Member Insights: Week 5 Pulse Survey Results on Impact of COVID-19

BY Sarah Jilbert and Brandin Bursa
5/12/2020 - COVID-19

We sent our fifth Weekly Pulse Survey to distributors and manufacturers on Friday, May 8th, to see a snapshot of the industry and how it’s changing week by week, in response to COVID-19.

Note that these results are not statistically significant but provide a general “pulse” of where the industry sits. 

The Weekly Pulse is a complement to our scientifically significant Monthly Sales TRENDS Reports.  Please contact Sarah if you’re interested in learning more about this report.

Distributor Snapshot (96 respondents):

Weekly Sales:

  • 39% of respondents reported their sales were down less than 20% compared to last week
  • 15% of respondents reported their sales were down 21-50% compared to last week
  • 0% of respondents reported their sales were down more than 50% compared to last week
  • 16% of respondents reported their sales were steady compared to last week
  • 12% of respondents reported their sales increased less than 10% compared to last week
  • 18% of respondents reported their sales increased more than 10% compared to last week

The table below shows how sales, compared to the prior week, have changed over the past four weeks. The week of 4/13 we had 8% of respondents see an increase in sales and now the week of 5/4 we see 30% of respondents indicate an increase in sales.

Screen Shot 2020-05-12 at 11.33.41 AM

Weekly Employment Changes:

  • 72% reported no employment changes this week
  • 1% have reduced employee compensation compared to 5% last week
  • 11% have reduced employees hours compared to 6% last week
  • 1% have laid off employees compared to 5% last week
  • 3% have furloughed employees compared to 6% last week
  • 6% have rehired employees compared to 3% last week
  • 9% have hired new employees, which was the same as last week

The table below shows how weekly employment changes have been trending since Week 1 of the Pulse Survey. The percentage of participants laying off employees has gone down from 13% in Week 1 to 1% in Week 5.

Screen Shot 2020-05-12 at 11.35.06 AMCustomers:

  • 57% of respondents stated that none of their customers have gone out of business. 18% responded that less than 5% of their customers have gone out of business, 1% responded that 20-30% of their customers have gone out of business and 24% claimed it’s too early to tell.
  • 62% of respondents have seen no recognizable change to customers paying performance this week. 34% have less than 15% of their customers extending payment schedules compared to 44% last week. About 4% responded that more than 15% of their customers are extending payment schedules.

Suppliers:

  • 53% of respondents indicated they have not experienced supply chain disruptions this week while 18% experienced parts disruptions (compared to 15% last week) and 25% experienced equipment disruptions (compared to 14% last week).
  • 47% of respondents have heard there will be no expected product shortages from suppliers. 39% expect product shortages, 9% expect prices to increase and 26% do not expect prices to increase.
  • 77% have not asked their supplier for extended terms, which compares to 65% last week. 18% have asked their supplier for extended terms and accommodated with no penalty (compared to 23% last week).

The table below shows how respondent’s requests for extended terms has changed over the past five weeks.

Screen Shot 2020-05-12 at 11.36.11 AM

Supplier Snapshot (22 respondents):

Weekly Sales:

  • 41% of respondents reported their sales were down less than 20% compared to last week
  • 23% of respondents reported their sales were down 21-50% compared to last week
  • 13% of respondents reported their sales were steady compared to last week
  • 23% of respondents reported their sales increased less than 10% compared to last week

The table below shows how sales, compared to the prior week, have changed over the past four weeks. The week of 4/13 we had 6% of respondents see an increase in sales and now the week of 5/4 we see 23% of respondents indicate an increase in sales.

Screen Shot 2020-05-12 at 11.37.07 AM

Weekly Employment Changes:

  • 55% reported no employment changes this week
  • 9% have reduced employee compensation compared to 8% last week
  • 23% have reduced employee hours compared to 10% last week
  • 9% have laid off employees compared to 6% last week
  • 13% have furloughed employees compared to 10% last week
  • 13% rehired new employees compared to 0% last week
  • 9% have hired new employees compared to 8% last week 

Customers:

  • 91% of respondents expect no issues meeting orders placed by distributors. 9% expect challenges meeting parts orders (compared to 10% last week) and 0% expect challenges meeting equipment orders (compared to 2% last week).
  • 36% of respondents have seen no change to customers paying performance. 59% reported that less than 15% of their customers are asking for extended payment terms (compared to 47% last week) and 5% reported that more than 15% of their customers are asking for extended terms.

Production Facilities:

For the first time in 5 weeks of tracking, we had our first week with ZERO production facilities closing as reported by respondents. This echoes a positive trend this week of increased sales and increased confidence in meeting distributor orders.

Optimism Index:

In a surprising turn, our Optimism Index fell to 68 from 71 last week. In the three weeks of tracking, average morale is at 69 out of 100.

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For questions about Pulse, or to join HARDI to participate in Pulse or the Monthly Sales TRENDS Reports contact: 

Wholesaler Account Manager, Sarah Jilbert at sjilbert@hardinet.org.
Supplier Account Manager, Brandin Bursa at bbursa@hardinet.org.