Features | July 21, 2020
All Barcode Systems Puts Project on Hold
In an article in the June/July issue of PS Magazine, “The Month Everything Changed,” we follow three PSDA members — Suncoast Marketing, All Barcode Systems and Tabco — through the ups and downs they experienced in April 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the month of interviewing these companies, we compiled more stories than we could fit into one article. Below is one such anecdote about ABS’ battle to stay profitable. You can read the full article here.
All Barcode Systems, a bar code printer and system supplier based in Westminster, California, has worked hard to weather the countless complications created by COVID-19. In April, the five-person company was selected by Ford to supply printers and labels — virtually overnight — for the auto giant’s rapid pivot to ventilator production, leading to ABS’s third most profitable month ever. However, President Scott Steiner explains that they have also had to grapple with the bleak reality of their own struggling customers; a quarter of ABS’s accounts were past due at the end of April due to nationwide shutdowns. Steiner also spent hours researching and applying for the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) in the hopes that it will help buoy ABS if business continues to slow down in the coming months.
But as Steiner and ABS strive to stay profitable in the wake of COVID-19 shortages and shutdowns, they have also had to put a transformative organizational change on hold. Steiner could not share details of the venture due to nondisclosure agreements, but the project was slated to grow ABS business by 300% a year for the next five years.
Steiner has been focusing the majority of his time on the project for months and was planning to begin the rollout this fall. However, when COVID-19 closures started creeping down the coast in early March, Steiner made the difficult decision to put the venture — which would target retail — on the back burner.
“When all this started, I was on a conference call with three manufacturers, and my team and I made it known that we were pushing off the launch of this until at least the end of Q1 of 2021 because businesses aren’t making capital investments right now and probably won’t be for the rest of the year,” Steiner says. “Some of our vendor partners asked what the harm is in launching now and at least getting some of the business, but I said that it’s just not the right environment to promote something new that only a small number of companies can use.”
For now, ABS’s new, auspicious chapter will have to wait. Instead, Steiner is continuing to focus on leading his team through the myriad challenges COVID-19 has presented in the hopes that they can roll out the project on more favorable terms next year.
“This was kind of our breakout project, and we were really excited, but now it’s been put on the back burner and delays my retirement for a few years,” Steiner jokes.
Business/Growth Strategies Case Studies and Profiles COVID-19