REAL ISSUES. REAL ANSWERS: The Winter Slowdown

“Replacement of personal by attrition is done in spring. Voluntary layoffs and reductions of hours are other methods. Otherwise, it is full steam ahead, including bi-monthly training and roundtable sessions with contractors and staff.”

“We are adjusting some of our inventory but not any of the sales force, yard help or drivers.”

“We trim our summer drivers and warehouse staff, and cut out all unnecessary expenses. We do lots of training, both internally and externally. We do our strategic planning for the coming year, and use profits set aside from the previous year to cover first quarter expenses. We look to sell anything to anyone.”

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“Full steam ahead….”

“No changes. We use the time to spruce up other areas.”

“This year will be full steam ahead.”

“Due to attrition, we are already running lean in the yard. So sales people are also helping pull orders. We will not be replacing anybody until spring. After Thanksgiving is when we see a downturn. We typically start cutting back on material purchases right around then.”

“Our contractors are good about putting off jobs that can be done in the winter. Shingles in the summer, steel in the winter, or get their houses enclosed so they can do inside work in the winter. Maybe sell a cabinet job in the winter, that’s huge.”

“We lower inventory levels to reflect lower sales, while adding winter supplies like salt, shovels, etc. Don’t cut sales force or staff. Use them on special projects and to get everything ready for next season.”

“We cut out any unnecessary overtime pay to reduce payroll. We also closely watch our inventory purchasing. We end up moving a lot of product between locations to keep minimal stock levels.”

“There is one thing that slower sales does help with and that is the opportunity to work on customer relations. During the hustle of the building season, the contractor doesn’t have a lot of time to talk about future plans and new products that we’ve added.”

“We reduce staffing hours, most hourly workers are reduced from 40 hours to 30 or less. We will requalify this year for state unemployment, shared work, to offset the hourly reductions.”

“Our company is reducing inventory to an as-needed basis for certain items. Also, we decreased staff last winter and did not replace them.”

“Business looks strong through the rest of the year and into 2015.”