Through every employees’ efforts to date, ZOOK has not been impacted by COVID-19 illnesses.
Unfortunately for some of our employees’ families, there have been family members, friends, and acquaintances that have been impacted by COVID-19. For everyone, we offer our prayers and well wishes for courage for what they may face, strength for fighting and beating the challenges created by this awful virus, and compassion for those family members, friends, and acquaintances who may have experienced a loss.
It is August 2020, and for all of us, it has to be one of the most interesting, challenging, and complicated years on record. When I refer to interesting, we are learning everyday from what is going on around us. When I say challenging, we work hard to protect ourselves and the business while supporting our customers, and when I say complicated, I refer to the impact on each of us and the business and the mystery of what may lie ahead. All three (3) influences describe how ZOOK is learning and reacting to the COVID 19 crisis, how are actions are contributing to our performance, and what we are doing to prepare for the future.
Under the circumstances, ZOOK continues to perform pretty well. Customer orders to ZOOK have been lower than expected, mainly due to the slowdown in the US market. Many of our US customers have for the short term idled their facilities during the COVID 19 crisis. Another risk to watch in the US is the impending hurricane that is approaching the Louisiana and Texas coast. The effects of this hurricane could impact our Chemical, Petrochemical, and Oil & Gas business in the region for several months. While the US market is slow, both ZOOK Asia and ZOOK Europe orders have grown compared to last year. Exciting news from ZOOK Asia is that we received our largest order valued at $790,000 for a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) customer for our Skid Safe metal disk product. Also, ZOOK Europe captured about $170,000 in new orders for the Water Desalinization market in the UAE region. And just as I was about to send this update to you, I received word from Dan Angelino at our leadership meeting this morning that US activity has warmed up in August and orders are imminent for both graphite and metal disks. Another exciting topic is new and existing customer quote activity for ZOOK. Compared to 2019, we have seen a 22% increase in quotation activity, and all ZOOK sales regions have contributed to these positive results. As a result of our recent order and quotation performances, we will be adding some additional manufacturing resources in our Canada and US operations. The investment in resources will help with the immediacy of serving our customers, while positioning ZOOK for when the crisis is over and business begins to return to normal. By focusing our attention to be the first to engage and quote the customer, first to deliver our products and services, and first to collect cash so that we can invest and grow, we are presenting ZOOK with the opportunity to win. Our global inside and outside sales teams have done a great job quoting the customer within the same day or 24 hours and our operations have been able to maintain 95% or better on-time delivery. Our urgency to respond and deliver our solutions is our differentiators. Do it during a global pandemic is commendable. Let’s keep it going, and we will succeed!
Additional activities to strengthen our global teams were introduced by Tony Martell, when he and a consultant facilitated a nine (9) week sales training program. The focus of the sales training was on new business development , pre-call planning and how to achieve an excellent sales call. The “new or next” normal created by COVID-19 requires that ZOOK adjust its selling approach to ensure that our “virtual” connection with customers still offers us the opportunity to confirm the need, present a solution, and close the order. The event was well received by our global sales teams, and we expect great results from the experience gained through the training process. Well done!
Another very exciting update for all of you is that the Graphite Business Unit for ZOOK upgraded to the new version of Navision over this past weekend. While I am sure that all of you are busy making this upgrade a success, I have to applaud the results of Gary Kauffman, Jamie Sample, Patrick Henry, Dave Leppelmeier, and our Project Leader, John McNulty. The implementation or upgrade of Navision is not an easy job; nor is it an 8 am to 5 pm job. It is a 24 hour / 7 days a week commitment, and we all know that not every project gets done with out some challenges. These team members and several others in the US and Canada have served you and ZOOK very well. Congratulations and Thank you!
In spite of the challenges faced today, we have to stop and thank everyone for their commitment to succeed. We also need to recognize those ZOOK associates that have achieved a special milestone with our company. In August, Lynda Meandro, who works in our ZOOK Canada office reached her 5 year anniversary with ZOOK. In September, we have 3 other ZOOK Canada employees celebrating work anniversaries including Cameron Holmes for 15 years, Trish Fayle for 20 years, and Arlene Ducharme for 25 years. All 4 Canada employees should be recognized for their service to our customers and ZOOK. Please join me in congratulating them. Thank you!!
We must not reduce our discipline in protecting our global employees. With the start of summer and shortly the return of our children to school, there will be heightened risks for exposure to COVID-19. Over the last several months, ZOOK has issued several safety protocols to protect you and the business and set guidelines on how to react to a potential exposure from inside or outside of the business. These protocols have been communicated in emails and posted at our facilities. With the ever changing environment, I want you all to be aware that we are updating these protocols with our operations and HR teams and will provide information for everyone shortly. Because the COVID-19 crisis will continue for probably several more months, I would not expect to return to our global offices before the end of March 2021.
That’s all for now. Please be careful in everything that you do, wear masks where appropriate, social distance, and be kind to others. We are all facing this complicated challenge together, and if we sustain the actions that we have implemented to date, communicate, and are transparent with each other, then we will take this challenge on and succeed! Thank you!
When the COVID-19 crisis began in early March, ZOOK took aggressive steps to protect our employees, business, and customers. We just completed May 2020, the 3rd month into this global pandemic, and I would like to provide you with an update on our results and progress.
During the 3 months of March, April, and May, ZOOK performed pretty well. When you compare our results to the overall markets that we serve, ZOOK outperformed the market and probably our competitors in many areas including positioning the business for future growth. So, how did I arrive at these conclusions?
Well, it is no secret that businesses around the globe have suffered significantly from the challenges faced by this pandemic. Our competitors have announced major layoffs and several of the customers that we serve have shuttered their facilities while business is soft. In fact, global businesses have seen a decrease in their sales of between 10% and 30%, and profits decreased 15% to 50%. Businesses primarily serving the Oil and Gas markets have seen incredible decreases in their revenue and profitability of as much as 50%. ZOOK is not experiencing this level of negative impact, but we are seeing some negative trends that I want to discuss with you.
First, May new quotes and orders were the lowest of 2020. Orders that arrived at ZOOK in April and May support June shipments, and orders in May and June support July shipments. When we experience 11/2 months of lower quote and order activity, we risk impacting future revenue. Second, and perhaps more important is the profitability of the business. When we create risk from lower than expected sales, the lower profitability impacts everything at ZOOK including plans to invest in future growth.
I know what you are thinking, how can ZOOK invest in growth when there is a global pandemic?
Well, yesterday, our senior leadership team presented to the ZOOK Board of Directors our year to date results, full year guidance for 2020, and yes, key investments needed to continue to drive profitable growth and deliver customer, operational, and shareholder value. The meeting and our message was well received. The directors complimented us on our progress, but cautioned us on making sure that we continue to be urgent when engaging every new sales opportunity, serving the customer with passion and excellence, and converting the hard work that all of you provide in your quotes to new orders.
I want all of you to hear this message because if we stay committed to our mission, we will succeed! Every inquiry is an order opportunity; Seize It! Every phone call to a former, existing or new customer is an opportunity; Make It! But most importantly, Take Action, because if we take these steps to serve the customer from the time of the inquiry through to the shipping of the product, we will succeed, and we will gain a valuable customer/partner forever.
To help serve ZOOK’s needs and that of our customers, we continue with our global ERP implementation. I want to congratulate the entire ZOOK CANADA TEAM, as they continue to utilize the new ERP in their everyday business lives with no disruption to serving our customers. Well done! Next up is ZOOK USA, and we expect a go live in August 2020. Later this year, we will complete the upgrades of Navision in ZOOK EUROPE and ZOOK ASIA.
You may have noticed my comment earlier about “positioning the business for future growth”. Well, we are certainly in a defining moment for how businesses will grow in the new or next normal. It is not business as usual when trying to solicit new business. Tony Martell, Richard Clark, and our global sales directors have orchestrated a global sales training that spans a 9 week period where they will acquire skills to improve the engagement of our current and new customers in the new or next normal. Improving our planning, the sales messages, and how it is delivered, while utilizing social media, ZOOM video technology, and Microsoft Teams are actions that will ensure that ZOOK is the 1st to ENGAGE every customer opportunity, and the 1st to DELIVER that value to our customers.
You might say, how does my job help get more orders? Well, we all are serving customers, whether they are internal or external to the business. Preparing quotes quickly, answering an inquiry urgently, collecting cash from invoices, building a superior quality product, responding to a customer complaint, sourcing raw materials, paying our vendors, shipping products, and/or asking another ZOOK employee for help with a project, quote, order, or customer question are just a few of the ways that we all contribute to growth and delivering value to our customers. I commend all of you for your commitment to ZOOK and our customers, but we need more business; so let’s continue to work together to get it done.
Thankfully, with your continued support, no ZOOK employees have been impacted by COVID-19. As summer begins, there will be a tendency to relax our discipline in protecting ourselves and our families. I ask all of you to be mindful that the virus is still a huge threat. When you are in public, please use caution by social distancing and wearing masks. As for your return to the ZOOK global offices, I would not expect that our remote employees will return before the end of September. We have proved that our business can operate effectively with our office staff working remotely and our production staff isolated at our facilities. This has been a successful formula that has enabled us to protect our employees and our business. Thank you for all that you do for ZOOK, our customers, and each other.
Be safe and blessings to all your families.
I want to provide you with an update on our progress to keep ZOOK employees safe while serving our customers and business.
Thankfully, ZOOK employees have not been impacted by the COVID-19 virus in any of our facilities around the globe. Safety measures implemented early including every employees efforts to comply with guidelines both at work and at home are contributing to these very good results. Social distancing and separating our employees, wearing masks where necessary, keeping your hands away from your face, and washing your hands is working for all of us. Well done!
As news around the globe points to a softening of restrictions regarding travel and opening of restaurants, I urge all of you to continue to be diligent in your personal protection. Without a vaccine, the threat is always present. Following guidelines from local, regional, state, provincial, and country governments is required to ensure that you keep yourself and your families safe. At ZOOK, we will continue to be conservative in our approach in having our employees return to their respective work locations. As I stated, we have proved that we can get the job done, while working as a team remotely. I do not foresee us returning to the global offices in the immediate future. In the event that there is a need to return to the office, please contact your respective manager for approval.
Regarding our business performance, May sales dropped slightly compared to April 2020 results due to lower new orders received in the month. During the month of May, our daily new order and quote activity dropped to the lowest level of 2020. These results could impact our future months sales results. We cannot lose the momentum that we experienced in March and April.
COVID-19 has created a business environment that is far from normal. Soliciting new business from existing or new customers has to be very proactive and progressive. We need to seek out new leads from existing and new customers, quote urgently, and follow up to ensure that we have met the customers needs and expected value. Without this constant pressure on seeking and securing new business and serving and supporting customers, we limit our ability to invest in our customers, our vendors, our employees, and our business.
With all the excitement of COVID-19 and trying to keep our business functioning effectively, we sometimes lose sight of what is really important. Yes, our safety is our biggest priority, but also we need to take time to recognize our employees service to ZOOK and our customers.
Last week, Tom Dennis, Quality Technician in Graphite, announced that he was retiring at the end of May after 40 years of service. Can you imagine that someone would rather go fishing than machine graphite; what is the world coming to today? ZOOK thanks Tom for his service and wishes him a fantastic retirement!
Also, in May, John Bland celebrated 25 years of service to ZOOK. For those of you who do not know John, he runs the warehouse in our ZOOK Europe office. His commitment to excellence in delivering superior products to customers throughout Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Asia is commendable and a competitive advantage for ZOOK. Well done John and congratulations.
Now, I have not been so good at keeping up with service milestones, and the rest of the team members that I will talk about are located in our ZOOK Canada facility.
In January, Chris Ellison celebrated 20 years. For those of us who work with Chris, they know that not only is he a rock star with the lasers, he is a great person to work with at ZOOK. A champion of all causes and master craftsman at ZOOK, and when something breaks, he is there with a wire, a bolt, or a piece of chewing gum to get it working again. Thank you, Chris for your service.
Kirby Scruton celebrated 15 years in January. While I am not present many days at ZOOK Canada, I have a pretty good intuition about people, and what I think is that a huge part of the success of ZOOK is because Kirby is there to make sure that we are making the right products. The countless hours that she puts in, especially while using a new ERP. When I sat with her to discuss the new ERP, I was so impressed with her guidance, patience, and leadership. With your passion, you inspire everyone to make ZOOK a great business. Thank you!
Whether it is James Gray celebrating 10 years of service in February and Nadeem Sadiq and Curt Gottlieb celebrating 5 years, or any of the other ZOOK Canada employees not mentioned because there service milestone date is later this year, I want to thank all of you for your service and for making ZOOK a great business.
Well, everyone, let’s work together to build our momentum in June by securing new business, building superior products and services, and serving our customers with passion and excellence. With your commitment, we will SUCCEED! Thank you!
ZOOK continues to operate successfully as an essential business serving our valued customers. I would like to thank all of you for your commitment and results to serve those customers that ensures safety and reliability with every product and service that we deliver.
During this challenging time, I want to give you an update on the performance of our business. In prior conversations, I spoke to you about the importance of ZOOK maintaining our critical value stream to ensure the viability of the business. This value stream is comprised of soliciting new business, quoting customers, entering orders, sourcing raw materials, building, shipping and invoicing products, collecting cash, paying our vendors and paying our employees. Every ZOOK employee plays a role, and with your support, we will continue to succeed!
Beginning in late February 2020, ZOOK began to see an improvement in daily orders for both graphite and metal rupture disks. These orders helped ZOOK achieve a good sales month for March and ensured that April will be successful also. Orders in early April have slowed probably due to the Easter Holiday, but we expect an improvement in the 2nd half of April. With daily updates from our global sales and customer service teams, we have learned that new quotations and customer interactions have been very active. Being the 1st to engage our customers and the 1st to deliver our solutions, ZOOK has built enormous credibility with our customers so that we are the 1st rupture disk supplier that they call when an opportunity arises. In spite of the challenges impacting the global markets, ZOOK is performing pretty well.
Our united efforts to prevent and protect our employees from COVID-19 has been successful. No ZOOK employees have been diagnosed with COVID-19 to date. Thank you everyone for practicing safe distancing, washing your hands, covering your coughs, calling ahead if you are feeling sick, and staying home as much as you are able when not working.
While our respective governments have been issuing updates regarding their actions to mitigate and eliminate the risk of exposure and spread of COVID-19, some governments are beginning to discuss a date in which businesses may return to normal. I want to say to our global employees, ZOOK will be very conservative with our plans to return to normal business practices, which includes having our remote employees return to our global offices.
First, it is important that we continue to protect both our production and remote office employees and make it a priority not to create any unnecessary risks to our global teams. When we decided to separate our production and office staff, our actions were intended to limit potential exposure due to typical interactions. Our priority is the safety and well-being of our production and remote office employees in order to ensure the viability of our business and eliminate any interruptions to serve our global customers.
Second, we have confirmed that ZOOK can maintain the critical value stream and serve our customers. While a vaccine for this virus may be months away, we are ok with easing back to the offices to minimize any risks. As global conditions improve, we will share a plan with you on how and when ZOOK will return to normal business practices, which will include our employees returning to our global offices. Regardless of any updates that you may hear from your respective local, regional, and country governments, I would not expect the process of returning to normal business practices at ZOOK to begin before mid to late May 2020. As new information becomes available or any changes, we will provide further updates about ZOOK and our plan and schedule to return to normal business practices.
Thank you again for your continued support, commitment, and passion for all things ZOOK. Take care, be safe, and blessing to you and your families.
ZOOK products are an essential safety device to our customers and I hope we have everyone’s support in keeping our offices open to assist our customers in keeping their businesses operating.
The link below is from some of our customers conveying the importance of receiving ZOOK products during this crisis. Ultimately our safety products are helping our customers produce critical/essential products that are in great demand during this pandemic. Let’s try to continue to operate and support our customers and each other, while staying safe.
It has been a very challenging, but successful week at ZOOK. Not only have we been successful at implementing our Business Continuity Plan; we have also deployed our global teams to work remotely: 40% of our workforce is working remotely! Our customers are keeping us very busy with significant increases in new and existing product quotations and orders. ZOOK has responded with a priority to be the 1st to Engage and the 1st to Quote, and these actions have been the difference in the increase in rupture disk orders. Well done!!
The global business environment is ever-changing. Several countries have issued “lock downs” or “shelter in place” requirements. These “directives” order non-essential businesses to close, but companies, like ZOOK, that manufacture products for “life sustaining” solutions will remain open. At this time, no directives have been issued that would impact ZOOK operations in the US, Canada, or the United Kingdom.
To clarify to our employees though, ZOOK is an “essential business” providing “life-sustaining” products and services. We serve customers that produce and sell life sustaining products like hygiene, cleaning solutions, gas, energy, food, beverage, and medical supplies. I have enclosed a copy of a letter from one of our valued customers, Philips Healthcare, indicating that our rupture disks are an essential component in the production of these life sustaining medical products.
Next week, we expect ZOOK to be operating the business as usual: soliciting new business, quoting customers, entering orders, sourcing raw materials, building and shipping, and invoicing and collecting. With your continued support, we will have another successful week. Please be safe and enjoy your weekend. Thank you.
TO: ALL ZOOK EMPLOYEES
FROM: GREG CLARK
I want to THANK all of you for your continued support to provide SUPERIOR PRODUCTS AND SERVICES to our CUSTOMERS!!
As we face one of our biggest challenges to date, we must work TOGETHER as a TEAM to protect our employees, business, vendors, and customers. We have a lot of work ahead of us to make sure that we continue to limit any impact to our business from the CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19).
I am PROFOUNDLY proud of the results that we have achieved this week to ensure that we limit any business interruption. On MONDAY, MARCH 16TH, the ZOOK leadership team will update all of you on our BUSINESS CONTINUITY PLAN (BCP). Several steps will be implemented around the globe to ensure that we minimize the risk to our employees while being able to serve, ship, and support our customers.
Recognizing that COMMUNICATION is key to our successful implementation and execution of our Business Continuity Plan (BCP), we want to begin to utilize an “INTRANET” that has been set up by Georgia Roberts where we will communicate with our employees any key information that impacts our business and the Business Continuity Plan (BCP). While we will be publishing more information on the site next week, you can access the ZOOK communication portal at https://www.zookdisk.com/wp-content/covid-internal-updates
Again, I want to THANK EVERYONE for their continued support, and with your COMMITMENT, we will SUCCEED!! Thank you.
TO: ALL ZOOK EMPLOYEES
FROM: GREG CLARK
The CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) situation is evolving by the hour. Several new company practices have been added below in RED. PLEASE read the document very carefully to ensure your understanding and compliance. If you have questions, please let your Manager, HR, or myself know.
With Coronavirus spreading across the globe, it is VERY IMPORTANT for us to manage risk and ensure minimal business disruption by PROTECTING and potentially PREVENTING an impact to our EMPLOYEES, VENDORS, and CUSTOMERS.
Recognizing the potential exposure to illness from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) or the seasonal flu, we will like to enforce the following practices:
EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY, THERE WILL BE NO INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL FOR WORK PURPOSES, AND DOMESTIC TRAVEL BY PLANE MUST BE PRE-APPROVED BY YOUR MANAGER. IF YOU ARE UNCOMFORTABLE WITH ANY BUSINESS TRAVEL, THEN PLEASE CONTACT YOUR MANAGER AND/OR HR, AND WE WILL ADVISE.
For those ZOOK employees who may be returning from a holiday or vacation, before you return to work, I am requiring that you contact your Manager or HR to provide full disclosure of types of travel, locations, and potential risks of exposure that may have occurred during your time away. In addition, if you chose to proceed with future travel for non business purposes, then before you return to work, I am requiring that you contact your Manager or HR to provide full disclosure of the types of travel, locations, and potential risks of exposure that may have occurred during your time away. On a case by case basis, you may be required to self quarantine for a period of 14 days before returning to work.
One of the best hospitals in the world, CLEVELAND CLINIC, provides some helpful tips to help protect you from the spread of the Coronavirus. I am providing some links to educate you. (These links safe and checked by Dave Leppelmeier, Global IT Director)
Another LINK to help provide you with valuable information on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is on the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html
The ZOOK leadership team is monitoring the situation closely and will offer further GUIDANCE should the situation change. If you have any questions, then let ME, your MANAGER or your HR MANAGER know. Thank you.
This is a difficult time and our first thought is for the health and well being of all – we at ZOOK sincerely wish you and your families well during the crisis.
With COVID-19 spreading across the globe, it is also very important for us to manage risk and ensure minimal business disruption by protecting and potentially preventing an impact to our employees, customers & suppliers. We wanted to share with you an update on our Business Continuity Plan at ZOOK.
Thank you for your continued partnership and business and please contact us if we can help you in any way and at any time.
In these uncertain times the safety and well-being of our customers, employees and communities is our top priority. We want you all to know that we are here to help.
ZOOK safety products are critical components needed to keep manufacturing facilities open and running safely. We know that many of our customers have identified as part of their crisis management plan a need to inventory extra ZOOK product.
We are focused on meeting this demand and ensuring our customers’ operations continue to run seamlessly by having the following services available:
Simultaneously, we are aggressively following the guidelines and best practices from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). We are committed in taking every precaution to protect our employees and customers.
While the environment around us is uncertain, the ZOOK world class team is here to assist you every step of the way to get product to your facility when you need it. Please email email@example.com for any immediate needs.