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Just Ramblin’: Once More Into the Breach

By Art Penchansky

“Once more into the breach, dear friends, once more,” Shakespeare, Henry V (about 400 years old, but who’s counting). It still holds its meaning today, dear friends, as we all assess our positions in the industry, whether it be client by client, product by product, location by location, or issue by issue (me).

Art Penchansky
Art Penchansky

The heck with the stock market that’s been bouncing up and down like it’s being dribbled in a basketball game. Despite what my friends on the Liberal side of the dividing aisle say, most important indicators give us the opinion that the economy is strong and most predictions are that 2019 will be a lucrative year.

Still, distributors and contractors must get a handle on the direction of the industry, and one way to start is to do a business plan for the year. This will at least give you an idea of how you think business will perform and what your part in it will be. If you haven’t done one before, you might look back at the December 2018 issue of The Insider, and the front-page article will give you a start.

Obviously, you must get an idea of construction in your area. Residential and light commercial projections are available, repairs and replacements must be calculated, and all the other categories of a plan must be calculated and finalized. Everything is up for grabs, and you must track true numbers versus your plan and make corrections to the situation; that’s why it’s called a plan.

Oddly enough, while I was a consultant in England in 1970-71, I l earned that the company I was working for prepared their plan at the beginning of the year and then never reviewed it again until the year was up, to determine how far they missed the projections. This was compared to the projections we made which were reviewed and updated monthly. In the final analysis we were closer to actual by over 35%. Our plan, reviewed monthly, saved inventory costs and brought us closer to the concept of “just-in-time.” The next year they used our method. After faster computers became available, I understand they started doing the review and adjustments weekly.

And may your troubles last as long as your New Year’s resolutions, like my diet which has already been destroyed.

Sincerely, Art.

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