A Conversation with Boxman CEO David Campbell
April 1, 2020
From the founding of Boxman Studios, David Campbell has strongly believed in the ability of modular construction to meet a range of business needs. From quick service restaurants to retail pop-ups, marketing experiences to educational pods for learning, modular units are a nimble, fast-to-market solution. So, how can Boxman continue to reinvent itself to meet client needs in a changing economy?
What do you think of when you look back at Boxman’s early days?
I’m so glad I listened to my gut and took a chance. I came up with the idea for Boxman Studios after the stock market collapse in 2008, pairing my background in commercial real estate with the idea to reuse decommissioned shipping containers. It sounded crazy and it was a gamble, but I knew there was potential in the concept. I try not to look back too much, but recent changes in the economy remind me of those early days and that undercurrent of potential that I felt.
What is your outlook these days?
I’m concerned for all of us, the economy and how we will fare long term – but I’m also more optimistic right now than I have been in a long time. Boxman has not taken a cautious position because we know we can’t sit back on our heels and wait to be told what to do. We know that our modular units can help with a range of business needs and we are anxious to bring those ideas to reality. Our inquiries have increased over the last few weeks as people think through solutions that will keep businesses afloat and help communities. I know that idea lightbulbs are going off everywhere, and that’s reason to be optimistic.
How has the changing economy impacted Boxman?
Recently, we redesigned our manufacturing in order to become even more efficient, allowing us to focus on new verticals while increasing our production throughput. By integrating systems and changing how a project moves through the production process, we estimate being able to cut production time by 25%. It’s given us a chance to finally slow down and look at where we want to take the company. We’ve spent time planning, talking about projects we’ve always wanted to complete and taken a hard look at our business strategy. With that said, planning and strategy are great, but we are acting and pushing forward so we can use this time to come out stronger, helping other businesses along the way.
What do you mean by that – how can Boxman be a solution in this economy?
I believe the people and companies who will be successful in the current economic climate and going forward are the ones who take a deep breath, look around and said, “What can I do? How can I help my employees? How can my business help my community? How can we get through this together?” Those people are my kind of people. If someone has an idea for a modular unit to be part of the solution, we can build it.
Maybe medical staffs need a unit where they can rest at the end of the day or perhaps our modular units can serve a purpose at virus testing sites across the country. Maybe a local restaurant needs a quick drive-through solution because they had to stop construction on a rebuild and are worried about losing their customers forever. We are not limited to one vertical and we are here to help companies save their year, economically and otherwise.
How long does it take to build out a modular unit?
It depends on the design and purpose of the unit, but we can turn things as quickly as we need to in order to meet a need in the community. We also have rental units on site that can quickly be adapted for use in a number of days. I would suggest that if someone has an idea for their business regarding a modular unit, reach out or give us a call.
Any words of advice for companies trying to navigate these waters?
People are trying to position themselves for success. Many companies will shutter. My want is for my organization to understand the opportunity we have to help businesses pivot. What a shame it would be if we looked back, along with sociologists and historians and realize we all missed an opportunity. I firmly believe that action during these times is paramount, that we will be better as a community in the long term as long as we are working toward a common goal. Let’s figure this out together.