Our Second Week of the COVID-19 Crisis

Our Second Week of the COVID-19 Crisis

March 30, 2020

Internal company message from AD CEO Bill Weisberg, shared on March 27 at 4:00 p.m., the second full week for many of us at AD to be working from home.

Dear AD Associates,

I am very grateful to each of you for your support and continued dedication during this extraordinarily difficult time. It’s been a long week. And we’ve been making great progress.

I understand there’s a lot of stress and anxiety out there. Not just at our company. In every household and workplace. Everyone is asking the same questions. Will our friends and families stay healthy? Will we continue to have work? When will we be able to return to living and working like we used to do?

Truthfully, no one knows for certain. That uncertainty is humbling. And hard to deal with. In some people and companies, it’s leading to panic or depression.

The AD Leadership Team is neither panicked nor depressed. We are doing exactly what you’d want us to be doing. We are working, with the support and help of AD associates, to understand the evolving landscape, its impact on our members, suppliers and associates and to develop appropriate and intelligent responses to it.

Not every decision we make will be perfect. That’s impossible in an environment like this. But every decision will be thoughtful and consistent with The AD Way and our company’s values. We will not abandon our values out of fear or uncertainty.

As you may be aware, the “essential-businesses-only” orders are rolling out on different days and weeks in different states and municipalities. Most are similar and allow for most members to be declared “essential” as well as some of their customers. A few, like Pennsylvania and Quebec Province, are more draconian.

The impact on our members therefore varies, by geography and end-user focus. Some have seen little to no change in their daily order rates. Some are down 40%. Some are running ahead of last year. Our members are strong and entrepreneurial. We are in constant contact with them to track order rates and to help them, as best we can, navigate. We have project teams set up for this very purpose.

As in any downturn we’ve faced in the past, short or long, it is critical for us to proactively address areas where we can reduce costs. We have a responsibility, as a member owned group, to respond intelligently to market conditions. We have a team working on this that has identified appropriate options. We hope to be back to you soon with a report.

We want to make sure that everyone is working on tasks that will have a positive impact on our current business needs. That includes things that will help us navigate the road we are on and things that will make us stronger when this crisis passes, which it will.

Some of you will be asked to work on teams and initiatives that may be different then your typical work. Some of you are already doing so. I am grateful to you all for your understanding and flexibility.

I mentioned earlier that that crises like this are very humbling. They show us very clearly how little control any of us have over the world around us.

Personally, I find great comfort in my faith. Also, in staying connected with friends, co-workers and family. I get out of bed each day even earlier then I used to, before daylight. I exercise, make some coffee, shower and get dressed for work. Before I start working, I spend some time in prayer and meditation.

I do not believe that we are alone in this world. Life does have purpose. And it is not up to any one of us to solve every problem. All we can do is our best.

What does “doing our best” mean in a time like this? It means living according to good values, working at the tasks in front of us to the best of our ability, pro-actively asking others in the company if you can be of help and treating each other with kindness and compassion.

God bless you and your families. And thank you for being on the AD Team.