How COVID-19 is Transforming the Manufacturing Industry [Share Your Story]
Staff posted on May 20, 2020 |
Rapid Direct shares their story on how manufacturing may change for the future.

This is an important message to the engineering.com community. Messages that are informative, helpful and relevant to COVID-19 will be posted here as a special service during our time of crisis. Messages are not written by engineering.com. If you have a COVID-19 story or message, please submit here.

The world is currently in a state of confusion as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to exert an influence not just over the way people go about their lives, but across all aspects of industry and commerce worldwide. The manufacturing industry has seen the effects of the pandemic become clear very quickly, with myriad changes in the way things are being managed, so how will manufacturing companies handle the crisis in both the short and long term?

Short Term Solution

The problem for manufacturing is more difficult than for other areas of industry and commerce. For example, where businesses are largely desk-oriented, the enforced shut-down of offices and necessity of those able to work remotely from home to do so means that while things may slow down and become a little more complex, they can continue. In manufacturing, machine operators – in general – need to be at the machine, the result of which is that production has stopped.

This, in turn, affects the next in line company waiting to use those products and components that are no longer being produced. Supply chains break down very quickly. Some manufacturing outfits have been able to bring a small number of outsourced items back in house. Others, faced with around 40% of staff no longer being able to attend, have switched tooling to help the medical industry in its time of need, something that has caught the eye of many in the industry, and highlighted the potential of adaptation in the CNC machining services industry as a future way of getting back on track.

In the short term, there is no option but for some manufacturing businesses to cease production, and the knock-on effect has been quickly felt.

Long Term Revival

There is no doubt that manufacturing will resume soon, although undoubtedly several smaller firms may well find they have suffered too badly to survive. In general, however, the ‘New Normal’ for manufacturing – to use a phrase that is popular right now – will be a combination of traditional and what has been revealed as possible by the enforced changes.

It may be that larger firms begin bringing their outsourced parts in-house. Furthermore, sharing may also become more commonplace. This has already been prevalent in the automobile market for many years now, with examples of different manufacturers sharing – for example – one chassis platform for various models, thus reducing the cost considerably and increasing output and convenience.

Automation will also become more commonplace, and undoubtedly there will be some companies looking at the possibility of remote operation of automated machinery. There is, in some ways, the possibility of a new ‘Industrial Revolution’ in which systems are reviewed and altered.

One area that has been exposed as out of date is the current reliance on traditional supply chain methods. One outbreak of a restrictive virus in, for example, China – even if contained – brings the rest of the world’s manufacturing industry to a halt. This is the main area of concentration for those planning for the future regeneration of the manufacturing industry.

Article by Rapid Direct.

Recommended For You