Within his busy spring schedule, we had a chance to sit down with Newstripe President Ralph Newman to get is thoughts about emerging trends in company’s core businesses, which include the manufacturing of products and equipment for Field Striping, Commercial Striping, and Industrial Recycling.
How are Newstripe customers reacting to the gradual loosening of Covid-19 restrictions?
The volume of orders we’ve seen this spring has been truly amazing and our April sales were the highest we’ve seen since our founding in 1981. It seems that customers across all three of our businesses have come out of hibernation with renewed excitement to get back to business as usual. While this means some long days for the team at Newstripe, we really enjoy interacting with customers from across the country and helping them find the right products to get their job done.
Are you seeing any emerging trends that you’d like to highlight?
In our field striping business, we’re seeing growing interest in GPS-enabled machines that can stripe an athletic field in auto-steering mode in record times. While these machines require a significant upfront investment, the ongoing labor savings is impressive and they are a hot topic among large users. We’re also hearing interest from our commercial customers for similar GPS technologies for their pavement and warehouse striping projects.
In our industrial recycling business, customers continue to navigate the ever-changing local, state, and federal regulations about the proper recycling and disposal of their industrial waste. This generates lots of questions from customers that we are happy to help answer. We’re also seeing companies continue to position their recycling efforts as a positive attribute in their company branding efforts which we fully support.
Any trends on the digital and e-commerce front?
The digital side of Newstripe’s business continues to grow across all market segments and it was put into overdrive during the past year of Covid restrictions where customers engaged technology at a breathtaking pace. Lately, we’re seeing an increased demand to combine digital functionality with our in-person product and service support teams to deliver an integrated customer experience.
Are there emerging trends in the supply line for parts and supplies?
Currently, the supply chain is in pretty dismal shape. Unlike the typically slow recovery from a recession, no one expected the “pandemic recovery” to be so quick and robust. Like many domestic manufacturing companies, raw materials, parts, and supplies have been a little harder to obtain due to production slowdowns related to the pandemic. Luckily, Newstripe stocked up ahead of time to minimize these issues for our customers. We’re now seeing gradual improvement on the supply front and expect the situation to resolve itself in the next 6-12 months.
Any closing thoughts you’d like to share?
I just wanted to thank our great customers, distribution partners, and our Newstripe team members for their dedication, loyalty, and flexibility during the last 12 months. It was a unique period of time for everyone and we stood by each other to work through it. I’m looking forward to what the rest of the year may bring.