This time last year, businesses were facing operational disruptions, and in many cases, full closures. Now, one year into the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re catching up with companies to get their thoughts on the last 12 months and outlooks on what’s to come.
When chatter first started concerning COVID-19, Ryan Moor, CEO of Ryonet, says he knew T-shirts would be in trouble if shutdowns and event and school cancellations continued.
“No one needs a T-shirt in a pandemic,” he states. “We immediately started thinking about other things we could make or screen printers would need. We found some opportunities with medical equipment and the eco-friendly Allmade Allmask.”
Although it was a challenging year, Moor says the market came back quicker than he expected. From print shops pivoting their print offerings and selling PPE to launching fundraisers for local businesses and catering to the direct-to-consumer model via eCommerce and fulfillment, many in the industry found a way to pull through.
Moor says with many unemployed and looking for new ways to make money, Ryonet saw an uptick in startups. The extra time made for the perfect opportunity for individuals to start a “side hustle” and bring “new life and ideas to the industry.”
In addition to helping customers getting started in screen printing and dipping its toes into medical equipment, Ryonet also made some operational changes.
“Even with PPE sales, PPP support, and the startup business, we needed to make our overall business more efficient,” he states. “We shut down three contract facilities and consolidated into two internal facilities fairly quickly as well as streamlined the products and services we offer to simplify the complexity. After the year was over, we were more lean and efficient than we have ever been, allowing us to reinvest to our products, team, and most importantly, customers!”
Looking at then versus now, Moor says the industry, and the world, are in a different place. Remote is the new normal, and it’s a good time to shine the light on website and customer fulfillment, as well as innovation.
Moor says, “This was a great reminder to be scrappy,” and one of the great lessons the business learned was that it controls its own destiny.
“You can do with a lot less than you think. Relationships are so important,” he states. “Huge shout out to our vendors Nortech Graphics, BBC Manufacturing, Action Engineering, SAATI, and Achitex Minerva Group for working with us through all of this!”
Although 2021 started with a “shaky transition of power” and some extreme weather, Moor says with spring comes new opportunities as businesses receive additional rounds of PPP and begin to make a comeback.
“It will be those who think differently about it, not the old way of doing things, but creative, new, fast, and smart, that will plant their seeds in the most fertile ground and reap the largest harvests,” he concludes.