“Already, manufacturers are grappling with disruptions to their businesses due to the COVID-19 outbreak, with many anticipating financial and operational consequences—even before some of the developments of this week,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons in his recent proclamation following the release of the National Association of Manufacture’s survey regarding the industry impact of COVID-10 on www.nam.org. “The federal government can take steps to further equip manufacturers to deal with COVID-19 by implementing the NAM’s COVID-19 Policy Action Plan Recommendations.”
It’s a serious ask in these serious times. The survey, which ran from February 20th to March 9th – just prior to the large-scale national calls to action to distance oneself socially, which, obviously plays a role in how workplaces manage their employees. While many industries can easily adapt to a “work from home” environment, this is not the case in the manufacturing industry.
The aforementioned survey that NAM released found the following results amongst industry owners/leaders:
- 78.3% Anticipate a financial impact
- 53.1% Anticipate a change in operations
- 35.5% Are facing supply chain disruptions
And this is only the beginning.
Here in the Northeast, manufactures are bracing themselves for a bumpy road ahead, and are attempting to stay ahead of the curve, which poses a significant challenge in itself.
Londonderry’s MuShield Company is one such organization that has a plan in place that is being finessed on a daily basis – a rolling task that has really never been seen or experienced before. That said, the action is imperative.
“We are still in the dark like many other hands on’ service companies,” voiced MuShield’s VP of Sales and Marketing, Luke Grilli. “Businesses in the banking or finance industry can easily work from home since their operating systems are likely cloud based and digital. Schools around the country are setting up an online curriculum for the next month (plus). Unfortunately, we cannot have our employees take the IPG Laser or Cincinnati Hydroform home with them and set them up in their living room while we ride this pandemic out. “
We hope the result in all that we’re experiencing here is only a minimal disturbance in our day-to-day operation, but again, we really don’t know. Nor will we until it all unfolds. What we do know is that MuShield will take every step possible in our collective power to limit the spread of this disease and we will continue to support our employees and their families, while keeping our customers abreast of our status.”
MuShield has initiated a recently renewed/revisited company policy that includes:
Employees that are showing symptoms of the Coronavirus, any other illness, or that have been in direct contact with someone who is being tested for or has been diagnosed with the Coronavirus, have been told to stay home
Practice “social distancing” when feasible at home and at work
Employees, if possible, should maintain a minimum distance of 6 feet while interacting
Restructuring/organizing the shop floor to move equipment and stations to adhere to proper “space” requirements with regard to potential transmission of disease/virus
Limit the amount of personnel needed for internal meetings
Limiting visitors to those who have pertinent and time sensitive business with MuShield
Educating our employees on best practices to limit the spread of the Coronavirus (hand washing, coughing into your elbow, limit touching common surfaces, use your own pen etc.)
What are you doing in your facility to ensure that production continues on and doesn’t bring the industry to a standstill? There’s no doubt that the industry will experience some weakening in the immediate future, but banding together will enable a quicker bounce-back.
There are ways to keep your employees healthy without entirely cutting off the manufacturing process.
- Provide bolstered sanitation products and tools
- Hand sanitizer
- Plenty of soap
- Plenty of paper towels
- Put a policy in place to “clean up” with regard to personal hygiene and machine/tool sanitation. Keeping the floor clean will deter the spread of germs.
- As was mentioned in MuShield’s statement above, consider reconfiguring the layout of your floor to ensure appropriate “distancing” measures.
- Be cautious of incoming and outgoing packages. Wipe them down before handling, and, employ the standard of wearing gloves.
While we await NAM’s call-to-action and whether or not government officials will offer some sort of protection for the manufacturing industry, there are ways to keep things moving. It’s not necessarily a “business-as-usual” proposition, but rather, how do we work smarter in this time of pandemic? How do we proceed with “caution”?
Don’t fear, persevere. Together we can keep America’s manufacturing sector strong, and prosperous. But that starts with considering how we can best take care of our internal teams. Another piece of the puzzle here is to manage expectation and keep the lines of communication steadier than ever, both internally and externally. Keep people abreast of your unique situation so we can all best proceed in a forward direction. If we lead by example, the rest of the industry will follow suit.