How I Built Resilience
Hey welcome back to how I built this resilience edition so since the pandemic began retail sales have dropped massively across the country is customers are staying home but cliff. Bars actually seen a spike in demand because their bars are really popular among healthcare workers. I spoke to Gary Erickson and kick Crawford from their home in Berkeley California. The company's been distributing cliff bars to doctors and nurses while also trying to boost morale among their employees to me a little bit about cliff bar. What's been the situation for you guys? We're lucky you know. We're an essential food products. We on March twelve was the day we decided to close. Our office is just in one day. All of a sudden. We're like we're not in the awful. How do we run a business when people are are not in the office running into each other and having meetings and and coffee together out trying to throughout so we have been adopting ever since? Yeah it's it's interesting because we have like certain to businesses going on we have our office business and then we have our essential business are two bakeries one in Indiana twin falls. Where making sure that everybody's safe unhealthy. It's really different to have to do this right now. What's crazy so your headquarters. Essentially in Emoryville is closed down right now but you also. Your manufacturing plants are still operating because presumably. There's a demand for cliff bar. People are kind of want to keep things that that are shelf stable and lasts for a while I guess is. Have you seen a big increase demand for cliff bars redid and we did? There was a pretty good spike. And I We were maybe in third place behind the paper and Sanitizer But it's calmed down. You know I think the the object has mellowed out a little bit. But we're still there's demand demand is high and also you know we know that our product is a really essential food for healthcare workers. So far we've given out the first art march three point six million bars to food banks and healthcare workers frontline and then on another where on the second round. Brunell committed another three million through programmer calling Baked with love incentive gratitude Gary when you have been in crises in the past certainly with this business and when you think about it from a leadership perspective. What kind of advice could you give to somebody who is a leader? Even if it's a small business and they're kind of dealing with what's going on right now. I helped would sell duster couple. Things one is Don't be afraid to ask. Question has no answer Kind of off of Wendell Berry mad farmer manifesto of his about four decades ago. I mean we are asking questions every single data we have. We don't have any answer to but you can't be afraid to ask those questions and then if you don't have an answer today maybe tomorrow we've I can't even count. How many of questions. We've had to ask that. Don't have an answer. Maybe one could be like What are we? What is it GonNa look like when we go back to the office like when we first asked the office when is can happen? And what are we going to be walking around with right vase mouths on? And Are we gonNA be social distancing when we're back in the office and how's it going to work people you know. Eat and you know we. We don't have an answer for that right now but we're talking about and then the other part of it is just inattentive. You have to be hyper attentive to everything every day minute by minute hour by hour day by day and went and if your attention to something that comes up and we have people emailing US sane. Have you thought of this? What about this? How come this does happen? We're not doing this. Then you connoisseur out that you have to go to like how are we going to doubt and then as soon as you can't take some action and don't sit on things because we don't have time to sit on things we've been making decisions where we have to act now or tomorrow and we as sorry? We're screwed so adapt and take some action. I'm curious I mean. Obviously you are a bigger company much beer company than than a lot of the vast majority businesses in the United States. But if you think about this crisis and this is a little bit tricky because it's a sensitive word to use but as an opportunity are there ways to think about opportunities or to kind of focus on on the other side like how I mean because even with your business you're GonNa Change. They're going to be things about your products that change when when we come out the other side of this question. We don't have an answer to yes. Go ahead well. I mean I'd like to take a shot at it. I think long you know it. Does you double down in refocus on the things that matter for us? I think it's refocused us to consider what's really really important like taking care of our people but also how we work being efficient with our time being creative looking at a problem imagining scenarios. That don't exist yet like what if this happens. What how are we GONNA REACT? It's really made us much. Nimble in some ways yeah for sure. this is a question from about supply chain which. I think is is interesting. How are you dealing with your supply chain and and are you looking ahead to because it's you rely on nuts and on oats and on a variety of ingredients mostly domestic but some imported? So how are you kind of dealing with? The the possibility chain will be disrupted. That's another question that we don't have a full answer to because we don't know you know we're hoping that that were on getting close to the other side but it's still going to be of months we right now good and because we were in that essential category so we're not super worried about supply chain but were daily back to the daily attentive to it and always kind of ask our suppliers like we're good right. We're right and we do have our frontier team on our side chain. Every morning we we meet together with recalled the coveted nineteen task force. So were meeting every morning with this task. Force made up of ood manufacturing lead our legal team our HR team Our community team and our communications team. And we're we're doing that. So we can keep track of all these things and so we have teams under them that are tracking supply chain all the cliff bars that are going to the stores are. GonNa want in the future inside of balancing. That out is just a big rash or is this going to happen. You know slowly and then you know what level are being of yet but it's interesting that this is a time. This is the first time that our business models to kind of a full test like it's easy when you're not easy but so we have this five lines business model you know sustain Your Business. Our brands where people are our community and our planet and it's worked but now we're in the crisis trying to keep this model ally We're not just a successful company over here. Supporting our community and giving thousands of hours of community service not no work in the fire and we're trying to continue keeping those values in tap and living values so so far so good but Has Not Been Easy.