For over 60 years, Laticrete has been a leading manufacturer of globally proven construction solutions for the building industry, providing the technology, products and experience to make innovative, permanent installations and repairs for residential, commercial and industrial applications. The company currently employs approximately 1,500 associates worldwide and operates and distributes to every continent, with eight plants in the U.S, including its headquarters in Bethany, CT, as well as facilities in UAE, China, India, Singapore, Australia, Norway, Italy and Costa Rica.
As the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic steadily increases, Laticrete’s senior vice president of sales and marketing, Ron Nash, took some time to share his projections with TILE Magazine about how all of this will impact the tile and stone installation industry, as well as the construction industry. He believes, while we may be experiencing short-term pain, there’s a strong chance for a significant rebound.
“Unlike the recessions of 2008 and 2009, a pandemic or natural disaster is usually much shorter to recover from compared to other financial crises,” Nash said. “Based on my personal experiences and research, I have learned that when the market crashes due to a natural cause such as a pandemic (especially when compared to past pandemics i.e. SARS, H1N1, etc.) versus financial, the negative market impact is usually more short-term. That said, we really are off the map with this virus; we have never before seen anything like it in modern history. But, we are hopeful that the recovery follows the same pattern as other pandemics.”
In order to keep up with what other businesses are doing amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Nash took to social media to create a new outlet of communication. “I started a Facebook group where tile industry experts can share/discuss their business operating status and impact,” he said. “The group is meant to be an open channel for those in the tile/stone installation industry to share information, look for help, ask business-related questions, or vent about current issues in a non-political way.”
Laticrete is also utilizing their online platform to provide a variety of educational opportunities, since the majority of people in the U.S. are working remotely. “Laticrete is being a leader by providing digital tools, trying to get people to train through its Laticrete University program, shattering records every day and creating a digital platform where people can communicate,” Nash explained. “Our Laticrete University e-learning program makes it possible for anyone within the industry to train on industry standards and Profit Through Knowledge (PTK) technical seminars from the comfort of your home or office 24/7. Now anyone can receive the quality information that was only once possible during live training without leaving your couch or home.
“Laticrete University presents vital industry and product information in short, easy online tutorials that can be taken at any time online, 24/7,” he went on to say. “You can learn about new products and industry standards right away without the delay of waiting for a scheduled event or for a representative to visit you.”
Although a lot of businesses have been temporarily closed to try and stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus, “essential” businesses such as construction companies are still continuing to operate as normal. “Luckily, even under the new policies set in place, the construction industry has been deemed essential so work has not come to a halt,” Nash said. “With a huge push for commercial construction work to continue, OSHA has come out with safety measures that have been put in place during this time. I am hopeful that these new guidelines will aid in minimizing the impact to these construction businesses as much as humanly possible, while also increasing personal protection and safety.”
Nash also noted how business is only being paused for the time-being, not completely stopped, which is something we should all be optimistic about. “The whole world is in the same boat, which is positive because no one is losing jobs to another country or offshoring work," he said. "From a global perspective, we are all on the same team right now versus competitors.
“We are still in a good place to have a great rest of 2020,” Nash went on to say. “Think of it like a ‘V-shape’ recovery. Right now, things are changing and they are changing fast. However, once we get over the hump and people come out of the quarantine, we will see an enormous amount of demand, which will make for a great Q3 and Q4.”