As the Covid-19 continues to spread, various industries like manufacturing face significant operational issues. Some businesses have closed their doors temporarily due to a decline in demand or restrictions placed by governments, while others meet increased requirements for essential goods. Manufacturing companies have had to look for ways to remain productive and keep their employees safe. They get ready to manage the risks of a prolonged crisis with many uncertainties. Despite the economic difficulties, manufacturing industries have used their creativity to devise unique solutions for handling the new normal.
Changes in Production
By invoking the Defense Production Act, the United States government called for companies to produce ventilators. However, many companies switched their production work willingly to ensure they continue generating revenue and output when their regular sources decline or run dry. It also helps them boost their reputation by taking part in fighting the pandemic.
Many companies, including beauty companies and breweries, have pivoted to creating face shields while automobile companies have resorted to producing ventilators. Furthermore, 3D printing businesses started using their printers for medical masks, respirator valves, and many other healthcare supplies.
Manufacturing plants can easily create simple protection and hygiene products by conducting primary research, design, and using adapting equipment; within a few days, they will have hand sanitizers and face masks. For instance, besides the precious metal and coins that the Royal Mint based in Wales usually produces, the company began making plastic visors in late March to help protect the health workers.
While many workers operating in other sectors have been working from home to minimize the spread of the virus and adhere to the governments’ quarantine and lockdown rules, those working at manufacturing plants to produce essential products cannot take their work home a break. These people have to keep the factories running to avoid shortages, but they also have to stay safe.
Manufacturing companies have implemented various guidelines to maintain physical distancing. For example, employees of Century Pacific Food that produce sardines and tuna brands must put on face masks and shields at all times. These foot markers at the company ensure that the workers maintain the recommended safe distance.
Companies have also lowered the human resources in the plants to prevent overcrowding and give more breaks to allow employees to disinfect. Before entering their work premises, workers also undergo daily screening to check their temperatures, clean at foot baths, and thoroughly wash their hands. Employers have placed hand sanitizer dispensers at strategic locations to facilitate frequent disinfection.
Many manufacturing businesses have also given their workers protective equipment such as face masks, manufacturing gowns, and hairnets. Workers who interact with their colleagues use face shields for an extra protection layer. Additionally, the arrangement of tables and seats in employee resting areas observe proper physical distancing of at least six feet.
Besides reminding their workers to observe physical distancing, sanitize regularly, and wear protecting equipment, many manufacturing companies have placed tape markers to ensure workers maintain at least one meter from each other.
Increased Focus on Technology
Many manufacturers who had given digital transformation little effort before the outbreak have since incorporated new technologies into the production and management processes and adapted digital solutions. Manufacturing companies are dealing with supply chain and operation issues and having the techniques to share and examine data from various activities helps remotely. Doing so helps to facilitate collaboration and swiftly make smart decisions related to supply chain and production.
Manufacturing companies, including those with robust contingency plans, are now operating, updating policies, and making and altering decisions on the fly. Furthermore, companies are now upgrading their technologies and equipment mainly to promote and maintain the safety of their workforce and other people.
Although COVID- 19 has caused devastating effects on the life we had grown to know, it is great to see how people, governments, and companies have united to find innovative solutions. Manufacturing companies are dealing with the immediate effects and looking forward to ways to remain sustainable.