Five measures for industrial manufacturing to carry forward in COVID era
With COVID-19 pandemic playing havoc with sectors across nations, it is pivotal that solutions are put forth to continue the businesses in these grim times. Partial and complete closure of manufacturing units have been necessary for countries hard hit by the virus. Furthermore, with social distancing measures in place it is important that companies vulnerable to outbreaks should deploy latest automation technologies such as collaborative robotics (cobot), autonomous materials movement, internet of things to decrease worker density throughout their operations.
Manufacturers all across the world should put in place contingent safety measures for their employees. The health and safety of the workforce should be a priority among manufacturing companies and local governments.
Scroll down to learn about key measures enabling a robust and resilient manufacturing sector in the COVID era.
- 1. Ensure your workforce is safe and know how to protect themselves. Implement sanitation rules in the factories, and assess mobility policies to encourage remote working, where possible and necessary.
- 2. Discuss change management and flexible work arrangements as well as devise new ways of working that involve more remote workers and automation on the factory floors.
- 3. Immediately implement sanitation measures and reconfigure workspaces for safety. For example, stagger shifts, increase distance between workers and ban visitors on factory floors.
- 4. Find automation solutions to reduce the number of workers on the factory floor. Manufacturers that have piloted solutions should ramp them up carefully, while others should start exploring them. Focus should be on autonomous materials movement (e.g., autonomous forklifts and cranes and high-payload drones); automation of repetitive tasks, including assembly (e.g., industrial robotics and mobile/collaborative robots); and predictive maintenance (e.g., using IoT and AI for predictive maintenance).
- 5. Identify potentially weak links in the supply chain — especially in regions already affected and those likely to be impacted by COVID-19.