeld show but thought it was a step down from The Apprentice. Of all my friends and confidants, I trust Larry the most. In fact, I gave him one of my caps for his latest season on HBO.
Larry: I love Larry David too and his latest season is one of his best. By the way, do you like your coffee hot?
Trump: Larry’s a great guy and I love my coffee hot, hot, hot just like my women.
Larry: OK, first question is are you concerned that you fired the U.S. Pandemic Response Team in 2018 to cut costs and now this happened?
Trump: Listen, we’re talking about a lot of money, billions and billions. Who would have known this would have happened?
Larry: Now going back to February 25, let me quote you just to make sure nothing is being taken out of context. Referring to the actual virus from China, you stated, “Now they have it, they have studied it, they know very much, in fact, we’re very close to a vaccine.” You also stated, “The virus is very under control in our country.” So where is the vaccine?
Trump: Believe me, we are close, very close. They assured me it would be here by now. I met the director at the CDC, and he’s a great guy.
Larry: Now going back to February 26, let me quote you again, “U.S. containment of the virus is close to airtight.” If that was true, why are college campuses cancelling all live classes and holding sporting events without fans?
Trump: You know Larry, I depend on my team to give me the best information, after all, I am the President of the U.S.A. I remember that, and yes, the person who told me that was a moron and I fired him.
Larry: Now going back to February 27, let me quote you, “# of U.S. cases is going very substantially down, not up.” If that was the case why did the NBA cancel all its remaining games of the season and why are concerts and major events being cancelled all over the country?
Trump: To tell you the truth, this whole thing is the media’s problem. If they didn’t report every single case of when someone comes down with the virus, we wouldn’t have this pandemic. Believe me, more than 500,000 people die of the flu each year, this is no big deal.
Larry: So now that Biden has the Democratic nomination all but locked up and that you are running for a second term, one of my readers has a question about your quote back in February 28, “This is the Democrat’s new hoax,” in reference to the virus. How do you explain that?
Trump: Fake news, you’ll find out when this is all done.
Larry: I want to thank you for your time and candid responses to my questions. What are your plans this weekend to help calm the American people, reassure Wall St. and Make America Great Again?
Trump: Larry David and I will be playing 36 holes at Mar a Lago and we will come up with a plan that will knock everyone’s socks off Monday morning. This will be tremendous, biggest thing I have ever done as President of the U.S.A.
Larry: One last question, what if the CDC recommends you shut the country down like Italy did?
Trump: My personal chefs have stockpiled the best caviar; our freezers are stuffed with lobster and wagyu hamburger patties, and I have the best simulated Top Golf set up so I am all set.