On The Confidence Index
Last week, Material Handling Network published an article, calling the Monthly Confidence Index for Equipment Finance Industry Steady in July. Pulling data from the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation, it highlighted a number of insights. Among those:
Equipment finance is a $900 billion/year sector.
Overall confidence in the equipment finance market is steady.
95% of equipment finance companies have offered payment deferrals.
A majority of companies (83%) have not furloughed or laid off employees.
Half of those surveyed believe business conditions will remain the same over the next four months.
75% of executives expect no change in headcount over the next four months.
Said one executive, "We are starting to see some spending, possibly pent-up demand, with businesses that had put acquisitions on hold at the onset of COVID-19. Stronger borrowers are looking to take advantage of the situation and tuck in, or otherwise acquire weaker competitors."
Two of our colleagues⏤one a current vendor, one a former vendor⏤echoed The Yard Ramp Guy's experience with recent business trends: a strong first quarter, followed by a dive in early April, followed by a strong uptick in business from mid-April through July.
In any given year, there is a curious dance of trending activity. The late-winter/early spring dip. The spikes and plateaus and steady inclines through the end of the year. Those are generalities. Sometimes we see peaks and valleys that make little sense in our material handling industry or in our associate vendor industries (i.e., freight logistics and equipment finance).
Most interesting about the Confidence Index is the relative steadiness and growth across equipment finance⏤and, by association, material handling⏤is that percentage of confidence. It's reflected in the volume of business we're experiencing, here and now in the midst of a pandemic that remains invisible, dangerous, otherwise disruptive, and ever-troubling.
We have seen a growth in sales and rentals of new and used yard ramps to businesses deemed essential services. Numbers don't lie. And while hope is an unquantifiable entity, we suspect (with reasonable doses of both optimism and practicality) that business in our world remains strong⏤in large part because it must.