Manufacturing During COVID-19: How the Industry Can Move Forward


Aug 04 2020

Manufacturing During COVID-19: How the Industry Can Move Forward

By: Tornik, LLC

Posted in: General


Since the eruption of COVID-19, normal routine came to a halt in attempt to slow the worldwide spread of the virus. While most people were initiating stay at home orders, manufacturers everywhere were left to question the viability of production. Operating under these new circumstances has forced manufacturers to rethink risk management and contingency plans, safety protocols, and overall a new way of working.  In this blog, we’re going to go over how COVID-19 has impacted manufacturing, as well as some actions manufacturers are taking to progress from all of this.

The COVID-19 Impact on Manufacturing

Since the outbreak, manufactures have spent the last few months concentrating on solving immediate challenges in order to keep business as stable as possible. A major influence of this pandemic on manufacturing has been disruption to production and supply chains as goods and commodities have been either more or less in demand.

Increased demand: Items in high demand from COVID include toilet paper, hand sanitizer and masks, as well as ventilators and protective equipment that are critical for medical teams.

Decreased demand: Industries hit hard from COVID include airlines and cruise lines as the travel ban was enacted early on to prevent spread to and from different countries.

This disruption of supply chain and increased demand of certain goods has created problems for manufacturers such as:

Delivery delays – With the unexpected increase in demand for certain goods, manufacturers were not equipped with the volume of supplies to meet that demand, which caused major delays in deliveries and production.

Increased costs – Most manufacturers have attempted to maintain production levels in anticipation of a return to business as usual. However, in order to maintain production under these circumstances, manufacturers have had to seek alternative suppliers with higher costs.

Safety precautions – With an increase in demand comes an increase in work, though many manufacturers are at risk of operating with employees who could’ve potentially been exposed to the virus, or are not eligible to come into work.

Actions Manufacturers are Taking to Progress

Manufacturers that have faced these challenges now have to decide the best way to move forward with business that is equipped for handling the ongoing circumstances. These actions should not only protect operations and support workers through the crisis, but help sustain competitive advantage to accelerate business growth.

Understand the Impact of Demand Disruptions

Manufacturers need to rapidly identify the products that are most critical for stabilization and growth by:

  • Identifying the market’s actual needs in order to prioritize critical products needed for production reprioritization.
  • Develop rapid demand and supply scenarios to confirm operational feasibility.
  • Develop an action plan for the next wave of in-demand changes and product needs.

Maintain a Safe Work Environment

Ensuring the health and safety of workers is going to be a priority moving forward for manufacturers to prevent an outbreak from occurring.  A few ways manufacturers can implement this include:

  • Developing flexible staffing levels.
  • Optimize schedules to account for social distancing requirements.
  • Develop new safety practices on site such as sanitizing stations and health checks.
  • Organize a bussing system for employees to avoid public transportation.

This pandemic has most certainly changed the way industries function, and has highlighted the need for businesses to take responsibility, responsiveness and resilience of their manufacturing operations. Industries such as the cable assemblies’ market and many others have to adjust for a decline in buyer request as well, as this reduces the need for production. Going forward, manufacturers should look at their end-to-end operations and determine how well they are positioned to respond to future disruptions as well as influx in product demand. While these times have challenged how manufacturers and businesses face adversities, it has also been an opportunity to learn, evolve, and reshape the standard way of operating.

Tornik Facility in Tijuana, Mexico

Tornik has multiple locations including a Mexico production facility, just minutes from the U.S. border, which serves as a seamless extension of its U.S. operations, capable of efficient, low cost, high volume, medium volume and medium mix product output. EMS/Mexico provides a low-cost country solution with good transportation access. The 20,000 square foot pure production facility in Tijuana, Mexico was created to support a cost-effective approach to:

  • Medium-mix and medium- to high-volume cable and harness production.
  • Turnkey production ranging from electro-mechanical assemblies to complete box builds.

Mexico enables manufacturers to have a shorter and more efficient supply chain, a reduced level of risk and is an overall faster solution. Mexico’s geographical location alone is beneficial for manufacturers who require fast turnaround times.