Overall, 2019 hasn’t been that bad, maybe…


Let’s take a moment to review. What’s been the big standout for 2019? Here’s my list:

  • Tariffs
  • Truck driver shortage
  • Tariffs
  • Ecommerce challenges
  • Tariffs
  • IT challenges
  • Tariffs
  • Slow growth
  • Tariffs
  • Adjustments for the next generation of personnel
  • Tariffs

That’s a lot of stuff that’s been tossed at the supply chain and at the distributor in general. And yet here we are – despite all the negative stuff, we are making plans for the next year – cautiously but with optimism.

So, what are our plans for next year?

Well, for starters, we are tackling the nemesis for many distributors, especially the smaller ones – the whole ecommerce thing. That means a new website (yes, that includes ours…), shopping carts, online payments, functionality, and it has to look pretty too.
We’re looking at our inventory, what makes sense and what doesn’t. We’re looking at our work flow (as anyone at the Hartman warehouse will tell you, my favorite phrase is “linear and scalable”). Is our order fulfillment a linear one? If it is, then we all win. If not, then we waste valuable time and it’s money down the drain for both seller and buyer.
We’re also looking at sales. If we don’t have sales, we don’t have a company. Having a 70-year history is a good thing, but there’s a negative side and that is just doing the same thing we’ve always done. But 2020 is going to be a year where we look at that too. Does the old model still work? I think that’s a question every company with two or three generations worth of history has to ask – and answer – honestly.I think my head is going to pop off. Just saying.

Lastly, we are looking for ways to better serve our customers. Even though it’s my last thought, the reality is that it is our most important task. All the aforementioned affects our customers. Our goal for 2020 is to create an exceptional customer experience with exceptional service by improving in, well, just about everything.

We’ll get back to you this time next year and let you know if we succeeded.

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