By Tara Gibson - December 1, 2020
As we approach what is likely to be one of the most challenging decades in the modern era for the manufacturing industry, now is a good time to look ahead to what those challenges may be, how your business is going to prepare for them, and update your manufacturing business continuity plan accordingly.
If you thought 2020 was a challenging year for the manufacturing industry, there may be more challenges on the horizon. While there is hope that a vaccine for coronavirus COVID-19 will help the economy return to its pre-pandemic state in the near future, the fallout from the pandemic will likely be with us more many years yet in the form of revised working practices, supply chain issues, and liquidity issues.
Even for manufacturing businesses that have survived the pandemic with limited disruption, changes in the political landscape, the environment, and technology will have a significant influence on what happens over the next ten years. Therefore, now is a good time to look ahead to how these changes may affect your business's operations and its business continuity plan.
When the words “environment” and “manufacturing” appear together, they usually refer to the impact manufacturing is having on the environment. However, over the next ten years, the roles could be reversed – not only due to severe weather events increasing in frequency and severity – potentially impacting business continuity in many different ways.
Severe weather events and natural disasters can be disastrous to any kind of business, but in manufacturing - where many employees are needed at the facility and don't have the opportunity to work remotely - they can be detrimental to business operations. Preparing for these events in order to keep workers safe is extremely important, which is why many facilities rely on mass notifications to get the word out to employees quickly and efficiently.
Considering how fast technology has advanced during the past decade, it is difficult to forecast what impact it will have on manufacturing by the year 2030. One thing that is certain is that businesses in the manufacturing industry will have to adapt technology at scale over the coming ten years in order to fill the skills gap. A 2018 study by Deloitte forecast there would be 2.4 million positions unfilled in the manufacturing industry by 2028.
The Deloitte study is interesting inasmuch as, although concerns exist that the adoption of technology will have a negative impact on jobs in the manufacturing industry, the reverse is true - more jobs are being created. However, the skilled workforce needed to fill these jobs is in short supply – a situation that has been exacerbated by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on education. Therefore, it is also important businesses plan for this potential business disruption.
How businesses plan ahead to avoid staffing issues will very much depend on the nature of production and the degree to which production is already automated. However, Deloitte is not the only analyst to suggest replacing retiring workers with like-for-like replacements is unsustainable, and that businesses should take advantage of the current social distancing requirements and stay-at-home orders to understand what the manufacturing workplace of the future will look like.
A business continuity plan is a key element of an emergency preparedness plan, but it is not just for emergencies. However, like an emergency preparedness plan, a manufacturing business continuity plan should be constantly evolving with ongoing impact analyses, gap analyses, development, and testing. So how can businesses in the manufacturing industry predict what challenges they will face and how to prepare for them?
In a previous blog we suggested ways how a mass notification tool can help streamline operations in manufacturing, and many of the suggestions are equally as viable when planning for an uncertain – or unforeseeable – future. For example, one of the suggestions was to use a mass notification tool to communicate new protocols for the flow of materials. The same process could be used to communicate policy changes due to the changing political landscape.
Similarly, a mass notification tool could be used to communicate changes to factory operating practices attributable to environmental legislation or the adoption of new technology. Certainly, the ability to connect with remote workers and make shift management more efficient can help mitigate business disruption, while the two-way anonymous tip feature mentioned in the blog can help management identify potential threats to business continuity before they materialize.
To find out more about how our solutions can help your business accelerate business continuity into the next decade, do not hesitate to get in touch.
Tara is a Marketing Coordinator on the Rave Mobile Safety marketing team. She loves writing about all things K-12, State & Local, Higher Ed, Corporate, and Healthcare, and manages the Rave social media channels. When she's not working, she's taking care of her smiley, shoe eating, Instagram-famous fur baby, Enzo!
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