Scraponomics Episode 113: Be water, my friend.

Dec 31, 2015, 02:00 PM

“Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. Now, if you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” — Bruce Lee

Well, 2015 has certainly thrown our industry for a loop.

At the beginning of the year, the commodity market for ferrous iron dropped in half, and proceeded to drop even further as the year progressed. If you follow Scraponomics, you probably noticed each episode getting darker and darker as the bad news just kept on coming.

We’re busier than ever. That’s not the problem. There’s just not enough of a market right now. The problem isn’t unique to Friedland. It’s an industry wide, nationwide issue. While we’ve had to lay off a few employees, other companies have gone out of business because of it.

As the year comes to a close, I think the most important reflection, for me (and this will get a bit stoic, so bear with me), is that nothing is stable, no matter what industry you’re in or how you spend your time. Really, the only constant seems to be change.

But rather than fight the instability, it helps to move and adapt with it. As soon as you embrace the volatility of the world, you begin to find ways to work through whatever obstacles you come across.

In a way, the scrap industry has always done this. It’s gone from horse-drawn carriages to rocket ships to “green” movements, and as commodities have changed, the industry has changed along with them.

The scrap industry will always be around, and Friedland will flow, like water, with whatever changes the industry sees.

We’ll see what form it takes next.

Happy New Year, and be water, my friends.

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