Q: You have plant locations all over the U.S. Is everyone healthy? Is everyone working?
Hoskins: Everybody is healthy, and I think happy that they're still working. We have 10 facilities in Canada, the United States and in the Caribbean. Our medical facilities have been up throughout this entire event.
Q: I know you are not one to sit on your hands and wait out something even as big as a pandemic. What's EG working on these days?
Hoskins: A lot of it stems around coming back up, right? We are taking the time to work on systems or processes. We are building a strong strategy and tactics about how we are going to reengage with our customer base, our supplier base. We're going into a world where the norms are going to change. And at the same time making sure the medical device manufacturers that we supply critical parts to are being serviced. We're focused on the future. How can we improve? How can we make sure that we're prepared for another event like this, be stronger, better, smarter than we were going in?
Q: What are the big medical clients saying? What do they need right now from EG and other suppliers?
Hoskins: Unfettered support and knowing that our facilities are going to be there to run and support them throughout this time. Their supply chain has been significantly interrupted with the shutting down of our borders and the issues going on in Asia. That we have protocols and procedures in place to protect them and their product lines. As elective surgeries have gone down, our surgical business, like everybody's, has been affected. Although, I think we're all looking towards a pent-up demand coming through as this reopens.
Q: Medical has always been a major market for plastics. It feels to me that medical will only get bigger, especially in the short term. Is that your view as well?
Hoskins: Yes, there's a couple of things at play. Obviously, the pandemic brings laser focus to the medical industry in the medical profession and the devices and keeping supplies stocked.
But I think the other thing we have to look at is our aging population. The medical industry has been in a growth period; I think we'll continue to stay in it. I think you're going to see a lot of new technologies also come out of the medical industry. Robotic surgery has been growing at a great rate, and I think it's going to continue to do that as well as telemedicine.
I think there's going be growth, but not necessarily in the call it the traditional areas. I think it's going to open up a new group of areas for us to all walk into as well.
Q: Are there other bright spots in other end markets that you can point to?
Hoskins: The consumer and industrial markets haven't fluctuated a great deal. I think like everyone, they're excited for our country to open back up. Going into the summer, for certain consumer goods, that's a better time of the year.
Q: Let's talk a little bit about your role: chief commercial officer. How do you keep a sales team engaged with their customers when they're not allowed to go visit them?
Hoskins: One of the things that we're doing as an organization, we call it EGnight 2020. We can reinvigorate, reengage and kind of restart our relationships with everyone and reach out and help revitalize our business. We're reaching out to everybody because we want to find out their opinions. We're doing a series of surveys so we can better understand the world around us. And then around that, working closely, making sure that we're emailing and talking to all of our strategic partners on an almost daily basis. The rest of our customer base we're making sure that we're in touch with them at least once a week.
Q: What keeps you up at night?
Hoskins: The funny answer would be that my dog who decides to wake up at two o'clock in the morning barking, that's what keeps me up.
But the reality is that we keep focused on what's important, that we have a country that needs to be running and that we need to make sure that we keep our people employed. We've got to find our way back from this. We've got to overcome this. And we've got to have a clear, clean, sane, data-driven and science-driven judgment to take care of this and make sure we can move forward as a country.
I think the most important thing is still putting the patient first. We're in medical devices; we're here for patients. Now more than ever, that means something that we've taken that whole patient-centric focus to an entirely new level. I guess I worry that after this is all over, we go back to the way we were. That we didn't learn something from this.