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Three Essential Steps for Manufacturers to Endure Through the COVID-19 Crisis

There are three steps that all manufacturers should be taking right now to ensure that not only are they able to endure this extraordinary period of time, but also transition back to everyday operations once the crisis has passed.

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There are three steps that all manufacturers should be taking right now to ensure that not only are they able to endure this extraordinary period of time, but also transition back to everyday operations once the crisis has passed.

As manufacturing businesses throughout the region continue to navigate through the unprecedented disruption caused by the global COVID-19 crisis, many of them have temporarily adapted their business models and continue on a path of productivity. This is, of course, good news for the customers, employees and supply chain members who depend so much on the success of these companies.

There are three steps that all manufacturers should be taking right now to ensure that not only are they able to endure this extraordinary period of time, but also transition back to everyday operations once the crisis has passed.

Safety Still Comes First

Safety still needs to be at the forefront of any manufacturer’s top priorities. Shop workers, line workers, drivers and more—the ones who simply cannot perform their jobs from home—are the ones most at risk, and their safety needs must be considered. To learn more, please select the following link: OSHA guidance for employers.

The proper equipment and tools need to be provided, and for those who are able to work in safer environment, namely from home, the right tools must also be provided to ensure that 1) employees are protected and 2) productivity is not interrupted.

You Can’t Communicate Enough

Every audience a manufacturer has—employees, customers, suppliers, investors, bankers and more—needs to be kept in the loop and regularly updated during this time. It is essential that news of operational adjustments, potential staff adjustments, changes in delivery schedules and general expectations are communicated in a clear and cogent way to ensure there is a steady hand at the wheel and reassure everyone you have a plan to work through this. Proactive communications are critical to keeping people informed and engaged, and everyone on the same page.

This is particularly important with members of the supply chain who are pivotal in keeping manufacturing operations running well. Supplier relationships have changed somewhat for the moment, with many delivery schedules seriously altered due to interstate or even intrastate restrictions. Manufacturers and suppliers need to work together to determine the best alternatives to manage through these potential interruptions.

Manage Risk

Companies must remember that as much as this crisis is a financial risk, it is first and foremost a public health risk, and the safety and welfare of the workforce must always remain a top priority. Ensuring workers remain at a safe social distance from one another on the shop floor is key, as is establishing clear protocols for reporting to superiors in case an employee suspects he or she may have become infected.

And with a potentially diminished workforce due to the virus, either caused by an outbreak or a reduced staff, risk must also be assessed in terms of customer needs. Is the remaining staff adequate to meet the demands of priority customers? Which customers need to be at the front of the line? And what is the risk being incurred by potentially not meeting demands? All of these questions need to be asked.

This crisis will eventually abate and manufacturing operations will be able to return to something at least resembling what normal once was. But in the meantime, these are the internal steps all companies need to be taking to maintain their operations and carry on through this unprecedented time.

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