It’s just another normal day in 2020 while I write this month’s column. I am working from home today, which for most people is the new normal. This year I have been in the office every day (except for most weekends, holidays, vacations and “I can’t take it” days). I used to be on the road most weeks (pre-COVID), whether it was for a day or two or a couple of weeks. I have pretty much always done that for 30-plus years — until this year.
To everyone who is used to going to the same office every day, all week, I have a new respect for you and an appreciation for the “Groundhog Day” movie.
Our office is close to where I live, and we have an old school office with plenty of space. Most folks have offices with walls, so anybody who wanted to, after June 1, could come to the office. We did determine that we really don’t need an office — or maybe not such a big office — but luckily, last December we signed a new five-year lease because timing is everything.
I am working at home today because my water heater failed last night. I called to set up a time to get it replaced and the guy said they would call before they came. I said, “Good, because it will take me 25 minutes to get home,” to which he said, “Glad you told me. We just assume everybody is already home these days.”
But it is a good day to work at home as there is an NFL game on — just another Wednesday in 2020. So now I have two masked men in my house. I did not call the cops as I believe they are just replacing the water heater. I think that’s what they told me, but I have this problem that whenever I put a mask on, I have trouble hearing. I do have a nice cloth mask (rated at N14 — nowhere near N95). I left it on today in my car because it kept me warm, like a scarf.
I can’t wait for 2021.
I joke, but the good news is there appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel with multiple vaccines on the way. In addition, most of MacKay & Company’s aftermarket activity measurements have been more positive than we forecasted, and while our forecasts are not always on the mark, we don’t mind as much when things are better than forecast. We will still end the year (aftermarket parts sales) down compared with 2019, but not as bad as we initially anticipated in April.
Outside of our measurements, anecdotally, there certainly seems to be more trucking activity. Last week I had three deliveries scheduled for my house. None of them arrived when scheduled (two did arrive this week) and I did get a fourth delivery, but it was delivered to the wrong address, so I don’t think that counts. On my street, we are not typically seeing a Class 6-8 truck dropping packages off, but these trucks are delivering to the last milers who are, lately, always on our street. I think the problem in getting these packages as scheduled is due to both capacity and COVID-related issues for the carriers.
This year I have had other COVID-related conversations about the country having enough refrigerated trailers for bodies and now for vaccines. I am more than ready for 2021 post-vaccine and normal conversations about the aftermarket.
John Blodgett has worked for MacKay & Company for more than 20 years and is currently vice president of sales and marketing, responsible for client contact for single- and multi-client projects. He can be reached at email@example.com.