Adapt, Improvise, Overcome

December 2021

 
 
Kevin Henderson

You may have heard some whispers that there are supply chain issues plaguing our vendors, and by extension, Lone Star Communications


We have a mantra in the Marines; Adapt, Improvise, and Overcome.


The genesis of that becoming an “unofficial” way of life in the Marine Corps is that the Marines often must do more with less and continue to fight in the chaos of combat. We have the least amount of money, resources, and gear – but we are expected to continue to be the tip of the spear, bring the fight to the enemy no matter the clime or place.


That’s where we are right now with all our vendors struggling to provide the parts, connectors, panels, needed for us to Make Our Communities Safer. It has been a struggle to plan projects, close service tickets, install a service quote, or take care of the customers, something we normally excel at.


That has forced our managers to become expert planners, communicators, and work hand in hand with purchasing. Now more than ever, we are really homing in on prioritizing, moving schedules, combining orders, thinking outside the box. It’s a daily challenge to re-think how we do business, how our processes are working for us, how we work for each other.


Engineering is spending a lot of time figuring out what in inventory can be used for now to get customers back up and running, what do the vendors have that could be cobbled together to keep a project going, what additional online stores have parts, or parts of parts that we can get. The level of teamwork we have going on in each branch, and across branches – nothing short of extraordinary.


You want to measure yourselves as a Team against other companies? Let’s break it down.


2020. Global pandemic the world hadn’t seen since 1918. Businesses closed for good, and businesses that were still open were hanging onto all their money with all the unknowns. In May of 2020 almost 50 million people were out of work due to closed or lost business (49, 839,000). We also had to adjust to working from home for an extended period, projects were placed on hold, and all of us were dealing with the stress of trying not to catch COVID-19. We had to improvise to get work done while being apart, kids at home doing remote learning. Working with and training customers remotely.


2021. By this time we had adapted to having COVID in our lives, and a vaccine was available. People started going back to work, going back to the office, POs were being issued in the first two quarters as if no pandemic was still happening. Then. Supply chain. It started out as whispers and suggestions “there may be surcharges, there may be shortages”. It quickly grew into a massive, worldwide issue.


We really should have seen this coming. So many companies have adopted a Just in Time (JIT) manufacturing process. Where many vendors once made a bunch of products and put them on the shelves, everyone bought into the idea that you can keep costs way down if you just build them when they are ordered, or in anticipation of being ordered very soon. A great idea, unless of course a bunch of products are made in one or two countries, and people haven’t been going to work…


That is two years we have continued to deliver results to our customers, while having to overcome once in a lifetime scenarios. Don’t let anyone tell you what you, what we, have accomplished isn’t a big deal. It’s a BIG deal. The commitment from the Team has allowed us to continue to grow during a global pandemic with a super-sized side of supply chain issues.


Thank you for your commitment to excellence, our customers, and each other. Take a few minutes and thank your team, thank your co-workers. You not only continue to exceed, but you are also there for each other when times are hard, when the customers are angry, when families and co-workers were stricken with COVID.


We aren’t done yet, but now we know what this Team is made of. One Team. One Purpose. One Family.


“You should never view your challenges as a disadvantage. Instead, it’s important for you to understand that your experience facing and overcoming adversity is actually one of your biggest advantages.”


- Kevin Henderson, Chief Operating Officer, Little Rock

 

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