Manufacturing businesses: A pandemic survival guide
With the COVID-19 pandemic still disrupting business, many companies in the sector are wondering what the future holds for them and whether they’re going to make it. Government support is keeping things together right now. But it is a little bit like trying to repair the Titanic with duct tape after it hit the iceberg. Maybe it’ll hold for a while, but eventually, the reality is going to hit.
A lot of leaders of manufacturing businesses know that things are risky right now. Demand is low, and government support won’t last forever. What’s more, many companies have taken loans from the state to support their cash flow. And a lot of them won’t be able to repay those loans in the future because of lost output today. In short, it’s a mess.
In this guide, we take a look at some of the strategies industrial manufacturing companies can use to weather the storm. Check out the following.
3 tips for manufacturing businesses to look at
1. Increasing productivity
The first step in any manufacturing outfit’s response to current conditions should be to boost productivity.
That might seem like a challenge if you’ve spent the last ten years investing in improvements. But new technologies and opportunities are coming online all the time – even during the present situation. And they’re an opportunity to dramatically change how you operate.
Robotics and automation are the obvious solution but don’t ignore the software side. Predictive maintenance and asset-monitoring are both making a big difference to the life-time expected value of plant and equipment.
2. Recovery planning
Manufacturing businesses also need to engage in purposeful recovery planning and think carefully about the shape their operations will take once the world gets back to normal. Adjusting to the current status quo is imperative. But it’s worth remembering that demand will probably return to normal in the near future. And companies need to be ready to go.
Hiring industrial electricians to ensure that you have the correct fit-out for your facilities is probably the first step. You want to make sure that you can scale your operations the moment lockdowns end and consumer demand recovers.
You also want to ensure that you have the capacity and inventory space to allow you to respond, once orders begin flooding in again. Keep around 30 percent of your capacity dormant so that you can adjust to short-term spikes in orders. Create medium-term plans that will allow you to recover more than 100 percent of your original capacity.
Remember, there are good reasons to expect the economy to snap back. This situation isn’t the same as in 2009 when the financial system was in turmoil. Once incomes start flowing again, demand will recover.
3. Keep employees safe
Lastly, we mustn’t forget about the real physical danger the coronavirus presents to people and the duty of care of companies. As an outfit, you need to protect your employees from the very real dangers that they face. Otherwise, you could face downtime risks.
Ensure that you have a viable onsite risk mitigation strategy. Where possible, maintain social distancing and run shift work.
These are just a few ideas to look into if you work in the manufacturing industry. The future is yet to take shape, however before that happens, it is worthwhile to adjust to the changes that are happening today.
Comment below if you have any other ideas you would add to the current list.