Like other businesses and industries, the cold chain logistics segment is feeling the effects of the global downturn and economic deterioration. There have been some dramatic declines in distribution and storage activities, as well as with sales of services.

The effectiveness — and timeframe — for the $787-billion stimulus package from the Obama Administration is unknown, especially in the short term.

All of this continues to place increasing pressure on doing business.

As a consequence, companies are working even more diligently to control and reduce costs. Sadly, this is sometimes being done at the detriment to the business. Much too often, when the economy and businesses weaken, one of the first things companies do is cut training, safety, and marketing.

Yet intuitively, it just makes sense to continue investments in these three operational areas because of the numerous benefits they produce.

Trained workers remain safe and productive. They perform their jobs faster, make less mistakes, and contribute to their company's bottom line.

Effective safety programs and processes prevent workplace accidents. When employees avoid unsafe practices and behaviors, they reduce the risk of injury to not only themselves, but to others around them. This contributes to significant operational savings, including reduced insurance and worker compensation costs.

Then there's the reduction in marketing and prospecting for new business and customers. The feeling is why bother? Business is down, so we'll wait for things to get better.

So right away, by merely continuing your marketing and prospecting efforts you have an advantage. You'll also have more time to spend with prospects and customers. Because business is slow, they will not have as much to do as they did when business was booming.

The more successful companies remain strong by increasing marketing and new business prospecting efforts when business is down. They consider it an investment that will help make them more competitive and profitable when business turns around.

Have some courage, think more strategically, and don't be afraid to make mistakes.

I remember my dear dad's advice when I went through a business failure. He asked me: “Did you stop trying because you failed, or did you fail because you stopped trying?”

He then asked me if I'd ever heard of Ty Cobb and Max Carey. I knew of Cobb — a great baseball player, but not Carey.

Cobb's record for stealing 96 bases in one season stood for many years, my dad told me. Carey also was a talented baseball player. One season he attempted 53 stolen bases and succeeded 51 times — a success rate of 96%.

The year Cobb set the record with 96 steals, he tried 134 times — a rate of only 71%, my dad pointed out.

The moral: Cobb was willing to chance failure and, because of it, became legendary in baseball. Carey, who played it safe, isn't remembered.

Which are you more like?

I welcome your thoughts and comments.