Ask an Expert | Nick Anastas
Archmill House addresses Coronavirus
Nick Anastas, Senior Estimator at Archmill House in Ontario, Canada discusses the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on their industry as a supplier of architectural millwork and store fixtures. He talks about how they’ve adapted to meet the new, growing needs of their customers and what he predicts for the future of Archmill House.
Doug Mockett: How has the Coronavirus pandemic affected you and your business thus far? Are you able to remain open? If so, what adjustments have you made to your work routine?
Nick Anastas: At Archmill, we have seen an obvious decline in active work. Numerous retail clients have had to defer, delay or cancel proposed works. Many Architectural projects have been affected by Provincial stop-work orders, while others have continued. Lack of continuity and consistency has made navigating the crisis very difficult, requiring extreme flexibility, in all facets, to continue successfully. Our shop facilities and offices remain open, while most office staff have been working remotely, reflecting their workloads. New pandemic-rated works, as well as aggressive cost cutting initiatives, have allowed us to keep our shop staff engaged and minimize layoffs.
DM: What sort of impact have you seen across your industry as a whole?
NA: Architectural Clients are mostly optimistic about restoration of working routines, while Retail clients are cautious about the face of the market, and their ability to make improvements, upgrades, investments in the face of the new economic landscape. Many contracts are not proceeding until the dust settles, and the clients’ confidence in their position in their market is restored.
DM: Do you forecast any long term implications from this experience when business returns to ‘normal’? Do you expect we may see some changes in the way we conduct business going forward?
NA: The slowdowns in the Retail sector will likely continue: new builds are likely to stay overly cautious, especially among independent or smaller corporations; larger entities are likely to resume operations and expect to recoup losses and get back up to speed quickly. Architectural projects that had late 2020 or 2021 completions seem likely try to accelerate schedules to achieve those turnover dates. Schedule compression in the highly skilled trades often causes disruption and, frankly, turmoil. Working from home, remote collaboration, and virtual meetings have proven effective, and will probably remain an employment option that wasn’t considered viable before. Cost cutting measures being used will probably continue, especially measures involving LEAN, 5S and 5R methods that will improve operational efficiencies.
DM: Have you seen new opportunities arise out of this strange and difficult time from a business standpoint? Has there been a silver lining for you in any way?
NA: Archmill House has been able to service our existing, and many new clients needing COVID-19 related products; we have been busy with acrylic guarding, hospital pop-up temporary beds and furniture, and other essential millwork elements. This has not only strengthened our existing relationships, but created new ones; all while doing our part in using our versatile capabilities to render assistance in the pandemic response.
DM: What does the future look like for Archmill House?
NA: One of Archmill’s core values is “Innovation”, our ability to be flexible and adaptive. We’re embracing the opportunity to fill a need for retail worker protection, and we’re thinking outside the box to help guide our customers who need immediate solutions. That includes stronger ties with metal and plastics suppliers and sub-trades, developing product lines that can be rapidly deployed, and increasing our custom capacity. Despite the state of mania/panic that is running rampant these days, we’re accustomed to keeping steady calm during storms. Letting fear dictate actions is not going to lead to success or survival. The Archmill team culture of pulling together is in full effect, and as the needs of our industry change, we’re always in the position of being a solutions provider.
Archmill House is a full-service millwork firm offering turn-key solutions to Architectural woodwork and retail clients across Canada and the US. From Tim Hortons to York University, from Uncle Ray’s Restaurant to Various OLG Casinos across the province, Archmill has built a reputation for versatility, and award winning quality. Over the last decade, Archmill has grown from a 35,000 square-foot plant into multiple facilities that collectively measure close to 100,000 square feet and employ over 130 people. As Senior Estimator at Archmill House, as well as active volunteer roles as GIS Director of AWMAC (Ontario), National AWMAC GIS Chair, and NAAWS Manual contributor, Nick has ongoing contact with industry representatives, manufacturers, millworkers, suppliers and distributors across North America.
For more information on Archmill House and to view some of their recent projects, you can visit them online at www.archmillhouse.com. Or follow them on LinkedIn.
To learn more about AWMAC visit www.awmac.com
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