Manufacturers Responses to COVID-19 Disruption

Photo: Lake Shore Park, Milwaukee by Tony Stuczynski on Unsplash

What measures has your company taken in response to the COVID-19 disruption? Are you looking to reshoring suppliers or investing in more automation?  

Per Thomas Industrial April 2020 Survey, 25% of U.S. manufacturers are considering expanding industrial automation as a result of COVID-19, while one in five already has automated systems in place. Additionally, 64% of manufacturers reported they were likely to bring manufacturing production and sourcing back to North America.

Highlights from the Thomas Industrial Survey on the impact of COVID-19 on North American Manufacturing included:

  • Manufacturers Report Significant Jump in COVID-19-Related Impacts: 89% of our respondents reported they felt impacts from COVID-19 in April, compared to only 45% in March. 41% of surveyed manufacturers expect a decrease in demand for their products and services.

  • Two Biggest Concerns Are Reduced Market Demand and Disrupted Cash Flow: Many reported staffing issues due to challenges in maintaining social distancing and PPE supply, as well.

  • Manufacturers Restructure: 44% have already experienced or are planning layoffs, but 31% are hiring. One in seven companies pivoted to COVID-19-related manufacturing.

  • Stronger Reshoring Interest Compared to March: Two-thirds of the companies stated they are likely to reshore; of those companies, 20% stated they are extremely likely to reshore, compared to only 9% in March.

  • Companies Remain Optimistic About the Future: 91% of respondents believe that North American manufacturing can recover from this pandemic.

  • Shifts in Talent Needs: 56% of manufacturing companies have not laid off employees due to COVID-19 and 30% of companies are actively hiring.

  • Non-essential Business Shutdown Impacts Demand: 64% of manufacturers report their business is affected by the shutdown orders impacting other non-essential businesses, with the transportation (77%), automotive (75%), construction (70%), and agricultural (69%) sectors most drastically affected. 

  • Relief Efforts: 15% of the companies surveyed report they shifted to produce supplies related to COVID-19 relief efforts; medical and healthcare, agricultural, and automotive manufacturers are leading the charge to produce PPE.

  • In-demand Materials: In order to stabilize supply and keep production on schedule, manufacturers reported the most vital items to be personal protective equipment (42%), metals (37%), fabricated materials (29%), and machining tools and parts (27%).

Click here to view the full report of the "Thomas Industrial Survey: COVID-19’s Impact on North American Manufacturers."

Looking for more information on managing risk within your supply chains? Join us next week Tuesday, May 26th, for Supply Chain Risk Management Workshop taught by Chuck Nemer, CSCP, a supply chain management expert providing world-class training for corporations seeking supply chain training to better improve their supply chain performance, and students in APICS programs.

In this introduction to risk management, Chuck will cover the basics of risk management including how to identify, assess and mitigate risks. We'll also review how to manage in an environment of risk. This workshop is based on the work and advice of Greg Schlegel of the Supply Chain Risk Management Consortium.

APICS Milwaukee is the premier professional association for supply chain management, helping over 180 Milwaukee area companies represented by our members, with educational and networking opportunities.