The majority of frontline workers are ready to go to work and have been putting together a herculean-like effort as a result. Really, the entire industry has stepped up in a big way that proves itself worthy of the reputation it’s earned among the entire cleaning supply chain — from manufacturer to end user.

“I’ve been particularly proud of the industry’s response,” says Todd Hopkins, the 2020 president of BSCAI and the founder and CEO of Office Pride Commercial Cleaning Services, Palm Harbor, Florida. “I’ve never seen so many people work together as quickly as they have.”

Hopkins has not only seen this successful response through the association for which he presides, but he’s also seen it from Office Pride’s franchisees. For example, in mid-March he and 4M held a town hall meeting with franchisees to discuss practices during the tough times. He came away impressed by how quickly and effectively communication was taking place throughout the company and how patience won over panic.

“I would say decision making has happened at a very rapid pace,” says Hopkins. “We have a spirit of working together — franchisees, employees, vendors and customers. We focus on a solution.”

Strong decision making during fast-paced work has done a lot to drive business for BSCs as the spread of COVID-19 pandemic continues. However, in an almost ironic way, the successes occurring now — coupled with issues outside of the industry’s control — could end up hurting BSCs.

Rapid, increased business is great, provided what’s needed to keep the work going is there. Unfortunately for BSCs, it’s entirely possible that the coronavirus that has them running ragged will also dry up the supply chain.

When reports were coming in that the coronavirus could rapidly begin spreading in the United States, some BSCs worked to get ahead of the situation by ordering more supplies. Others have been able to rely on the reserves they had. However, as COVID-19 cases began to rise, so did the concern that there could be a lack of essential items.

“The supply chain is extremely stressed right now,” says Lazorik. “Our distributors [were telling us weeks ago] that manufacturers aren’t promising deliveries before May. Depending on how much demand increases, that’s a potentially frightening situation.”

Crain says 4M ran out of hand sanitizer quickly, just like everyone else in the country. Hopkins says disinfectant supplies believed to work against COVID-19 were in supply, but started to run out fast, too. Everyone appeared to be most concerned about certain items in particular: PPE.

“Everyone is short on PPE,” says Hopkins. “Masks, safety’s getting directed to hospitals. And we understand that, but the cleaning contractors need their supply chains freed up so we can safely prevent the spread of coronavirus with proper cleaning and disinfecting services.”

It’s not just other industries with which BSCs have to compete for limited supplies. In any situation of shortage, the long-time customers are going to be serviced first.

“Suppliers are really going to take care of those companies that have been loyal in their purchasing and paying of invoices,” says Segura.

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