Crisis and Opportunity: Your Time to Shine — Leadership in Good & Bad Times

The COVID-19 Pandemic will surely go down as the biggest crisis in our lifetime. We all remember the housing crisis in 2008 and 911 in 2001. Most people are not aware, but we had a banking crisis in Rhode Island during the early 90s where the Governor closed forty-five credit unions and banks creating runs on the remaining banks and shutting approximately a third of RI residents out of their bank accounts. Being new to running a business, this one event would prove to be a valuable “Crisis Management Lesson” for the future. One common thread in each of these crises was that they all passed and each time we came out stronger than we were before. The COVID-19 Pandemic is more pervasive across most industries than any previous crisis. We need to rely on ARA for critical information and fellow recyclers to manage our way one day at a time.

As business owners, you bear a heavy responsibility. With COVID-19, keeping your family, employees, and customers safe has become responsibility #1. Fear can be all-consuming in any crisis, but it is in these times when we dig deeper than ever before. As leaders, we need to project calm, patience, and develop plans on the fly. Nothing has prepared you for this but that is what business is all about: Situational Leadership. You will make changes and decisions for the current situation that you would not have made pre-crisis.

There are many reasons why we don’t change such as; family traditions, old ways “we’ve always done it this way”, and people that are resistant to change, including you. Now might be the time to disrupt what was the norm and plan for a new way while there is uncertainty. Your employees might be open to new ideas because they fear that jobs are on the line. Only you can create opportunity when things look bleak.

A number of recyclers have been calling RAS over the past two weeks inquiring about Takata recalls. Even though the program has been in existence since 2015, many people have resisted participating for a variety of reasons. I can guarantee that when we bring them on board with our tools, they will realize that they should have been pulling these bags sooner. They will realize that it is easier to do than originally thought and that they have been missing a revenue stream all this time. Especially where we now pay for deployed air bags and you don’t have to pull them. #YANKTHATBAG

Housekeeping is another area where we fall behind. It might be busy-work but perception is reality. If your office is a mess with a hundred old radios and parts everywhere, it might be time to scrub the place down, throw some cheap paint on the walls, and get ready for post COVID-19. The same is true for our indoor/outdoor dismantling areas, shipping, and warehouse space. One of my favorite quotes when cleaning up our operation was “When in Doubt, Throw it Out”. Sorry but this is where my OCD kicks in. I hate messes and I believe our employees and customers would prefer “nice and clean” versus “dumpy and chaotic”. Now is your time.

Inventory shakedown of loose parts inventory and vehicle hulks in the yard. Inventory is like produce. When fruit and vegetables stay on the vines too long, what happens? They rot. In my many visits to recycling facilities, I have seen many parts and vehicles left to rot on the vine. Take charge, make decisions, prioritize your daily work plans to have tangible results. The parts and vehicles that need to go may have value as cores or as scrap.

There will be an end to COVID-19. No one is sure when that will happen, but it will. What you do between now and then could be the deciding factor to the future of your business. Remember, the entire supply chain of new original equipment, vehicles, and parts has come to a standstill. Your opportunity is to be ready when customers need parts to repair their vehicles and ROE (Recycled Original Equipment) will be needed to fulfill pent up demand. God Bless and Stay Safe!

For more information on airbag recalls, call Paul the Recall Guy at 401-458-9080 or email

Katie the “Recall Gal” and Paul the “Recall Guy” represent the RAS Recall Team. Their Mission is to rid the planet of defective Airbags.

Want to join the Mission? Call our Recall Team 877-829-1553 x 160