The Value of Flexible Manufacturing

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The coronavirus epidemic has caused major cancellations affecting supply chains, human resources and consumer demand. Globally, manufacturers rose to the challenge of keeping their workers and their communities safe and healthy.

The COVID-19 coronavirus took a toll not only on the health of workers – resulting in absences and lost productivity – but also on manufacturing processes and procedures. Flexibility was put to the test and many companies struggled with this.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” -Charles Darwin

5 tips on flexible manufacturing

In uncertain times, flexibility is an important part of the solution for many companies. Find out how manufacturing companies can deal with a future crisis or pandemic?

#1 Flexibility in manufacturing

Upscale production and repurpose new production lines to produce products that are needed and are worldwide in demand (for example, face masks and hand sanitizer).

#2 Spread shifts and services

To compensate for higher-than-normal cancellations, factories are staggering shifts on the shop floor. Workers are being separated and must maintain a distance of at least 1.5 meters from their coworkers at the same time.

#3 Interim Employment

Hiring a temporary ad hoc employee for a set period of time can be a good idea to help manage overloaded work in the short term. This helps deal with the increased effort brought on by cancellations and increased demand for particular items.

#4 Flexible Workforce

If another pandemic or crisis occurs, workforce flexibility will be required. Therefore, it is imperative that procedures and processes be stored on one central database. In doing so, you can keep the factory running with a smaller workforce.

#5 Reskill and Relocate Existing Employees

Many businesses are reskilling and upskilling their existing employees to do new or different activities inside the organization, in addition to their regular responsibilities. They don’t need to be taught the basics because they already know the basics of all procedures and processes.

Supporting Tools to Gain Flexibility in the Factory

For a group of continually changing personnel, manufacturing flexibility necessitates either the creation of new processes and procedures or the re-invention of old ones.

You’re well aware that onboarding each temporary or reskilled employee requires a significant amount of time and resources. On-the-job training with digital work instructions may be the answer to boost flexibility for industrial businesses in an uncertain reality.

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