At the end of every year, groups of people everywhere – corporations, small businesses, entrepreneurs, seasoned executives, rising professionals, organizations of all kinds – pause to look back together at the past twelve months and evaluate. Achievements vs unmet goals; accomplishments vs disappointments; expectations vs realities. And, then, we take our “to work on” notes with us into the New Year.
So, how in the world do we evaluate a year (that is, we all pray, a one and done) like 2020?
What did we learn? How well did we live? Did we make something that will last?
The Look Back
In 2020, our team worked hard to faithfully serve our customers during a year of unprecedented global manufacturing, construction, transportation and distribution disruptions, along with months-long universal shut-downs in nearly every sector of our market economy, including the higher education market we serve. In December of 2019 we would never have believed we would witness what we have experienced by the turning of this December.
Yet, in 2020, we:
- continued to design, build and install case goods with superior construction details like mortice and tenon joinery, guaranteed to last 25 years – well beyond this year of pandemic
- stayed the course on our customer-centric approach to meet all the benchmarks, deadlines and budget goals our clients set for us (just as the past 28 years)
- partnered with our clients as they adjusted to new demands such as de-densification, reducing their capacity of density on campus as they move from double and triple occupancy to single
- learned and adapted quickly to the new pandemic restrictions for delivering and installing furniture within widely varying state guidelines
- succeeded in our 28th year of never missing a scheduled install for student move-in whatever that date so our clients could rest easy as their students embark on their campus living experience
- proudly kept our full-time staff and seasonal installation workforce employed throughout the year
- humbly were honored to have four projects ranked by Student Housing Business in the 2020 Top 14 Bed On-Campus Delivery Leaders
- evaluated our logo and messaging and created a new brand promise and image as we introduced Smarter Furnishings to our clients and the marketplace.
So how did we keep our bearings in a year when many businesses could not?
True North is a metaphor for navigating organizational or personal growth by a fixed, unchanging point. For us, True North, established by our founder thirty years ago, is building value from the inside out – whether it’s focusing on the personal character we are developing or the quality of furniture we are crafting. Johnny Tipton’s legacy taught us that because what matters most is what is on the inside, you must build furniture as you build character – from the inside out.
Every team member at Smarter Furnishings serves our clients by this company-building principle. Just listen to a few of them:
“Not everyone can work here. You have to be a person of character and care. That started with our founder … that means people care about each other and the customers before themselves.”
“I strive to treat people how I want to be treated … it is a timeless principle that is still true and effective, because of who said it, and because it’s woven into humanity’s hearts and minds.”
“In a family company built on character and care, my role with clients is to care more about their furniture than they do … which spans from our first interaction to the finish of a successful installation.”
“Our team members treat the company, our customers, and our opportunities as if they owned the business with no compromise with mediocrity. That shared culture of stewardship is just the right way to be.”
“Wherever we work within our company, we all adhere to our ‘whatever it takes’ philosophy of customer service. Our crews will go above and beyond to always finish and meet client deadlines.”
The Road Ahead
We all wish this unprecedented year had just Zoomed by. It did not. But as it finally closes, we can testify 2020 was undeniably a character- building year. You would expect no less in a year full of such professional challenges, personal trials and for far too many, hardship and loss of all kinds.
So, how will our company navigate, going forward in 2021?
We will continue to operate as we have for three decades – focusing on the principles and practices, the solutions and innovations that emerge from the rock-solid foundation of character. Every day. That is how we have always found you continue to learn, live well and build something of value that will last. You can count on that from us.
The Apostle Paul in Ephesians admonishes us to give thanks to God in all things. In a hard year, we are yet so grateful for the many blessings we have enjoyed. Chief among those, is the close friendship and loyalty of our clients. We pray for you and your families to receive all of God’s richest blessings, His comfort and joy, throughout this Holy season and into the New Year.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
Your Smarter Furnishings Team