Representor Fall 2020 - Marketing Group Digest

Fall 2020 – Marketing Group Digest

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COMPONENTS – An optimistic viewpoint

Bob Evans, CPMR
EK Micro
Rolling Meadows, Ill.

As of this writing, the ERA Conference Committee has announced that the annual conference will be all-virtual. Hopes that we would be able to reconvene in Austin, Texas, in February 2021 finally were extinguished. It was, I am certain, a difficult and heart-wrenching decision by the committee.

So many decisions are being influenced by the cloud of the pandemic, both on personal and professional levels. As we enter the fourth quarter of this year — the third quarter in which the COVID-19 virus has affected all of us in one way or another — we are still learning how to adapt to the current business conditions.

Those of us that carry a “glass-half-full” attitude, will find ways to make this work. So much evidence of this has already been obvious to me as I look at our ERA brethren and the companies we represent. Folks are finding ways to make this work, learning new ways to communicate and build relationships.

But what is to come?

Despite the virus, life goes on, as does manufacturing. After a dismal second quarter this year, many indicators are trending upward. In an online TTI MarketEYE Resource Center article, Walt D. Custer reported good news from the August 2020 Purchasing Manager’s Index, “For the U.S., both the ISM and IHS Markit PMIs are above 50.” Anything above 50 is considered positive, especially given the current environment. In the September 2020 issue of Electronics Sourcing, ECIA Chief Analyst Dale Ford reported, “Electronics components revenues in the first half of 2020 were much more solid than originally feared and reasonable expectations for the second half remain.”

So, perhaps the world is not quite ready to come to an end. If component supplies can remain stable and the automotive electronics industry continues to improve along the lines evident in medical and computer/data processing electronics, we should see some momentum going into 2021. If, in fact, the pandemic does come under control sometime in 2021, as some experts have predicted, we may see a bountiful market next year. Stay tuned, stay optimistic.

MATERIALS, ASSEMBLY, PRODUCTION & SUPPLY – Reflecting on lessons learned and contemplating about the future

Troy Gunnin
Sun Rep
Tampa, Fla.

To say that 2020 has been a most unusual year would be a gross understatement. As I write this, I’m looking at five tropical disturbances on the map. The gulf coast is prepping for perhaps another visit from Mother Nature in the form of a hurricane. There are too many wildfires on the West Coast to count. The destruction and lost lives are beyond comprehension. The level of civil unrest is inexcusable. And, of course the total disruption of our lives and livelihood by COVID-19 has been the most devastating occurrence in recent memory.

Because of the pandemic, I’m writing this at my desk in my home office, where I have spent an inordinate amount of time over the past six months. As I do so, I’m reflecting on lessons learned and contemplating where do we go from here.

I look at this from two points of view. First, it has made us take a step back and evaluate what is important. Friends, family and health are much more important than the size of the commission check. When we are able to return to somewhat normal activity, we can grow the commission check, but we can’t replace those friends and family and without the health, we can’t bring those commission checks back. Hopefully, we have learned from this and continue to put emphasis on the important things in life.

Secondly, looking forward, we must use what we have learned and what we can expect to see in the coming months and beyond to our advantage. We have learned to use technology to a greater advantage and more quickly than we would have under “normal” conditions. As we are able to return to more face-to-face sales calls, we can still use the expertise we have gained to be much more productive on a day-to-day basis and perhaps make the “in-person” visits more meaningful.

I mentioned that I was writing this column from my home office … I’m sure that all of us have spent a lot of time in that environment. Moving forward, that may be the norm, rather than the exception. I suspect that many of us find that we work pretty efficiently in this mode. We also may find that we work longer hours and at weird times. I find myself answering and sending emails at times that would not happen from the office.

While there are advantages in working in a home-office setting, there are disadvantages as well. Probably the thing I miss the most is the interaction with others in the office and the on-the-spot exchange of ideas and decisions. Going forward, I trust that we can encompass the best of both worlds and grow from this most unusual time in our lives.