Survey Shows ASA Members Pivoting Out of Pandemic
Economic uncertainty, employee morale, and customers going out of business biggest challenges going forward
ITASCA, Ill. — The fourth and final COVID-19 impact survey conducted by American Supply Association (ASA) 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 percent of ASA member respondents to the survey say they are at 90-100 percent operational, while 8.9 percent put themselves in the 75-89 percent category.
Continuing on with questions in the “Impact” category of the survey, 42.2 percent of ASA respondents say stay-at-home and social distancing measures currently in effect in most areas are “very necessary,” while 31.1 percent say “somewhat necessary” and 22.2 percent say “somewhat unnecessary.”
Only 24.4 percent 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 percent of respondents had no concerns, while 40 percent had only mild concerns. The 42.2 percent no-concern number is in contrast to the 33 percent 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 percent report delays in the one-to-three-week category with supplier lead times, while 33.3 percent report delays less than a week and 11.1 percent report lead-time truancies of more than three weeks.
Only 35.6 percent 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 percent fall into the 75th percentile of that measurement, while 12.9 percent are in the average range, while 10 percent fall into the median.
When asked about the Paycheck Protection Program that is part of the CARES Act, 73.3 percent 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 percent) say economic uncertainty, followed by employee morale (53.3 percent), and customers going out of business (36.4 percent). Other top vote-getters for this question include external communications (28.9 percent), employee safety (26.7 percent), and managing overall safety requirements/regulations (20 percent).
In terms of when companies anticipate day-to-day operations returning to pre-COVID-19 levels, 27.3 percent of ASA respondents say two to three months from now, while 25 percent say four to six months and 18.2 percent say one to two months. A total of 25 percent of ASA respondents say either seven to 12 months from now or one to two years from now (11.4 percent).
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 percent of ASA respondents says return in one to three months, while 29.6 percent say immediately return to working in the office.
For domestic company travel, 46.5 percent of ASA respondents say resume in one to three months, while a combined 28 percent say either four to six months or seven to 12 months (both registered 14 percent).
And finally, when asked about participation in large group activities such as conferences, events and exhibits, 31.1 percent of ASA respondents say resume in 4 to 6 months, while that same 31.1 percent total say resume in 7 to 12 months. Nearly 18 percent say resume in one to three months, while nearly 16 percent say resume in a year or longer.
The survey from the ASA side of things is comprised of 64.4 percent distributors, while manufacturers make up 24.4 percent of the sample size. One-third of ASA respondents have 100 to 499 employees, while 20 percent have 50 to 99 employees.
When asked about percentage of employees working remotely a year ago, 46.7 percent of ASA respondents had between 1 and 20 percent of employees working that way, while 44.4 percent had none. A year later as of April 1, 37.8 percent fall into the 1-20 percent category, while 33.3 percent fall into the 21-50 percent category, while only 13.3 percent of respondents had no remote employees as of April 1 of this year. A total of 44.4 percent of ASA respondents say between 1-20 percent of their employees will work remotely the remainder of 2020, while 24.4 percent say 21-50 percent will continue remotely through the end of the year.