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Automation on the plant floor can keep production flowing to refill store shelves. But the biggest problem manufacturers face right now is a disruption to the supply chain.
ERP Potential-In the middle of a global health crisis, the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic portends a drastic shift in the way the world will work in the future.
Whether it’s the need to ramp up production of hand sanitizer or convert automotive plants to produce more respirators, manufacturers are under pressure now more than ever to do more with less. The production floor is operating with skeleton crews to minimize possible exposure to the virus, and plant managers are in need of a better way to maintain visibility into the process. All of this points to the potential of implementing more automation on the plant floor.
In fact, the making of toilet paper is a highly automated process, as shown in the National Geographic documentary “Chasing Paper,” which highlights Sofidel, a manufacturer of toilet paper and paper towels. So, even if operators aren’t in the plant, more paper is on its way, people, do not panic.
The biggest bottleneck in the great paper chase—or for any product right now—is the supply chain. New research indicates that a weakened supply chain is the biggest business disruption related to COVID-19.
According to ABI Research, the impact of Coronavirus is both global and unpredictable, and the supply chain shock it is causing will most definitely and substantially cut into the worldwide manufacturing revenue of $15 trillion currently forecasted for 2020 by the global tech market advisory firm.
The virus will have both short- and long-term ramifications for manufacturers. “Initially, plant managers and factory owners will be looking to secure supplies and be getting an appreciation of constraints further up the supply chain plus how much influence they have on their suppliers,” explains Michael Larner, principal analyst at ABI Research. In the longer term, manufacturers will need to conduct an extensive due diligence process as they need to understand their risk exposure, including the operations of their supplier’s suppliers. “To mitigate supply chain risks, manufacturers should not only not source components from a single supplier but also, as COVID-19 has highlighted, shouldn’t source from suppliers in a single location.”