Suppliers: a hearty thanks for the status quo

Jan. 1, 2020
Unless you are a “crisis junkie” and thrive on a diet of constant chaos, a little “status quo” isn’t such a bad thing every once in a while.

Unless you are a “crisis junkie” and thrive on a diet of constant chaos, a little “status quo” isn’t such a bad thing every once in a while. It can offer you the opportunity to regroup and the time needed to reorganize. More than that, it can provide you with a chance to focus your attention where it is most needed.

We’re going through such a period here at the shop now. Ours is a family business and my father, who is also my best friend and has been my business partner for almost 38 years, has been fighting a post-surgical staph infection that developed after a triple by-pass that almost took him from us. He’s been in the hospital for eight weeks and is likely to remain there for at least another month or so as he continues to recuperate. That has left us one person short on the service counter and another short in the office as my mother, our bookkeeper, spends most of her day at the hospital by his side. 

Finding yourself alone at the helm of a vessel that normally requires a crew of three to keep it on course and running smoothly is not the place you want to be when seas are fierce and problems are constant. That’s when a little status quo can be a welcome relief. But, that isn’t likely to happen without a significant investment in people, policies and procedures. It isn’t likely to happen if you fail to have people onboard who are both willing and able to meet whatever challenges are required to keep the boat afloat or world-class support back at the docks to help you maintain your supply line or to keep you on course.

We’re lucky to have both: perhaps the best crew we’ve ever had and a group of world-class suppliers who have seemingly done everything they could to help us get through this very difficult period. Not only have they kept the stream of parts and supplies we need to operate flowing — they’ve been there for us emotionally as well, which is, I suppose, the natural result of strong personal relationships that go back more than 30 years in some cases.

Status quo can be defined as “an existing state of affairs,” and I imagine this is my chance to thank my suppliers publicly for an existing state of affairs that is both powerful and positive, as well as for their care and concern, their diligence and their ability to perform in a difficult environment under less than ideal circumstances. They continue to do an impossible job and for the most part, they do it exceptionally well, too often without the recognition and appreciation they really deserve.

It is also an opportunity to publicly thank you for all you have done and continue to do for the tens of thousands of shops across the nation just like mine. It may seem like no one is watching or that too often no one cares, but I can tell you from my own personal experience your efforts rarely go unnoticed. The majority of us know that we cannot succeed without the positive kind of status quo you can, and very often do, provide –– and it doesn’t always take a crisis to make that clear.

Mitch Schneider is co-owner of Schneider’s Auto Repair, Inc., Simi Valley, Calif., and is an ASE Master Technician.

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