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8|May 2020
The Small Business
Owner’s Guide to the
Helpful sources to keep your business going in a slowdown or stoppage of new contracts
How Lean is Your Shop?
Slippery rock Gazette
      The programs and initiatives in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by Congress are in- tended to assist business owners with whatever needs they have right now. When implemented, there will be many new resources available for small businesses, as well as certain non-profits and other employers. This guide pro- vides information about the major programs and initiatives that will soon be available from the Small Business Administration (SBA) to address these needs, as well as some additional tax provisions that are outside the scope of SBA.
To keep up to date on when these programs become avail- able, please stay in contact with your local Small Business Administration (SBA) District Office, which you can locate at .
Struggling to get started? The following questions might help point you in the right direction.
Do you need...
• Capital to cover the cost of retaining employees? Then the Paycheck Protection Program might be right for you.
• A quick infusion of a smaller amount of cash to cover you
right now? You might want to look into an Emergency Economic Injury Grant.
• To ease your fears about keeping up with payments on your current or potential SBA loan? The Small Business Debt Relief Program could help.
• Just some quality, free coun- seling to help you navigate this uncertain economic time? The resource partners might be your best bet.
If you already know what re- sources you’re looking for, the table of contents on the sba web- site can direct you to more in- formation about the program or assistance product you need.
One example of assistance are Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans. The program would provide cash-flow assistance through 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency. If employers maintain their payroll, the loans would be forgiven, which would help workers remain employed, as well as help affected small businesses and our economy snap-back quicker after the cri- sis. PPP has a host of attractive features, such as forgiveness of up to 8 weeks of payroll based on employee retention and salary levels, no SBA fees, and at least six months of deferral with max- imum deferrals of up to a year. Small businesses and other eligi- ble entities will be able to apply if they were harmed by COVID-19 between February 15, 2020 and June 30, 2020.
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temporary, but the businesses we have all built up for decades are lasting. We are all running lean, and that is not necessarily a bad thing.
Display It
Slabs are one of the most ex- pensive investments in a shop, but many times they are unorganized and displayed like they are not important. Take this time to photo- graph and organize your material and create your virtual showroom for customer viewing.
Are you doing some tasks man- ually that you can automate or use machinery to complete them in a more efficient manner? Identify activities consuming your high labor hours and try find alterna- tive options. Polishing all your flat edges by hand? Why not put the tops through a horizontal/ver- tical inline machine 1st or utilize your CNC more if the capacity is available.
Straighten It
Your team should determine the proper spot for everything in your facility, down to carts and A-frames. Determine the proper flow of materials in order to ensure the most efficient spot. Map each station with the location for each tool, cart, supply, etc. to create a complete facility layout.
Shine On
Clean everything top to bottom, because a clean work environment is a safe and healthy work envi- ronment. This step improves team morale and productivity. Keep it clean daily, so it doesn’t get overwhelming.
“You can think of your shop as a junk drawer. The more you have stuffed in there, the more difficult it is to find things you need, and not drop things. If you clean the drawer out to your key essential
imes are tough, but our industry is tougher. The Coronavirus pandemic is
During the Coronavirus event– or during any business slowdown–is a good time to evaluate your shop and processes, and look for ways to streamline operations to be ready, leaner and better when business is back to normal.
So what are some things you can do improve efficiencies or eliminate waste and disorder? According to Braxton-Bragg’s new CNC Director, Peter Hauser, who is implementing the company’s new shop optimization program suggests the following:
Safety First
Always take safety into account in all you do. From the way you move and store your slabs to the way you clean your facility, safety is top priority. Evaluate your shop and its ability to run safely. Can you move stone more efficiently? There are tons of material handling tools on the market, and enhanced protective gear and products to or- ganize and make your job simpler and safer.
Sort It Out
Take inventory with a fresh set of eyes and remove all non-essential items and materials. This includes scanning all desks, fabrication sta- tions, machines, mezzanines, and the addition. Store non-critical items for a few weeks and if the items have not utilized in that time, remove or discard.
equipment and streamline your processes, things run smoothly and you get the result you want for your customers, employees and your bottom line,” said Hauser.
A slowdown is great time to re- view and implement an equipment maintenance program. Whether hand tools or CNC routers, every- thing runs better and longer when properly maintained. For example: carts might need new wheels, work tables or saw beds might need re- surfacing – any tool or piece of equipment requiring maintenance is fair game for some TLC.
Standardized Procedures
Are all policies and procedures up to date? From unloading stone, through all stages of fabrication, to loading a completed top onto the install truck, there should be a standard operating procedure to ensure everyone is on the same page and operating at the highest efficiencies.
Slowdowns in business are scary and stressful. They can also pro- vide opportunities for owners and managers to work on the business rather than in the business, al- lowing you to come out a better, stronger, and ultimately a more profitable company.
For more information on a shop optimization program, contact Peter Hauser, p.hauser@braxton- or call 815-275-0366.
    “Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it.”
— Dwight D. Eisenhower
Advice on Optimizing Your Shop from CNC Expert Peter Hauser
Use down time or slack time to photograph and organize your material and create your own virtual showroom.

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