Manufacturing in the Time of a Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way the world does business.  There are new developments every day that may have an impact on our lives and the manufacturing industry.

Because the situation is so fluid, manufacturers must be flexible.  Business owners and manufacturers need to embrace the change, be creative in all endeavors, be aware of ongoing changes and potential issues, and communicate the changes.  These times will be challenging.  Hopefully, the experience will help to make manufacturers more prepared for future issues that impact the industry on a global scale.

COVID-19 Impact on Manufacturing: The Numbers

A study done by the National Association of Manufacturers shows that the industry is being affected in big ways.

  • 3% of manufacturers anticipate a financial impact
  • 1% of manufacturers anticipate a change in operations
  • 5% of manufacturers are facing supply chain disruptions

Now is the time to start implementing a plan with how you will approach the changing landscape of manufacturing during and post-pandemic.

Embrace the Change

As a business owner or operator, embracing change can be difficult.  The old saying, “Old habits are hard to break.” Is certainly true.  However, what worked 6 months ago probably will not work today.  The businesses that will survive and thrive will be the ones that look to the future and take action now to be in as good a position as possible when things begin to open up.

Never forget – as a manufacturer, you are essential!

Adapt and Change: Get Creative

Are you finding that the goods that you usually manufacture are not currently in high demand? Many state and federal governments are asking manufacturers to convert their product lines to meet the needs of the people.  For instance, President Trump has implored automotive makers to transition to the manufacturing of ventilators.  Is there something that you could manufacture that would help the population at large?

It’s also a good time to think about secondary needs that are now arising from the pandemic.  For instance, restaurants are now limited to carry out service in most areas of the world. Could you help meet their needs by creating a resource for to-go containers?  There could be a whole new world of opportunity opening up to you that will allow your business to serve a need while remaining essential.


Governments and health organizations are warning against gathering in groups, and this includes work situations. Consider rotating your work crews.  If you manufacture offshore, talk to your factory about what they are doing to limit exposure.  The fewer number of employees working, the lower the risk is that an office, plant or factory will have to shut down due to an infected worker.

It’s also important to consider a plan for what your business will do if exposure occurs.  Hopefully, your company has created a policy for Coronavirus exposure in the office or factory setting.  Having these policies in place now will allow you to minimize your downtime should exposure occur.


Once you have decided how you will proceed with manufacturing and you have policies in place stay vigilant.  Keep up to date with current happenings on all things COVID-19 and your access to goods.  It’s also important to monitor changes in the way federal and local lawmakers are handling the COVID-19 response.  Keep abreast of any executive orders, regulations, and legislation.  This will help you know how to handle issues with employee pay, how to handle layoffs or furloughs and the like.  Staying up to date on all of this information will allow you to adapt and continue to succeed even in uncertain times.


Communication is key.  Everyone is aware that things are in a constant state of flux.  When you discuss the changes, it allows everyone from factory managers to employees to prepare for change and embrace it, setting everyone up for success despite some adjustments.

It’s also important to routinely connect with your customers.  If there are delays in acquiring goods or shipping, communicate these details quickly.  It’s always better to let your customers know that there may be delays ahead of time rather than surprising them.

Help During the Time of Crisis

The manufacturing industry is experiencing changes every day.  Shipping delays, difficulty accessing goods from some sources, and factories working with skeleton crews change schedules.  ITI Manufacturing has been in the offshore manufacturing business since 1974 and stands ready to assist you with all of your manufacturing needs.

Call us today at (281) 242-7030 to discuss your offshore manufacturing needs! We look forward to working with you.

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