The HARDI member spotlight serves as a regular feature through which the association management highlights standout individuals in the HVACR industry and their companies. For our April Member Spotlight, we spoke with Oscar Lopez, Vice President of Sales for JB Industries. We highlight Oscar for helping JB Industries navigate the Coronavirus pandemic and giving HARDI insights into how we can help support our supplier members.
VP of Sales
I see you have been with JB Industries for 13 years, what has been your favorite part of working for JB?
There are many “favorite” parts about working with JB. But if I had to put my finger on a big one it would be the people: ownership, co-workers, industry colleagues, and customers. JB Industries has been a once in a lifetime match for me and has allowed me to work with all of my “friends” while fulfilling my professional needs.
These are unprecedented times we are currently in. How has JB industries had to adapt?
We have an amazing network of wholesale customers and were able to get input on what their needs would be early on. The biggest focus centered on maintaining our level of service uninterrupted. Of course, this has been a moving target changing by the hour. Very challenging for all. We also communicated with other industry manufacturers and evaluated many potential disruptions that we could face which helped us in our plans and preparation. We cancelled all travel for our employees and made some internal changes to how our manufacturing facility and office building interact, while also making sure we made segregation, work spacing, and sanitation a focus of all employees. Our main goal was to protect all of our employees as much as we could and still be able to satisfy our customer’s needs. As a manufacturer of Made in the USA products, we have the unique ability to take significant and immediate steps to protect our supply chain and make sure we don’t interrupt our ability to deliver product in a timely basis.
As VP of Sales, how has COVID-19 changed processes for yourself and your sales team? (Travel, working from home, changes in distributors’ and contractors’ daily operations, etc.)
As I mentioned before all travel was cancelled immediately after we saw the ability of the virus to spread. Our direct sales force has been isolated at home, other than trips to the store, for over 3 weeks now. This is the first time in 30 years I have been home for this long as a sales manager in our industry, and I have to say I miss seeing customers. We have instituted a weekly call with management to make sure we are informed of any developments at our manufacturing facility, new products, inventory, orders, etc. We are also taking this time to better align each one of our territories, salespeople and sales reps with JB’s long/mid/short term plans. In addition, we are structuring new procedures in account planning so that our salespeople can hit the ground sprinting as soon as restrictions loosen up a little and we are allowed to travel again as we will see a tremendous need for training and branch support this summer.
What long term affects do you foresee COVID-19 having on the industry?
Difficult to answer until we know how long this will last. Our country has an amazing ability to recover, we have very hard-working people with big hearts in our industry that will help overcome this hurdle. We at JB are continuing with our plans hoping that this is a temporary interruption that will improve over the summer. It will certainly hurt as there are significant losses in income by very large segments of our society. The only saving grace is that the need for cooling is not going anywhere so as an industry, we will be affected much less than others. One additional side effect could be the adoption or increase use of virtual meetings and remote work by our Industry’s workforce after being forced to implement because of the virus.
What is one grocery store item you can’t live without?
I am sure many will make fun of this when they read it but bananas. I have two every morning. They are sometimes tough to find on the road so if anyone sees me at a HARDI event bananas are much more appreciated than a drink at the bar.
You can check out our previous Member Spotlight posts here.
To nominate a member for a future Member Spotlight, contact Emily Frost at firstname.lastname@example.org.