So, what's next?
With economies starting to open back up, businesses must navigate a restart that's anything but certain as COVID-19 remains a threat.
Businesses, in the best of times, can find making money difficult. And, in the worst of times, that can feel impossible. But rubber industry companies are learning to cope.
"We, as a company, are doing a great job of managing through this crisis, making tough but required decisions, investing in our safety and putting forth the efforts to support our customers," said Chris Koch, CEO of Carlisle Companies Inc. "While all that was positive, we also made one of the toughest decisions for any leader and leadership to make—to lay off a significant number of people.
"The layoffs were doubly hard because they were really the result of the impact the COVID-19 virus has had on airline travel and, ultimately, demand for new aircraft from Boeing and Airbus," Koch said.
Carlisle also reported that its interconnect technology work force in Dongguan, China, is back to full force, and the company's brake and friction location in Orzinuovi, Italy, has reopened as well.
"One note in China and in Italy, despite the positive news of return to work, everyone continues to follow the guidelines and rules that have limited the impact of COVID-19 at Carlisle," Koch said. "They continue to practice social distancing, conduct extra cleaning, segregate employee groups, and take other actions to limit transmission of the virus. It is essential we all do this. We are managing this well and are now benefiting from following the best practices."
New challenges, opportunities
At West Pharmaceutical Services Inc., the pandemic provides both challenges and opportunities.
"As we enter the second quarter, the demand for our products continues to be solid from both existing customers as well as new opportunities from companies looking to develop COVID-19 solutions," CEO Eric Green said. "Each day seems to bring new challenges—supply chain, transportation, government regulations. And I want to emphasize that across West, we're operating with a sense of urgency to address and manage these issues.
"Although these are trying times, we are optimistic and dedicated to doing what is necessary: supporting the health care industry, as it works to resolve this global pandemic. We will emerge from this experience collectively stronger," he said.
West Pharmaceutical makes packaging components and delivery systems for injectable drugs and health care products, much-needed components of the COVID-19 battle.
"We are supporting our many customers that are developing potential solutions to address COVID-19 with components for diagnostics, antiviral therapeutics and vaccines," Green said. "We are confident in our long-term growth strategy."
'Constant juggling act'
Off-highway tire maker Titan International Inc. recently said 2019 was one of the most challenging in its 35-year history and thought 2020 was going to provide an earnings rebound.
But then COVID-19 hit and all bets were off.
"Needless to say, we now find ourselves in the midst of a pandemic of historic proportions, and much has changed in the two months since our last earnings call," Titan CEO Paul Reitz said in a conference call with the investment community.
"In response to the virus pandemic, Titan has managed our business operations during the first quarter quite successfully, and we've really adapted to a changing marketplace quite well. However, overall visibility into demand remains quite limited as OEMs continue to adjust their production schedules," Reitz said. "We do have certain customers stating they believe the second half of the year will make up for a good chunk of lost sales."