The New Year brings hope for a return to some normalcy. Our industry has experienced big highs and deep lows and companies steered through to keep their businesses strong. Our recent survey revealed that some manufacturers had one of their best years in sales, while others did not. Change was around every corner followed by uncertainty and then there were increased costs, supply chain challenges and people’s health to consider.
In an industry that already felt the strain from a skilled labour shortage, it still managed to deliver even with all the added responsibilities and costs. We saw a year where at times politics were put aside and governments worked collaboratively, but relationships with our largest trading partner became fragile. We prepared budgets, rewrote budgets and now in 2021, we will probably have to do it all again as the vaccine rolls out. But with that companies will face more ethical decisions managing employees who choose to get vaccinated and those who do not.
While its daunting to think about all that has transpired and continues to unfold, there has been one constant that I have seen because I monitor industry talk through many sources including business experts, government and their agencies, the media, social media and conversation with members.
That constant is that the industry cares.
In an age where customers are looking at the ethics and soul of a company or organization before they purchase, caring has become even more important. It’s not that companies never used to care and now suddenly they do, it’s more that good words in times of adversity are welcomed and now more than ever speaking to what matters has become increasingly important. I can tell you that from where I sit, hearing the news and challenges our members face is worrisome. But hearing stories of how companies have responded injects a welcomed sense of optimism. While we have collected more dents and bruises the past year, it’s clear that creativity, sincerity and transparency will keep us strong for the future.
Do what you believe is right
You do not have to look very far to see some excellent examples of companies that care. One new member yesterday told me they chose to close their shop for seven weeks when COVID-19 first hit. Why? Because their customers are an older demographic and they genuinely were concerned about the well being of their clients. The closure hurt the company as you can imagine, but they have no regrets. The owner said: “It was the right thing to do to protect our clients.”
Some companies continued to pay medical benefits for staff laid off and have since purchased additional medical insurance through CKCA’s medical benefit plan, which added the telemedicine feature. While this was an additional benefits expense to the employer, they still did it to provide more support to their employees.
A daily dose of optimism
Other companies broadcast on social media and echo company values and how these values come through in the products they sell, giving customers piece of mind that they are in good hands with a company that cares about its client base. If you ever want to be inspired, follow CKCA members on social media and read their thoughtful messages. Get your daily dose of optimism there!
Giving your time
The CKCA board members, who are all busy in their own businesses and face the same challenges that everyone else faces, still make time and volunteer for CKCA. Like most businesses, CKCA has pivoted to continue bringing value and support to the industry. The board has remained committed to the organization as they juggle priorities of their own business and the business of CKCA. Many companies are involved in charitable and not for profit organizations and without their support, organizations like CKCA would not exist. So, thank you!
One member’s website dedicated an entire section to “caring” and when you click through the link in that section, you will find a plethora of information to help their customers, their dealers and their community cope through COVID-19. We all know how difficult it can be to take all the information we have and compress it into a website, and to dedicate an entire section to caring speaks volumes to the integrity and sincerity of this company. Check it out at www.decorcabinets.com/decor-cares
Another member chose to get CKCA certification in 2020, even though it was a particularly challenging year. They still were compelled to “take the trust and confidence our clients already have and amplify that to the next level by having CKCA certification to demonstrate this.” We would like to again congratulate MCK Kitchen and Bath for achieving this milestone.
I hope these examples instill pride for the great work you do in the industry. Speak up about what your company cares about, what you value and tell your customers and potential customers. Everyone needs to hear good news, including your customers and it can set you apart from your competition.
On behalf of the CKCA, we wish you great success in 2021 and remember – Who Cares about Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers? – WE DO!
Not a CKCA member? Join us at www.ckca.ca