Editorial: Looking forward to 2023
Patrick FlanneryFeatures Business Intelligence
Our best-laid plans for the year ahead.
I mean the title of this column in both senses. I’m “looking forward” to 2023 here to give some sense of what’s ahead both for the industry and this channel. But I’m also looking forward to the year with perhaps some more optimism than I did the last couple.
The obvious difference from this time last year is the receding of COVID as a major factor impacting our businesses. Last January, we were all facing the disappointment of the Omicron surge that put Ontario, at least, back into partial lockdown following a fall where we had begun to hope that the whole thing was nearing its end. That proved to be the final straw for a lot of people who took to the streets in the various convoy protests, and we started the year with a depressing sense that there are deeper divisions in this country than we had suspected. Also, the ongoing supply chain issues from 2021 and the start of the Urkaine war were starting to produce the non-transitory kind of inflation.
Things look a lot better now. Ukraine looks to be winning. Rental store owners and suppliers told me at the Rental Mart last September that, with a few exceptions, they had been able to get the equipment and parts they needed in the last half of the year without a problem. Prices, having gone up, will of course be slow to come back down, but the rate of increase has steadied and it seems likely that higher interest rates will stabilize inflation roughly where it is and hopefully reverse it in a controlled manner. The danger of a catastrophic COVID outbreak appears to be over and everyone is getting back to in-person gatherings with a renewed appreciation for how important they are for our business relationships.
So it’s going to be a full slate of travel for me this year. By the time you read this, I’ll have already attended Landscape Ontario’s Congress in the second week of January and be just about to depart for the ARA Show in Orlando (where there will be not one but two Canadian attendee gatherings to choose from). I’ll barely have landed back from that before it will be time for the Canadian Concrete Expo in Toronto. The Canadian Rental Association has a lovely location for its early March Western Conference this year in Banff, Alta. Then it’s the big one: a week at ConExpo in Las Vegas. Finally, there’s Quebexpo in Drummondville, Que., though it’s an open question if I’ll have any energy left for that one.
Here at Canadian Rental Service you’ll be getting a little less paper from us in 2023 and a little more digital communication. We’re going down to seven print issues per year, but ramping up our newletter offerings with special mailings focused on key topic areas like landscaping, compaction, construction heat and aerial equipment. It’s an off-year for the Rental Mart, but we’re going to look at opportunities for online learning and conversation.
My resolution for 2023 is to slow down and take care. I felt COVID created a certain frantic aspect to everything that didn’t entirely fade once the worst of the pandemic passed. Scrambling to get too much done in too little time leads to mistakes. This year I want to be able to think before I decide and make a plan before I act. With any luck, that’s going to lead to a better product and service for you. Happy New Year!
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