New survey shows ASA members pivoting out of COVID-19
Economic uncertainty, employee morale and customers going out of business are greatest challenges going forward.
The fourth and final COVID-19 impact survey conducted by American Supply Association business intelligence partner Industry Insights shows member respondents are making strides in a number of categories as the industry emerges from the throws of the pandemic.
When asked about current operating status, 88.9% of ASA member respondents to the survey say they are at 90-100% operational, while 8.9% put themselves in the 75-89% category.
Continuing on with questions in the “Impact” category of the survey, 42.2% of ASA respondents say stay at home and social distancing measures currently in effect in most areas are “very necessary,” while 31.1% say “somewhat necessary” and 22.2% say “somewhat unnecessary.”
Only 24.4% of ASA respondents the survey report employees with confirmed cases of the virus. When asked about the concerns of company long-term viability due to COVID-19, 42.2% of respondents had no concerns, while 40% had only mild concerns.
The 42.2% no-concern number is in contrast to the 33% number of all respondents to the Industry Insights survey, which encompasses 20 of its client associations from various industries.
A total of 1,328 surveys were received. Two-thirds of ASA respondents report having experienced delays in getting materials/products from suppliers due to the virus. For those that answered yes, 44.4% report delays in the 1-3-week category with supplier lead times, while 33.3% report delays less than a week and 11.1% report lead-time truancies of more than three weeks.
Only 35.6% of ASA member respondents to the final survey have had to furlough, lay off or terminate employees since March 1. For those in the affirmative category, 16.3% fall into the 75th percentile of that measurement, while 12.9% are in the average range, while 10% fall into the median. A total of 62.5% of respondents say they have already hired back or plan to hire back recently furloughed/laid-off employees. Twenty-five percent report they are not sure yet.
When asked about the Paycheck Protection Program that is part of the CARES Act, 73.3% of ASA respondents say they did receive funds for a loan through the program. Twenty percent of respondents did not apply.
Respondents were then asked as the stay-at-home orders have started to lift for much of the nation, what are their top three challenges their companies are facing related to the pandemic? Nearly four of five respondents (77.8%) say economic uncertainty, followed by employee morale (53.3%) and customers going out of business (36.4%).
Other top vote-getters for this question include external communications (28.9%), employee safety (26.7%) and managing overall safety requirements/regulations (20%).
In terms of when do companies anticipate day-to-day operations returning to pre-COVID-19 levels, 27.3% of ASA respondents say two to three months from now, while 25% say four to six months and 18.2% say 1-2 months. A total of 25% of ASA respondents say either seven to 12 months from now or one to two years from now (11.4%).
Survey respondents also were asked how soon they anticipate their companies returning to pre-COVID-19 activities in a variety of categories. For in office workforce for most employees, 34.1% of ASA respondents says return in one to three months, while 29.6% say immediately return to working in the office.
For domestic company travel, 46.5% of ASA respondents say resume in one to three months, while a combined 28% say either four to six months or seven to 12 months (both registered 14%).
And finally, when asked about participation in large group activities such as conferences, events and exhibits, 31.1% of ASA respondents say resume in 4 to 6 months, while that same 31.1% total say resume in 7 to 12 months. Nearly 18% say resume in one to three months, while nearly 16% say resume in a year or longer.
The survey from the ASA side of things is comprised of 64.4% distributors, while manufacturers make up 24.4% of the sample size. One-third of ASA respondents have 100 to 499 employees, while 20% have 50 to 99 employees.
When asked about percentage of employees working remotely a year ago, 46.7% of ASA respondents had between 1 and 20% of employees working that way, while 44.4% had none. A year later as of April 1, 37.8% fall into the 1-20% category, while 33.3% fall into the 21-50% category, while only 13.3% of respondents had no remote employees as of April 1 of this year. A total of 44.4% of ASA respondents say between 1-20% of their employees will work remotely the remainder of 2020, while 24.4% say 21-50% will continue remotely through the end of the year.