I was absolutely fascinated to hear people saying, “Gosh I can’t wait for 2021!” with great enthusiasm just before Christmas. I kept wondering what was going to magically change in a matter of weeks when the clocks struck midnight on New Year’s day. Was the year of isolation and seriously tough situations going to just simply disappear in a puff of smoke as “normalcy” was restored once again like some kind of bad dream?
The only things that changed for sure were the actual numerals as we moved from 2020 to 2021. The rest of the “topsy turvy” stop-start non-rhythmical journey just continued.
Chatting to a few clients only weeks into the new year, it appears that Covid 19 and politicians continue to play “whack a mole” with us as if in a drawn-out bad soap-opera (we wish that’s all it was!)
I feel that this year will be a “hurry up and wait” version. Looking at the onset, supply is going to be a concern. Shipping companies are consolidating their routes and as such instead of making fewer stops, they are adding a whole lot more onto their journey. This means that merchandise may take a lot longer to get to its destination and then there’s still the mayhem they call customs and a further waiting period to clear your products there.
On top of this, the powers that be claim there is a major container shortage. (I’m not sure they have been to the container depot lately in Durban, where there appears to be thousands of containers logjammed on the quayside …) while export goods await loading at various harbours globally. The shippers are now apparently asking for US $1000 to pre-book each and every container. It seems that monetary greed, along with demand, has its ‘greedy paws’ in this segment of the commercial market as well.
So, it seems it would be wise to ensure you don’t get down to the last sheet of abrasive paper or tin of paint before ordering fresh stock. Make sure to use the programmes on offer from your various suppliers to ensure stock is maintained at the levels needed. Stocktake as often as possible to ensure the smoothest path forward. It was during the years of conscription that the term “hurry up and wait” was coined. When called to attention, you would hurry to the gathering point and wait to be given instructions. Mostly there was a lot shouting and noise as these instructions were dispersed. Often you were none the wiser of the objective or long-term goal once these actions were taken, but you had to follow orders… and then some. I think this describes our world at the moment in a few simple words. There are rules that make little sense, but you need to follow. Noise and confusion abounds, and the best way forward to ensure good health and happiness (with very little guidance, if any), must be relied upon.
How do you stay sane and ahead of the game? Keep a sound mind and two feet on the ground by praying for wisdom and then gaining knowledge by reading up on everything. Look at flexible business practises that are working for others. Speak to colleagues in the industry to see what they have learnt and how you might be able to help each other. This may fly in the face of old business mindsets but truly, together is the only way forward if we are to make it to the other side. It’s with a heavy heart that I’ve watched the majority of media – who are supposed to be watchdogs on the public’s behalf – turn into propaganda puppets in the last while. Make sure to use various sources when researching, especially online. The original numbers for Covid 19 were made into mountains with great gusto until everyone grew tired of the nonsense. Sadly, now the latest onslaught of the virus has not been taken anywhere seriously enough – while numbers have simply become names from our past. And still no one reports the brilliant numbers or recoveries!
We were always trained to read the same story in different newspapers and publications and see each one’s slant about the same topic and then make your own decision. This is just as important regarding the pandemic. This gathering of information will enable you to make the best decision going forward for your needs. Only you can make the best choices for yourself, your family and business. Knowledge is truly power so make sure to strive for a balanced perspective to give you the best outcome. And so 2020 taught us patience, to remain open-minded and to look for opportunities. 2021 looks to turn us into the most flexible version of ourselves – heck, we might just be full time yoga instructors at the end of this one! (Hence the cartoon above). As ever remain positive in your heart and mind. Keep a robust sense of humour and take each day as it comes. Make a plan, then two or even three more as back-ups. Communication is key throughout. Whether it’s keeping staff abreast of new ways of operating and training right through to financial dealings, always keep the doors of communication open. Remember, it’s not how we start, it’s how we finish that counts.
In this issue
This magazine has a training and ADAS focus. Enjoy finding out about various training facilities nationwide, what they have achieved so far and what their plans are for the future. Andrew Marsh, our top technical guru, asks what’s in it for you when it comes to ADAS? PG Glass have expanded their ADAS offering. Take a look at their plans to expand this programme and their progress so far.
By Claire Macfie