COVID-19, AKA coronavirus, has reached a grander scale than originally anticipated. While hospitals and health departments ramp up their plans, manufacturing should definitely not be excluded. The epidemic in China has now stretched its arms into numerous other countries including the U.S. which has begun affecting exports and a potential shortage of completing orders.
As an organization who works with manufacturers facing issues from cash flow to marketing challenges, SEWN has put together a quick list of some strategies manufacturers should consider to brace for the potential impact:
What Are the Work Options for Your Employees: While most advice is pointing to working from home, it is not a viable option in manufacturing. Think about options such as cross-training of employees – who can cover what in a bind. For those who are still working, what type of protective measures can you make available to them?
Assess Your Resource Pool: If you company has a current reliance on receipt of parts/pieces from countries who have been tagged high-risk, it’s time to look around. Determine what you have on-hand and how far it will stretch. You may also want to think about exactly when you received those materials and if there’s a potential for contamination.
Alternative Resources: Are there other companies here or abroad who can fill potential gaps? Network with your supply chains to make those possible connections now before you find yourself in a bind. Look at companies within the United States to further support American jobs and downplay the risk.
New Market Opportunities: SEWN often works with companies who may have lost contracts to find new industries for branching out. This can be your company’s chance to do a self-assessment, a little rebranding, and fill a gap that may be occurring.
Promote Health & Wellness Amongst Employees: As with any illness, employees should be reminded of best practices when it involves coming to work sick. Take a look at shared workspaces and evaluate cleaning measures to avoid cross-contamination. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention have shared their preventive actions to help reduce spreading the disease.
For additional recommendations from the CDC, review their Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan. If you find your company is feeling the strain of the virus, reach out to your local SEWN Director who can work with you on strategies to help prevent further business disruption.