2020 in the Rearview: One Small Business’s Journey through Unprecedented Times

This year has been the ultimate test of Kaser Blasting & Coatings’ agility.

I say this with a great deal of sobriety, knowing that 2020 was exceptionally fatal to both humans and businesses. This holiday season (more than any other in my lifetime) has a certain weight about it: amplified gratitude for what good fortune we did experience, combined with a very visceral sense of the devastation wrought by a global pandemic.

To those who inquired about how Kaser Blasting & Coatings was weathering the storm, thank you for your concern. We were among the lucky ones.

I’ll start with the bad. There was a season of real uncertainty, in late spring and early summer, when a few of our larger industrial customers shut down production – some for a week, others for a month. The unusual lull in our workload caused me to confront questions no manager ever wants to ask: how long can we sustain this “new normal,” and what happens next?

We felt the effects of Covid on the shop floor as well. Between health scares, quarantined employees, and delayed equipment and powder deliveries, we fell behind a few times. The powder coating schedule has never undergone more last-minute revisions than it did this year. I’m grateful to all of the customers who showed grace in those moments.

Despite all of this, when I look back on 2020, the good far outweighs the bad.

Kaser Blasting & Coatings works with a number of manufacturers that were deemed essential, which, in turn, meant we were able to stay open. As our industrial customers resumed production, so did we, and our year-end rush felt very normal. I was even able to schedule some overtime for my team ahead of the holiday break.

Instead of despairing and sending everyone home early, we used the quieter days to cross-train. Team members who quarantined came back healthy and highly motivated to make up for lost time. Kaser employees are heading into 2021 more skilled, well-rounded, and competent than ever.

2020 taught me the value of maintaining good communication with my customers. I was reaching out constantly to ask about production schedules, knowing that when things started back up, we’d be facing a deluge of urgent projects that we had to be ready for. I plan to take this habit with me into the future – Covid or not, the more proactively I communicate with industrial clients, the more prepared my team can be to receive the work.

In summary: not only did Kaser survive, but we found ways to thrive. We communicated through our challenges, and learned to adjust the shop schedule – and our expectations – on a dime. We’ve never been more agile, or more prepared for the future. Thank you for your support.

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