The Currie perspective on our current situation: expectations, a little history, and our commitment to you.
Bostonians are an interesting and unique population, as modeled by the great founding fathers of our country. This is where it all began—with a rich history of freedom and opportunity. We have determination, dedication, and permanence. To that, we hold fast and commit to holding a beacon for all. At this time, we are all about presence.
But a tragic part of that rich history remains still, with a crisis beginning in 1918 with the Spanish flu. Boston Public Health Commissioner Dr. William Woodward was forced to toe the line between decisions for the sake of public safety, and intense pressure from the business community. This must have been a most difficult position, that most of us would hope to never experience.
That same legacy, as that of 17th and 18th century Boston, is what Curie Management Consultants sees within all of our dealership clients. Our dealers have certainly stood the test of time, and so has the Currie Team. Currie is close to its Golden Anniversary—50 years. Most of our distribution business clients are into their third generation, and beyond. We have stood side by side through decades of change, not only in this country but all around the world. Together we have weathered the rising and ebbing of the economy; global social crises like the fall of the Berlin wall and the AIDS epidemic. Dealerships have endured through the World Wars and the, Vietnam, Korean, and Gulf Wars, among others, Today we see new and overwhelming waves of refugees seeking safety and asylum. And, together, we have refused to succumb to at least 13 recessions since the Great Depression. We are here to stay.
At a more pragmatic level, here’s what we’re doing to respond to COVID-19. Some Dealer Group Meetings have been cancelled at the request of the members, others are determinedly keeping it business as usual. Some on-site work has been cancelled, and others are reluctant to cancel considering the ambiguity facing the industrial equipment industry at this time. We are doing our best to accommodate the specific needs of each of our dealership clients.
First, we want all clients to know that we understand, and we care. Abundance of caution is the style for many business owners. For others, it is a reluctance to participate in an emotionally charged arena. Facts have been difficult to discern. We stand as present, and supportive to the needs of all. To adjust to this current international issue, we are prepared for any requests for on-line meetings. Next week, we have contractors coming to upgrade our conference room equipment and web cams. Robert Currie, President of the company, has temporarily suspended travel for the rest of March and April. This was a difficult decision, as this has been the way of Currie for two generations now, but we are expecting a return to normalcy very quickly.
Our associate, Jim Henderson, has shared these sources for you, and we have also been referring to them. The following websites, in our opinion, have good information:
- US Centers for Disease Control:CDC COVID-19 response website
- Department of Public Health: MA DPH COVID-19 response website
- McKinsey and Company:COVID-19 Implications for Business
- Harvard Business Review: 8 Questions Employers Should Ask About Coronavirus
Here in Worcester, we citizens consciously weave our lives together, so we can be present as a community. It feels to me like a return to village living, where everyone watches out for each other. We are at home in our neighborhood and in our city. Unfortunately, we are in a State of Emergency and we are restricted in our activities. Many of our friends and neighbors have had to leave their jobs and are without income right now. This includes members of my own household and the households of some other Currie employees. But we are committed to standing together. We will share supplies, encouragement, and money. Social distancing is painful for people like us, but we continue to support each other and pray together. Family members are still out shopping for food and supplies for our elderly neighbors. The public schools are closed but still providing meals for children in need, and we are helping to make sure they have transportation. This list goes on and I’m sure that your companies are facing this crisis in the same manner. Thus, we may see this as a crisis, but also within that crisis is the opportunity to serve.
As a business, we want our clients to expect the following:
- Increased activity on Basecamp. This is our virtual office at this time. Please post messages, share ideas and concerns, and stay together! You can change your notification setting to learn when there has been a post.
- Webinar calls for group work or to work with executive or management teams. As mentioned earlier, we are immediately investing the time and resources to make this happen now.
- The Currie team is standing by for you 24/7. Robin’s mobile phone is 781-223-6347. Clients are invited to call any time, day or night with any questions or concerns.
Here are some things we have brainstormed about for your companies. You may already be putting these practices in place, and perhaps you have some ideas to share with us.
- Technicians should wear medical grade gloves when working within control areas of a customer’s equipment. This includes the doors, seating, and steering areas of tractors, construction equipment, and forklifts; the handles of equipment that have no seating; the exterior of generators and compressors if they have been handled by others recently; and door handles and interiors on service vehicles that have been shared, even if by another associate at your company.
- Remind field service techs and aftermarket reps to practice social distancing. This is a difficult practice and feels dramatic to many, but it is prudent. Please avoid hand shaking.
- Tablets should be cleaned at the end of the day.
- Shop techs, foremen, managers, and others should bring clean clothes to work and should change their clothes before they leave work.
- Associates may want to wear medical grade gloves in this department—most are sharing keyboards, touching storage bins and drawers, and handing off parts to the technicians.
- Clean the electronics twice per day. There are many online articles that describe the best way to do this depending on your electronics.
Soon enough this problem will be behind us. But in respect to those who have been directly impacted, we must retain a solemn and dignified countenance. We pledge to hold compassion to those who others feel are panicking or overreacting. We are all doing our best, and will continue to do so.
Please contact us to let us know your thoughts and your needs in this difficult time. This moment is history is exactly in keeping with Bob Currie’s favorite Chinese proverb (or curse, as sometimes considered)—”may you live in interesting times”.
Robin P. Currie