How the Coronavirus Outbreak is Affecting Manufacturing Companies

smart manufacturing technology

Businesses worldwide are being affected by the COVID-19 outbreak in unprecedented ways, and many entire industries are facing enormous challenges as they attempt to weather the storm that the pandemic has caused. 

The manufacturing industry in particular has taken a direct hit and will likely continue to experience disruptions both in the demand that’s required for production as well as the capability of supplying and delivering goods to those who need it with limited onsite staff.

A Decrease In Shipping And Exporting

Disruptions caused by the coronavirus outbreak have resulted in a delay in the shipping and exporting of goods in and out of the US. This is due to the fact that factories and container ports have had to shut down because of the virus and how it’s affected those staff members, whether they’ve caught the virus themselves or haven’t got the ability to do social distancing. 

Financial Impacts

While most of the US economy has been or will be financially impacted by the pandemic, manufacturing companies are getting hit especially hard. According to IBIS World, there have been steep declines in consumer demand, especially of durable goods such as cars, furniture, and washing machines.

Other nondurable goods production companies are expected to see sustained production or growth in coming months, especially of items such as toilet paper, food and household goods, and other supplies related to panic shopping.

Unsurprisingly, medical equipment and supplies manufacturers are also expected to see a strong increase in demand. In particular, manufacturing companies supplying personal protective equipment and medical devices such as laboratory centrifuges are running at full capacity and are likely to continue increasing production.

The heaviest economic hit in the manufacturing sector has been to computer and electronic goods, which has in the past been the largest durable good contributor to the US Manufacturing GDP.  Key producers such as Microsoft and Apple expect earnings to drop this year as supply chain issues continue to disrupt production.

The Need for Specific Manufacturing Guidelines and Resources 

A lot of businesses are being fed sensationalized news or news that’s heavily political and therefore confusing for those trying to maintain operational order. A lack of information has impacted manufacturing companies across the US and around the world in that it’s difficult to estimate the severity of this virus and what it will mean for long-term production. 

Manufacturers must rely on clear guidelines and regulations from expert agencies, like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for how to continue operations. As the manufacturing sector cannot feasibly participate in remote working and is forced to lay off several staff members, they need guidance both to keep onsite premises safe as well as continue production efficiently. 

Luckily, one highly valuable yet underused resource that can help manufacturers combat this challenge is smart manufacturing technology. Advanced manufacturing communication systems can offer real-time reporting data concerning product engineering and design as well as immediately notify personnel across various departments, reducing the need for onsite personnel. These systems can also be constructed according to physical space limits and needs, meaning healthy social distances between personnel can be achieved.

While Smart manufacturing has become more and more popular in recent years, many companies are still neglecting to take advantage of some of the latest technology resources available in this innovative field. Smart technology is being used to its full potential as the need to reduce onsite employees increases, and establishing these technologies in your manufacturing plant could mean the difference between staying afloat and going under due to lacking resources.

As the outbreak continues to remain prominent, it’s anyone’s guess as to how much this will affect the global economy, and it shows no signs of letting up anytime soon. However, as manufacturing businesses take advantage of the technology resources available to them currently, they can effectively combat production challenges presented by the outbreak. Now is the time to implement such technology like considering an electronic contract manufacturing and reap its full benefits.