Clearly domestic manufacturing is reviving slowly but surely from the aftermath of Covid-19. A significant percentage of the country is vaccinated with the vast majority expected to be immunized by summer. Although we may still have Covid related restrictions in place for some time to come we can still get back to work…or can we. It’s interesting to consider the effects of the past year on everyone. It depends on how you spent the time. Some stayed in game shape, some didn’t. Some worked from home as effectively as possible. Some went on a year long vacation. The generous, and necessary, government assistance was critical during the pandemic but at what cost. Those who were on vacation may have a difficult time when the unemployment is exhausted and rental and mortgage forbearance programs run their course. It’s going to come down to who stayed in game shape during the break. Another consideration is how many jobs will rebound. And of those, how many will remain a remote location position.
The pandemic forced businesses to create virtual workplaces. A concept that we would have embraced sooner or later. I’ve interviewed many business owners on this point and there is general agreement that some positions don’t require a central location to be successful. Companies made a significant investment in establishing remote support facilities to stay in business. I think most were surprised at just how effective the investment was in maintaining customer support. So, it is a logical option to keep those remote assets in place to maximize the investment and minimize future expense.
As supply-chain managers begin working toward a new normal after the COVID-19 crisis, they will be trying to understand dynamics they haven’t encountered prior to this pandemic, not the least of which is how their vendors and customers are handling their restart, and how the marketplace is going to rebound. Will demand be recharged, or are we looking at a slow start that grows in momentum more deliberately?
In either case, there will be pressure to think ahead and quickly process those variables, as companies struggle to recalibrate and return to profitability. Planning will require greater precision, and supply-chain managers will need to process data in real time, to align the business with the supply chain. As demand picks up, businesses will have to be agile enough to respond to a quickly changing environment.
With so many variables to account for, here are some suggested steps for stabilizing supply-chain operations, optimizing throughput, and maximizing profits in the coming months as the U.S. economy regains its vigor.
Get A Head Start In Planning. First, assess both inbound and outbound supply chains, and understand your inventory and work in process. If you had work in process at shutdown, did it go through the appropriate quality check before the shift ended? Further, don’t consider just the material aspects. Look at the time and cost of international shipments, as they might be different than pre-crisis. Since many pockets of the country are going through the curve at different rates and times, global commodities are likely to see a whiplash effect as stockpiles of raw materials head to new markets.
Understand Desired Talent Skills. This will be important in considering what jobs to bring back. Identify the critical skills and roles in your manufacturing process, and consider reassessing those jobs whose functions were redefined by the crisis. Develop a depth chart for these roles, and evaluate the weak points. Next, create a training plan to fill in skills gaps, but also consider augmenting your team with people who have proven expertise that matches your business’s critical needs. Talented consultants will likely thrive in this new environment.
Put The Emphasis On Safety. This will, of course, be of paramount concern. A successful restart is going to require adapting your production and inventory-management practices for the impacts of social distancing, guards and barriers, as well as sanitizing workspaces, people, tools, inventory and finished goods. Any time you re-engineer a workflow or production space, add safety into every step.
As businesses start planning for the restart, they have only one chance to get it right. Consider these steps to get your business back to normal. At Land Link Traffic Services, we can help your company organize you post covid manufacturing and supply chain protocols.
Stay Safe Everyone.
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