It’s been a rough year and there have been some lessons learned. Well, FABTECH 2020 is canceled. The pandemic is lasting a lot longer than anyone hoped, and the economy continues to teeter.

But, in looking back over the last several months, we’ve discovered a number of insights that are worth sharing:

At the top of our list is a renewed appreciation for our customers and the role they play in this country’s manufacturing industry. They’re a critical link in today’s manufacturing supply chain. The impact of what our customer’s manufacture can be felt throughout the country – and around the world.

Another insight is that unpredictability isn’t the end of the world. Pre-pandemic, it was relatively easy to forecast demand for our punches and dies. But now some customers who used to place larger orders have scaled back, and other, low-volume customers are increasing their orders. It’s a topsy-turvy world, but we haven’t let it turn us upside down.

And that leads us to the twin pillars of adaptability and patience. We’ve been truly impressed with our employees’ ability to adapt to the challenges of working in a pandemic. Our vendors and customers have also adapted to the changing demands of today’s world. It hasn’t been easy, but everyone has shown a true willingness to try new things to get the job done.

Everyone is doing the best they can, and we’ve found it’s important to recognize that and show some patience for the bumps and stumbles that occur along the way.

Good communication has been paramount throughout this entire process. Clear, frequent communication has always been important here at American Punch, more so now than ever. It used to be easy to meet customers in person, which, of course, is no longer possible because of the pandemic. But our customers have been open to trying new forms of communication, keeping the lines open.

We’ve also doubled down on our commitment to our employees’ safety. That’s the main reason we announced our withdrawal from FABTECH convention, well ahead of the event’s actual cancellation. It was a tough choice, but we knew it was the right decision to keep our employees safe.

American Punch isn’t the only manufacturer facing these challenges, but it’s useful to reflect on the lessons this experience has provided. We’ve learned that it doesn’t matter what the future holds. These last few months have taught us that we’re prepared for whatever tomorrow brings.