COVID-19 Exposes the Best & Worst in Business Partners

Earnest J. Morgan
3 min readApr 3, 2020


Building industry professionals will remember who treated them well, and who didn’t. For proof, rewind back to the last recession.

It is safe to say these past few weeks have been among some of the most tumultuous and emotional that any of us can remember in our lifetimes. The response of this pandemic has been extraordinary; as much for what it has required for the construction and built environment as for what it has revealed of suppliers.

The COVID-19 crisis is an opportunity for a Supplier to show how much it cares about the building industry, their enterprise customers.

Courtesy of Gia Rodriguez Studios

Let’s look at examples from a few world-class brands…

  • Gia Rodriguez, luxury leather bags and accessories designer, converts studio factory to deliver personal protective equipment.
  • Honeywell converted a factory to deliver N95 masks.
  • New England Patriots sends team aircraft to shuttle personal protective equipment.
  • Home Depot executes issues ‘stop sale’ order for N95 masks, donates them to healthcare workers.
  • Legrand AV converted factory to manufacture personal protective equipment.
  • Hilton Hotels & Resorts is lessening their cancellation policies.
Courtesy of United Airlines
  • United Airlines is waving their change fees for flights, leveraging assets to transport stranded travelers, and moving personal protective equipment to areas in need.

The health and safety of employees, customers, partners have been, and continue to be, top priority for many manufacturers, distributors and installing professionals.

I was unsuccessful finding many COVID-19 goodwill examples presented by home technology manufacturers or suppliers. Although, it’s been amazing to see Amazon, Apple and Google marshaling resources of technology, products and supply chain teams to make a significant difference.

Right now, challenges abound, and budgets are tight — that’s where real partnership is required.

Construction companies will need extraordinary support to weather the unfavorably challenges initiated by COVID-19. This will mean Manufacturers and Suppliers will need to rethink payment terms and or margins. Most Construction professionals will give Suppliers an opportunity to do the right thing, with little patience for partners that play games.

Construction and Built Environment Professionals have long memories. Suppliers with a true omni-channel perspective will separate from the heard…especially if they focus on the client experience for each persona (i.e. Wholesaler, Trade Professional, Builder or Developer).

If you believe that downturns always precede an upturn, the great uncertainty is the shape and timing of the V recovery.

History suggests a return invariably comes…and when it does, trade professionals are likely to reward manufacturers and suppliers that stood by them during the crisis.

While much remains unclear, one thing is for sure: this crisis will pass and we’ll come out stronger than ever.