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Manufacturing vs. COVID-19: How to Create a Pandemic-Resistant Supply Chain

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a massive disruption for manufacturers in every industry. The fragility of global supply chains became apparent when consumers’ panic-buying behavior disrupted the stock of toilet paper, sanitizers, masks, and cleaning supplies within the first few weeks of the outbreak. Now the question many companies are asking is: what steps can businesses take to become pandemic-resistant?

Update Your Manufacturing Operation to Meet CDC and WHO Guidelines

While many companies didn’t meet CDC or the World Health Organization’s (WHO) standards before the pandemic, many are now scrambling to comply with the stringent guidelines to ensure their operations are as safe as possible. Non-manufacturing personnel, e.g. sales, marketing, finance, and administrative staff should continue to work remotely. Essential in-person staff should comply with strict sanitation protocols–including the use of face masks and regular hand washing. When possible, facilities should be rearranged so that manufacturing personnel can work at least six feet apart and with fewer doors to eliminate excessive surface contact. Changes can also be made to ventilation systems to ensure air is circulated safely.

Identify Your Customers’ New Needs and New Markets  

Chances are your clientele’s needs have changed since the start of the pandemic. This gives your business the opportunity to adapt to your customers’ evolving circumstances. For example, many distilleries have switched from producing alcohol to producing hand sanitizer–a product that has seen critical shortages lately. Identify your client’s new needs and determine how you can meet them accordingly. Leverage your current wholesaler relationships to ensure you can source the required materials. This network can also help you find other markets and products to tap into so that you can introduce your brand to new customers and provide new offerings to your existing customer base. While it’s always a good idea to look for ways to draw in new customers, be sure not to neglect your existing customer base. Keep regular customers engaged and look for solutions to their problems. They will remember your business for helping them in a time of crisis.

Keep Your Staff up to Date with Changes

Manufacturers need to be flexible with constantly changing guidelines and consumer demand. However, for any business to stay relevant it must strive to keep its staff’s skills up to date. Some estimates suggest that as many as 75% of businesses will remain partially remote for the foreseeable future. Manufacturers that can keep their staff engaged and well trained (even while working from home), will have a significant competitive advantage–especially during this challenging time where everyone needs to think one step ahead. To help our clients’ staff stay certified in the latest IPC standards, we have expanded our classes to include online options and remote proctoring for certification exams. Visit our website to see a full list of online programs available.

About EPTAC

For over 30 years, EPTAC has been a leading provider of solder training and IPC certification. We provide professionals with the tools and training they need to advance their careers and improve their businesses. With 19 locations across North America, our solutions and instructional staff provide easy access to knowledge that will enhance your business model and help you meet and exceed industry demands. For more information call 800.643.7822 or contact us.