In this pandemic, sometimes, it seems like a tale of two cities. But our member companies up in Canada face the same problems U.S. companies confront every day. That’s why we sat down with Kim Long last week to see how she and her company Reprodux are faring during the unusual times we’re all living through.
Kim Long, CEO of Reprodux, sits at the helm, guiding 12 offices scattered across Ontario, Canada. She said at first, they “pulled back” and for a few weeks it was quiet. They were able to cut approximately 65 percent of their staff without being penalized because the labor laws are different in Canada.
Then slowly but surely, she was able to formulate her plan for getting her offices back up and running. While there is a subsidy for workers, labor laws can be difficult. She kept playing with her model of how she was going to open her offices while being safe about it and keeping everyone healthy. Some are working from home; others go into the office. So, while she’s running her business with fewer employees, she’s designed it so everyone can do, well just about everything!
Cross-training is the key to her agility. An ability to shuffle people to different offices while cutting back made a difference. Someone might run a printer one day and make deliveries the next day. Managers might manage one day but run a cutter the following day. It all depends on what she needs to accomplish. Kim also has a backup plan if there’s another shut down. If people get sick in one branch, she can rotate her staff who work from home into that office to take care of business. Kim says, “We’re doing okay, but we don’t want this to go on too much longer.”
When asked what kind of business is keeping her branch offices open, here’s what she said:
- At first, COVID-19 signage and everything that goes with it kept her busy, but that’s fading.
- What’s working for her is construction business, wide-format printing. Since most businesses are shut down or working from home, she’s finding construction professionals need wide format plans printed and delivered to their homes.
- Other business that’s picking up include scanning and customized window and wall graphics.
- Anyone can print, Kim says. What they offer is the service that goes with it. That’s why she has rock-solid loyalty from her customers. So, her repeat business is consistent. Most of her clients are long-term.
- Service is how they keep the doors open. And if they’re not delivering the final product, they’re checking in with clients to make sure their needs are met.
We also asked Kim, what does the RSA mean to her during these particularly interesting times.
- She said, “The support is why I’m here.” Kim said she found the information sharing and bi-weekly calls were so important to her.
- What’s even better she said, is when she asked different people how they handled situations—and most had different answers—that’s how she made decisions that affected her business. Different perspectives helped her look at the whole situation from all angles.
- Best of all, Kim said she received great ideas—particularly curbside pickup from Luci Miller at Miller IDS. And she was able to obtain temperature kiosks from Mark Langdon to monitor her employee’s temperatures. Plus, she’s working with Kevin Anderson in Cl
- eveland to pitch new business.
So for Kim Long in Ontario, it’s all about agility, planning and staying open to new ideas. That’s how you survive a pandemic and take your business to a level that shows your resilience as a company.