The manufacturing, automotive and energy sectors are currently battling tremendous challenges as they respond to the unfolding COVID-19 crisis globally. Manufacturers are responding to extreme changes in the normal product demand as well as their internal fulfillment capability impacted by operational and supply chain disruptions.
Critical to an effective response is the ability to understand the near-term demand picture, respond to supply shortfalls for components and commodities, and ensure that operations and staffing levels are right-sized for the current environment.
Manufacturers are naturally trying to understand these challenges and the potential impact to their businesses. Longer-term, these same business leaders will be preparing for an altered economic climate. Each manufacturer's response will be different, but the following topics are the themes consistent across the manufacturing landscape: BRACING FOR
The first thing that manufacturers will need to organise is their resources. Cash preservation and access to liquidity facilities (lines of credit) will be a top concern of manufacturing executives as demand remains volatile, supply chains remain uncertain and revenue recognition is strained due to production and logistics challenges.
Many companies may be facing payments or maturity on debt facilities in the near term that will increase the risk of credit defaults and potential bankruptcy. On top of this, variable costs such as salary, advertising, travel and entertainment, R&D and non-business critical expenditures must come under increased scrutiny as cash preservation becomes paramount.
As manufacturers begin to face financial challenges, near-term furloughs and layoffs become a concern for shop floor and operational workers and large portions of the knowledge worker community. Additionally, many manufacturers have not anticipated remote work to this extent this includes implementing a remote work infrastructure that both minimises workforce disruption and justifies labour costs while also focusing on re-skilling existing workers for the next generation of manufacturing.
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