In our third “Candid Through Crisis” series Q&A, SkuVault co-founder and CEO, Andy Eastes tells us what steps he and his company have taken to offer support to clients, as well as ways he is ensuring a positive work environment for employees.
How is your company supporting companies and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic?
We launched an emergency client network, where clients can sign up for the network and receive a personal call to identify their needs surrounding staffing or supply issues. We have retailers, suppliers, and third party logistics warehouses in our base, so we are able to connect them with another client who can help. We are also doing a lot of emergency training to enable companies to ship out at “higher than peak” demand if they are not used to doing it.
What are the challenges that companies could be facing during times like this and how can your company offer support?
We have many clients that are running into staffing issues. They can not get enough staff in the warehouse to handle the demand. We can connect these clients with trusted 3PL’s that are in the SkuVault network with trusted on-time shipping metrics. We also have clients that are having supply issues. We can connect them with suppliers in our network who are not having stock issues and are in their product category. Many of our customers are simply facing a large increase in demand or have switched their fulfillment from a third party setup, like Amazon FBA, and are now fulfilling out of their own warehouse, which they may not be set up for, at volume. This requires a quick process setup and a good system to ensure speed and accuracy, so we have been doing a lot of emergency setup and training sessions.
How are you managing a remote team?
Communication, clarity, communication. We are striving to be very clear and communicative. This means we are utilizing software to stay connected and providing context to company goals, visions, and projects at a higher frequency than we had been doing in the past. Our leaders are also ensuring plenty of touch points and constantly checking in on teammates.
What areas do you predict entrepreneurship will flourish following the pandemic?
There will likely be a lot of long term changes coming out of this, specifically in my world, e-commerce. We are already seeing companies starting long term projects to make their supply chains more resilient, and software can definitely help here.
I also imagine, in many industries, there are fresh new problems and inefficiencies that need to be solved. This is a great time for entrepreneurs, fresh and veteran, to show up with new solutions.
What have you learned during this experience that makes you a better entrepreneur?
I have learned that high uncertainty has a tendency to make people lean towards extreme reactive decisions. This can lead to efforts that may not be the best long term decision. For us, it became an exercise in balancing our long term proactive plans, and what we wanted to do for our immediate reactive plans. In the end, we accomplished both in a better way, since we were able to pause, evaluate, and then make sound decisions.
How can the community support you?
The community can support us by continuing to be supportive of small businesses however they can during these times.