ILMA Compoundings - April 2021 - 31

said, has been " reliable supply of raw
materials and packaging materials. "
The pandemic also disrupted
operations at lubricant manufacturers,
Witthuser noted. On the supply side,
Blaser prioritized reliability at the start
of the pandemic, looking toward Asian
and European suppliers to maintain
the flow of supplies. " We had the
highest priority to assemble and manufacture and serve our customers, " he
said. " That has served us very well. We
had no supply disruption whatsoever. "
Heightened transit times caused
by container imbalances have created
some turbulence in shipping, but with
patience, such issues are manageable as
difficulties rather than major obstacles.
" You increase the flow, " said Witthuser. " You put more eggs into your
basket. What else can you do? Because
of longer transit times, these eggs take
longer to transform into chickens. "
And like businesses worldwide,
lubricant manufacturers are adapting
internally to the trend of remote
meetings. Efficiencies in time and
travel expenses have become apparent, as people in different locations,
whether across states or international
boundaries, can share discussions over
documents and blueprints. Witthuser
envisions a hybrid post-pandemic
world, where initial meetings are held
in person but later meetings are scheduled on virtual platforms. The key to
success is adhering to the company's

core values, regardless of how communications take place.
" I keep communicating to our
troops that we still have the same value
proposition, " he said. " You just have
to find a different way to interact. "

Bouncing Back
Aerospace Lubricants anticipates
about 12 months from early 2021 to
return to pre-COVID-19 levels, said
Gates. Lessons learned for strategic
planning purposes land in the category
of business fundamentals. " We've
known the more diverse the end
use, the more financially stable the
company, " he said.
Planning for the post-COVID-19
world is " fairly simple, " said Witthuser. Lubricants suppliers must
be clear with their customers about
what they can supply, and they must
adjust as each segment of aerospace
starts to recover. Expect an uptick
on the defense and military side. In
commercial air travel, single-aisle jets
will return faster than twin-aisles, but
the sector could feel a hit from the
range of businesses and executives
now thinking twice about " whether I
really need to sit in a plane for a given
meeting, " he said.
" Ultimately, there will be a bounceback and growth again, but the
expectations and the curve of growth
has been flattened and has been
adjusted, " Witthuser said. " There was

a big dip, and it will take some time to
come back. "
Those lubricants manufacturers
offering diverse products and serving a
range of industries had an advantage,
he said. For them and all businesses,
the challenge going forward is adapting to changing circumstances.
" It's not the strategy itself but
the procedures that have changed, "
said Witthuser. " The what has not
changed. The how we do things had
to be tweaked and will be tweaked
moving forward. "
Some analysts have been surprised
at the ability of airlines to stay afloat,
noted Aboulafia. Vaccines offer the
way toward a relatively rapid recovery.
Will additional federal PPP funds
arrive to help keep people at their
posts? Only time will tell, but the
second half of the year could see
" fantastic recovery numbers, " he
added, driven in part by the release
of pent-up demand for getaways and
record-high savings rates.
" There's a lot of cash being held
primarily by people with money, "
said Aboulafia. " The wealthier part of
the traveling public has a lot of cash
they've been socking away. "
A lot depends on putting the virus
in the rearview mirror, but for airline
suppliers such as lubricant manufacturers, Aboulafia sees hope in the
immediate recovery period. Amid
sudden collapse, airlines destocked,
but they will soon need to restock.
" The cupboard is bare when the
good times return, " said Aboulafia. " In
other words, you have the mother of
all recoveries, not just with plane utilization, but also with restocking your
warehouses. If you like wild mood
swings when it comes to aftermarket
in lubricants and whatever else is
associated with aircraft demand, you'll
probably see that. "
McCormick is a Pennsylvania-based
freelance writer.

31



ILMA Compoundings - April 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ILMA Compoundings - April 2021

ILMA Compoundings - April 2021 - Cover1
ILMA Compoundings - April 2021 - Cover2
ILMA Compoundings - April 2021 - 1
ILMA Compoundings - April 2021 - 2
ILMA Compoundings - April 2021 - 3
ILMA Compoundings - April 2021 - 4
ILMA Compoundings - April 2021 - 5
ILMA Compoundings - April 2021 - 6
ILMA Compoundings - April 2021 - 7
ILMA Compoundings - April 2021 - 8
ILMA Compoundings - April 2021 - 9
ILMA Compoundings - April 2021 - 10
ILMA Compoundings - April 2021 - 11
ILMA Compoundings - April 2021 - 12
ILMA Compoundings - April 2021 - 13
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