From the President
I am writing this under a state stay-at-home order due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you would have told me two months ago that this would be happening, I would not have believed it. This situation seemingly formed out of thin air, causing thousands of illnesses in North America and grinding our booming economy to a screeching halt. Sales in the U.S. and Canada dropped sharply, ending our march toward 8 percent growth for the fiscal year. The dramatic downturn highlighted the importance of diversification for the strength of the company. While consumer sales fell, our business in the wind and international markets was not hit as hard.
Our efforts through multiple areas of business are carrying us through, and it seems at this point sales have stabilized in consumer markets. Only time will tell. I am confident that business will return to normal and we will regain positive momentum; I just don’t know when. I am also confident that we will continue pursuing viable paths of diversification to further strengthen the company.
Despite the obvious negative effects of the COVID crisis, there are several positive items to note. First, AMSOIL is a strong company. This situation highlighted the efficiencies in our systems and the strength of our leadership team. Just weeks ago, certain employees were incapable of working from home due to technical requirements of their jobs. When the pandemic struck, we acted quickly and developed solutions allowing most AMSOIL team members to work remotely. Our IT team’s dogged pursuit of solutions and extra effort to install remote workstations were outstanding.
Facilitating work-from-home capabilities was one of many precautionary measures taken to ensure the health and safety of our team. We also distributed hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes throughout our facilities and instituted thrice-daily wipedowns of high-contact areas like doors and light switches.
Meanwhile, we cross-trained staff from a variety of areas to ensure crucial functions throughout the company were covered. Employees from the Mechanical Lab pitched in with Maintenance and the Chemical Lab. Many office personnel jumped into roles in Production and Distribution. Team members from Dealer Sales, Tech Services and Communications trained to take orders by phone if necessary. Everyone stepped up and pulled together to take care of the business, our Dealers and our customers.
I am very proud of the AMSOIL team and the job everyone has done during this unprecedented event. While we did not predict this pandemic, it helped that we were strengthening our business continuity plans prior to the crisis. There are other things we must be prepared to mitigate, like storms, fire, cybersecurity threats and active shooter situations. We have always been prepared and effectively managed through fire (Wichita DC), severe weather (hurricanes and bomb cyclones) and many other situations in the past, but we are now designing upgraded plans based on ISO 22301 and ISO 27001 standards for business continuity, disaster recovery and cybersecurity. These systems will further strengthen the company and our ability to serve you and our customers should anything like this occur again.
Our ability to maintain operations despite severe challenges is important for many reasons aside from the detrimental effects a shutdown would have on our business. AMSOIL is an essential supplier to critical manufacturing suppliers as defined by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). Our products are relied upon by public and private utility companies, hospitals, fire departments, police departments and other vital businesses and industries. Our customers are depending on us to meet their lubricant needs during these challenging times, and we must deliver.
As an independent Dealer, you may or may not receive the same exemption AMSOIL corporate received during these mass shutdowns, but you play an important role in the continuity of our mutual business regardless. Some of you may be laid off from your full-time jobs during the pandemic and relying more on your AMSOIL businesses for financial support. We are here for you and we are doing everything we can to stimulate business. We are in good shape to continue serving you and your customers for the foreseeable future.
Above all, I wish you and your families good health and safety during these uncertain times. Please ensure you’ve taken precautionary measures of your own to protect yourselves. We will emerge from this together and I expect AMSOIL will be stronger than ever.