Staying dependable when the chips are down

Recent Torque newsletters have been littered with stories of acquisitions and businesses joining forces and it is probably no surprise that many in the industry are reaching out to one another during unprecedented disruption.

Good associations have been proving their worth by ramping up support for their members, while shows have been leaning heavily on supporters and even former rivals as they step forward beyond the lockdown.

But whether it is coronavirus, unpredictable exchange rates or nickel prices, businesses continue to need to look beyond the challenges they are in the midst of, and keep an eye on what is looming on the horizon, all while keeping their business on course to be what, and where, they wish them to be.

For instance, environmental concerns could easily have been jettisoned while business has buckled down to handle the lockdown, but some firms have seemingly used the opportunity to double down on their commitments for sustainability.

Products have continued to be launched. Services have been modified. Shows have adapted to virtual spaces or been surprisingly nimble in terms of switching their dates, sometimes several times over.

Consolidation, acquisition and the selling off of parts of the business which do not fit with revised strategies are not coronavirus-exclusive events, of course. But perhaps the current situation has pushed some of these moves forward faster than they otherwise would have happened.

Dependability is one of the core requirements of any wholesaler or distributor, to maintain at least some degree of business as usual even in the direst of times (and with half the staff on furlough). Being adaptable in addition is no mean feat, and it is testament to many fastener and tool businesses that they have managed to deftly tread that tightrope under trying circumstances.

Jonathon Harker