If you look at the informed resources there is nothing to show that things will go back to normal come January,” said Michael Marks, Indian River Consulting Group, during a presentation given yesterday to attendees of the World Millwork Alliance’s annual conference—being held virtually this year.

While that may seem like a depressing thought, he really was just pointing out all the change that’s occurred and will continue to take place. In fact, Marks pointed out that COVID-19 has “accelerated everything.”

We made five years of progress in a few months,” he said, referring to increased demand and in some cases, a forced entry into the digital world.

The distributors are reinventing business models and changing the value proposition,” he added. “All these changes keep creating more and more change and people are trying to figure it out.”

Marks explained that as an industry enters a downturn, distributors generate extra cash.

As this economy comes back [and you have a very good 2021] people are going to run out of working capital,” said Marks. “There will be a lot of disruption to be sensitive to.”

His main message included ensuring companies are ready for those major changes still to come.

If you sit and wait to see what others are doing, then emulate that, you are putting yourself on the back half of that [forthcoming] innovation,” he pointed out. “You can’t just sit and watch. You have to invest.”

You are in a very interesting industry right now,” he added. “Housing will come back a lot faster than other industries.” Though, he did predict a “giant amount of foreclosures” on the horizon.

Other advice from Marks included studying other leaders, and getting entire executive teams involved. He shared the most popular initiatives of leading distributors, and told companies to pick the one that would have the biggest financial impact on their companies.

Find the one that will move the needle for you the most,” he said. These include: digital transformation; sales transformation; becoming analytically driven; and talent management.

Where do you make the most mistakes? What do you apologize for the most?” he asked. “Go make improvements there.”

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