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SMT007-June2020

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12 SMT007 MAGAZINE I JUNE 2020 tomers and distributors. We even concocted a plan to send a tablet with every machine we shipped so that a customer could have access to us by video chat at the machine. It ended up we haven't had to do that, but it's in our offering to our customers. Johnson: That makes sense; that's a couple of hundred dollars, which is less than the airfare to get to your customer's facility. Engle: Exactly. We started talking about our supply chain, and the more critical components that we knew or suspected were manufac- tured in China. We haven't had a perfect experience or been unaf- fected, but we have had a seamless experience so far with our supply chain. It was handled with a lot of direct contact. I talked with some key people on the phone, not through website submissions, emails, or POs. When crisis man- agement might be needed, you must talk to people on the phone. For our critical supply chain stuff, we have a very lean program and realized that some of our vendors might not want to face both challenges because we're kind of a challeng- ing customer to deal with. We have very high standards and try to run a lean program. With many of our vendors, we have a lot of stand- ing orders where we want just-in-time deliv- ery. We tell them to reinforce our supply chain by 300% and not deliver us anything until we call for it. It was stressful for them, and some refused to do it, but we've had long-term rela- tionships with many of them. Some requested higher commitments on our standing orders. We agreed to do that, and they need to do it, as long as we agree to give them a commitment to buy the stuff within 18 months. Some of our vendors that we did not have standing orders with didn't agree to change to standing order and keep stock on their shelf for us, especially if they were very expensive items. The big, complicated, one-of-a-kind machines We have a close core of highly-engaged indi- viduals in the company, which is one of the reasons for our success. The company operates solely out of our man- ufacturing facility in the mid-Hudson Valley in New York, which puts us near to ground zero for the United States for the COVID-19 situa- tion we find ourselves in. We also have a very large network of international distributors, and one of our strongest network is in China, so we had a lot of insight into the situation in China relatively early on. We exchanged emails with our Chinese counterparts in mid-January and started to do some basic preparations. You can tell from our fiscal performance that has already been posted that we were in the mid- dle of a huge surge in revenue, growth, and profitability. Right in the middle of delivering on that, we were hit with this. Our prepara- tion was probably five steps ahead of every- body else that we spoke to throughout. We canceled a trip to China in January. It wasn't going to be into a very critical area at the time in China, but we decided it was the right thing to do. That led to us getting highly creative about how to perform installations and commissionings with our distributor net- work, primarily through remote access to the machines and video-conferencing with our cus- Sono-Tek products under construction.

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