By Chris Kersting
Currently the industry is making tremendous adjustments, not only to our businesses but also to our personal lives. At this stage, we’re still getting more information about the various ways that companies are adapting to the COVID economy. As an industry, we can be proud of how we are continuing to find ways to do business while providing for the health, safety and well-being of all involved.
For the very latest information on C-19 resources, visit www.sema.org/coronavirus, which we keep continuously updated. There you’ll find content leading to resources and other tools the association has developed to help the industry navigate the COVID restrictions. SEMA is also continuing to work with lawmakers to push for further assistance for businesses in our industry.
Contemplating the future, it’s not easy to know where we’ll stand in the months ahead. But longer term, there are certain things we can count on. We know that no matter what, this virus won’t be permanent. And no matter what, there will be passionate enthusiasts who will continue to demand our industry’s products. No matter what, the people in this industry will dig in, persevere, and find ways to make it across this gap--and no matter what, this industry will be here to make and sell great products to meet that demand.
We know these things because we’ve faced enormous difficulty and challenges in the past. And there will be better times ahead - probably sooner than it feels right now.
While many near-term industry events have been postponed or canceled, the industry’s manufacturers are currently going full-bore with plans and preparations for both the 2020 SEMA Show in November and the PRI Show in December. I’m not surprised. Our industry has historically demonstrated fortitude and resolve in the face of adversity. The SEMA Show was the first major business gathering in the U.S. following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. In the heart of the Great Recession in 2009 and 2010, SEMA exhibitors and buyers again turned out in force, laying the groundwork for the recovery that followed. Currently, we see that the vast majority of member companies are planning to exhibit this year, and some 2,000 plus are expected to take part in this month’s booth selection process. They are determined that the SEMA Show will help launch the industry into a successful 2021.
To that end, we have been working with members to assist in a variety of ways, offering flexibility, refundable deposits and deferred deadlines. And we will continue to engage with industry members and adapt to the changing environment as more information becomes available.
In the meantime, don’t overlook the toolbox of current SEMA services and tools that are relevant as members work to get across the current business gap. This could be a very good time to engage with the SEMA Data Coop (SDC) to make sure you have your digital product data in order and your e-commerce presence optimized. The SEMA Garage can assist with product development tools (Tech Transfer, 3D scanning) and emissions testing and certification matters. And this may also be a good time to access SEMA’s archived educational videos, market studies and reports. Head to the SEMA.org website for information and staff contacts on all the above.
As we move through the current challenges, we are reminded of past tough times and the reality that we endured and have always come out stronger. This is a stout industry that makes up a capable association. Working together, I’m optimistic we will continue to persevere and thrive.