June 11, 2019

I Bet You Sure Are Happy We Have a Strong Economy

By Paul Bieber

After all, a rising tide lifts all ships. There are not many glass companies going out of business and I see many being sold at prices that are astounding. Hip, hip hooray for our industry and for glass people. After many, many years of being busy, what is next? Easy question. The economy will continue to grow or it won’t. There is no thought of a middle ground. Choices are up or down.

Politics is not going to answer this question. I am not endorsing or damning our incumbent or supporting a challenger. Now what? There is no one who can predict tomorrow or six months from now. You will read about some economist or business leader who does get the prediction correct, but with thousands of economists, someone will get it right. The issue, really, is what are you going to do?

Easy, keep the work coming in, train new people and enjoy the good times. But in the back of your mind, you must prepare for a downturn. If it doesn’t occur, so much the better. But I am guessing it will. So what do you do?

It is time to pay off your leases on equipment, cut down on the monthly payments you have and start a savings account for the business. It is time to extend current leases on trucks and cars rather than turning them over every two years. It is time to look at what you spend on everything at your company. This should not be hard as I am guessing that most of you sign the checks for your company. If you are not an owner, study the cash flow from your department and make suggestions to the owner on how to spend less.

The absolute last thing on my list would be to lay off staff. Unless you have a weak person. And if you have a weak person, don’t wait for a downturn. Make a decision now to hire a better person as soon as possible. For after every downturn, there is an upturn and you will need your qualified people.

Is it time to buy a building rather than continue a lease? I would wait for the downturn as real estate prices will fall. But keep feeding that savings account so you have the cash to buy the perfect building for your needs. Should you expand your current building? If it is a question of needing the space, then do it. Real estate always rebounds and a bigger building can’t hurt you if pay for it rather than taking out a bigger bank loan. Just watch the utility usage and other fixed costs; don’t forget about real estate taxes either.

So, here is to the good times in our industry. May they continue.