Specialty Fabrics Review August 2020 - 38

Pivot but stay focused on core competencies

RON HOULE
FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT
PIVOT STEP CONSULTANTS LLC
BURKE, VA.

The question now
is, how do you taper
back to what your core
competency had been
and producing those
kinds of products versus
PPE, especially if you
can't do both? Pivoting
back will be more art
than science.

It's an advantage for fabricators if
they are able to pivot away from
their core competencies. Most all of these
[companies] were in some way only two
or three degrees removed from being able
to produce masks or gowns. It was a pivot
they could make, and hopefully keep their
business afloat even if it was not as robust
a revenue stream as before. It keeps their
people employed, teaches them new skills,
and that's always good for a workforce."

PIVOTING HAS
PROS AND CONS
"The drawback, especially in the early
days, is that you're so focused on the
supply side that it's hard to also have an
eye on the demand side-and even if you
have one, being able to find some reliable
outlets or customers. Everybody thought
that might be easy to do, but the small or
medium companies have found it harder
than they thought. They just didn't
have the relationships in those kinds of
communities already established. It's been
a lot harder to find revenue opportunities
or sales channels once they became
competent at producing PPE."

PIVOT FROM PPE
TO THE FUTURE
"The question now is, how do you taper
back to what your core competency
had been and producing those kinds of
products versus PPE, especially if you can't
do both? Pivoting back will be more art
than science. I think there are some simple
ways to get a sense of the downturn for
the demands in PPE. First would be to
remain current on the transition phases
for states. Second would be to get a sense
of market saturation with online searches
for products similar to yours. Third, you
could reach out to your local Chamber of
Commerce and get a sense of what local
companies are doing and the protection
measures in place, or even the readiness
measures they are taking for a similar
event in the future."
Jeff Moravec is a freelance writer
from Minneapolis, Minn.

REACHING OUT

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on Houle, founder and president of Pivot Step Consultants LLC, Burke,
Va., encourages businesses to reach out to the community by donating
products to neighbors and performing little acts of kindness. He says this
is a win-win for the community and a company's employees.
"The workforce feels better about itself and better about the company, and
the community appreciates their corporate citizens. Companies can pivot
to make masks or other things, but what else can you do as a company?
Is there a cause or a need in the community that requires some volunteer
efforts or manpower, or some other resources? This is an opportunity for
a company and workforce to get experience with community service where
maybe they normally wouldn't, and that opportunity may not come back,
at least for a long time."

38 REVIEW AUGUST 2020

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7/21/20 4:46 PM


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Specialty Fabrics Review August 2020

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