We know that due to the ongoing lockdowns because of COVID-19, our Industries have suffered in various ways, especially the manufacturing industry which contributes to around 20% of our GDP. In our previous article we also discussed about the chief factors causing disruptions in the operations of these industries. But as the situation improves, many leading businesses have started taking steps forward to ensure smooth operation and survive this crisis situation. Today let us see what are the major changes that these companies are bringing around and how these are helping them out.
Automation: Labor issue is an ongoing problem which our manufacturing industries have been facing since many years. Now because of restrictions imposed as a preventive measure against COVID-19, the companies are allowed to operate with just 30% to 50% of the worker strength. Smaller companies which depend completely on manual labor for their production are facing major productivity losses in this situation. Automation is the key to come out of this problem. Consider the example of our Mobile Robots, they can work 24×7 without any breaks and can carry as much load as 1500 Kg at a time. So, the work gets done faster. Since the operate independently, you do not have to depend on the workers.
Efficient Production: Adoption of automation also ensures higher productivity to some extent. Work can be done faster with minimum losses. Since there is lesser manual intervention, errors are also minimized. In the current scenario where companies have already faced monitory losses, they are now aiming towards competent production with zero defect rate. No doubt this requires better planning and execution of supply chain as well. As already mentioned in the previous article, Indian manufacturing industries tend to have longer and complex supply chains which are difficult to manage during the lockdowns and transport restrictions. But eventually, we are getting nearer to finding ideal supply chain and logistics solutions like technologically advanced practices for material handling and storage (Example: using AGVs).
Employee Safety Practices: All the industries are now making sure that their employees are healthy and maintaining personal hygiene. Don’t you think that this is something which should always be given due importance and not just during a pandemic? Employers and employees both have now, understood the importance of hygiene and cleanliness, not just personal but also of the company premises. Temperature checks at the company gate, maintaining social distancing while working is very important. Regularly washing hands and use of sanitizers, using masks and avoiding coughing and sneezing when in public – these are a few basic netiquettes which all of us have finally adopted. Keeping the washrooms clean and sanitized is another good trait that the employees have started observing. This not just helps to reduce the spread of coronavirus but also brings along the much-needed positive behavioral change among everyone.
Digitization: In a manufacturing plant, it is not possible for the production team to go digital, but there are always certain teams which can work remotely. For example, Finance and Accounts, IT, Business Development teams can work remotely without the necessity to physically report to workplace. Many of the industries have identified such opportunities and asked these teams to work from home. This reduces the number of employees at the workplace and eases the burden on the management so that they can focus on maintaining hygienic conditions for the actual production staff. In fact, many of the industries have benefited from this, since the employees have shown improved productivity because of flexible schedule and comfortable environment.
All these steps undertaken to survive through the COVID-19 crisis are actually helping our industries to successfully transition from traditional manufacturing to Industry 4.0. Even though the short-term goal is to sail through the crisis, there definitely is a hidden long-term benefit here, for the betterment of the overall manufacturing sector. When all goes back to normal, these newly adopted techniques are only going to help the industries prosper. Don’t you think? Leave you comments below.