The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

The Challenges in Downsizing

Distributors across many sectors face a decision many never faced before: whether to implement layoffs. This article offers insight from two distributors on deciding who, when and how, as well as expert opinion on best practices in this difficult time.

Business is off about 40 percent from a year ago for one industrial distributor in the Midwest. As a result, for the first time in 22 years, the owner has had to lay off roughly a fifth of his small staff. It was one of the worst days of my life, he says.

The fear in employees' eyes as they walked to the conference room the day the layoffs were announced was palpable, he says. The process has taken an emotional toll on him and the remaining workers. For many distributors, a dramatic drop in demand in the ...


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