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Predictions, Prophets, and Restarting Your Manufacturing Business Amid COVID-19

manufacturing

Predictions, Prophets, and Restarting Your Manufacturing Business Amid COVID-19

COVID-19 has created a drastic effect on global health and the economy. Every nation is struggling to deal with the challenge of keeping its residents protected against coronavirus. Businesses are witnessing huge financial losses owing to a reduced/lack of workforce and other resources. If we talk about the manufacturing industry, it also has been hit hard by the corona crisis, and the fact that it has a huge role to play amidst coronavirus lockdown, this impact is felt the most by everyone.

The global supply chain got disrupted because of coronavirus, and since it originated in China, which is considered as the biggest manufacturing market globally, the ability of the manufacturing industry to meet the needs of the customers came down significantly.

So, let us throw some light on the impact of coronavirus on the manufacturing industry, and figure out some effective ways that can help manufacturers restart their business proficiently.

The Prophets and Prediction

The Prophet: The problem with prophecies is that they are based on data that is just a few weeks old, which is not sufficient for business leaders to make hard, cold business decisions when it comes to coming back in the market.

The Prediction: With social distancing becoming a norm, most of the people look forward to buying online. This clearly means that the scope of eCommerce is on the rise, and manufacturers will be looking to make a shift gradually.

Restarting Your Manufacturing Business

Every business is looking to return to the market, but due to the measures that are being adopted to reduce or prevent coronavirus are affecting the supply chains directly, which, in turn, is leading to disruptions in the manufacturing operations worldwide.

If we talk about the manufacturing industries like automobiles where production is done on a massive scale, the schedules for production are rigid and efficiency-optimized. In a similar way, the working of supply chains is dependent on schedules that are fixed like months ago based on the demand projections. Still, automobile owners are looking forward to remodeling such systems to be able to meet the irregular demand atmosphere.

Every crisis consists of several challenges, but one should look for opportunities within them. So, keeping the new norms of personal protection and social distancing, businesses need to redesign their business models.

To help businesses get started again, we are providing some guidelines that will help them to:

-Evaluate the organization’s COVID-19 safety compliance and requirements.

-Restructure the workplace for personal safety and protection.

-Implement procedures for personal protection.

-Put into practice the action plan for restarting to ensure a secure future of the company.

As per a Deutsche Bank analysis, the growth of GDP on the global level will be lower in 2020 due to the coronavirus effects. This effect will leave its impact on most of the U.S. and Europe, with growth forecasts on the global front also likely to drop by 0.2 percent.

Taking Care of the Workforce

The manufacturing industry is dependent on its workforce, and most of them proceeded towards their hometown owing to the fear of contracting coronavirus. In order to get its workforce back, a manufacturing company must keep track of the health status of every worker, along with gaining knowledge on the happenings in their areas through digital mediums. This will help them in knowing from which parts of the country they can call back their workforce to restart the manufacturing processes.

However, at this point in time, most of the manufacturers have to wait, and even if they are able to start the operations with a minimal workforce, they will be unable to manage their other important processes like accounting. In such cases, opting for Outsourcing manufacturing accounting services becomes imperative.

Securing Supply and Inventory

Instant delivery and globalization have turned out to be huge risk areas. Suppliers, including sub-suppliers, are all going through a similar situation. During such crisis situations, a huge concern comes to the top since procurement teams are unable to have close contact with their manufacturing suppliers. This, in turn, restricts them from monitoring the capacity of the production on a weekly/daily basis or evaluating the latest logistics prices and routes.

Now, with COVID-19, supply and inventory are in a position where there is a high risk of contractual defaults and severe legal action concerning the inability to fulfill orders on time or otherwise.

Why do Manufacturers Need to Rethink their Restart Strategies?

Most of the manufacturers are ready with their restart strategies and looking forward to implementing them ASAP. These new strategies are primarily focused on:

-The use of digitalization to receive data and have a superior visualization of the supply chain with control-centric solutions.

-Automation and robots to enhance the flexibility of the plant, including the capacity to run significant processes remotely or alone.

There is no denying that manufacturers are moving in the right direction, but they need to figure out for how long and at what pace they can carry out their production with a minimal workforce, technology support, and funds. The reason being local and international supply chains are disrupted, and one cannot say till how long this situation remains the same.

If a manufacturer is heavily dependent on the demand of a specific region or country, he may have to slow down his operations due to a lack of demand because of COVID-19. Low demand means a low supply and returns, leaving little funds for the manufacturer to operate. So, manufacturers need to assess their new strategies from every angle so that they are ready to face the forthcoming unexpected challenges.

This is a challenging situation for manufacturers for sure, and they cannot halt their operations for long. The above-mentioned suggestions will surely help manufacturers to not just get started but ensure smooth business operations in the future. Yes, they need to devise strategies, keeping in mind not just the present scenario but the possibility of forthcoming events, to stand strong against any unfavorable circumstances that might arise in the future.

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Gia Glad works as a Business Development Manager at Cogneesol, a well-renowned company offering data management, technology, accounting, and legal services. While handling the projects, she has witnessed a lot of changes over the years. She has been thoroughly researching and sharing her viewpoints about these industry trends and changes on many platforms across the Internet.

Aristotle

How Aristotle Can Help You Lead Your Business Through Tough Times

Business leaders face plenty of questions as they try to get a handle on the new economic reality brought about by the COVID-19 shutdown and the resulting recession.

But the answers to those questions may not appear in their corporate handbooks. Instead, they could lie in ancient philosophies with lessons that apply just as much today as they did centuries ago, says Cristina DiGiacomo (www.cristinadigiacomo.com), author of Wise Up! At Work and founder of MorAlchemy, a philosophical consulting firm that helps CEOs and executives tackle their biggest challenges by teaching them how to think differently so they see new solutions and their companies thrive.

“We could all use a little wisdom these days because COVID-19 has caused a shift in the way people think, the way people work, the way they live and how they think of themselves,” DiGiacomo says. “Technology may change, culture may change, but acting wisely is no different in the 21st century than the 5th century.”

Too often, when people hear words like philosophy and wisdom, they conjure images of a bearded man on a mountain, with enlightenment seekers trekking to see him, DiGiacomo says.

“In reality, the philosophers whose teachings changed the world were the kind of people who rolled up their sleeves, got to work, dug deep, and spoke up despite hardship, resistance and even threat of death,” she says. “Their views aren’t some abstract idea but have practical applications in today’s world.”

So, if Aristotle, Socrates, Voltaire and Immanuel Kant opened a corporate consulting business, here are a few things they would tell you about moving your business forward as the world tries to recover from COVID-19:

Don’t be rushed into rash decisions. Voltaire said “doubt is an unpleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” Sometimes CEOs feel the need to make quick decisions, perhaps to avoid seeming indecisive. That’s not always the best approach, DiGiacomo says. “Are you making critical decisions, with long-term consequences, on the fly without actually having developed your ability to deliberate?” she asks. “Our reactionary mind wants us to set it and forget it, so it can move onto the next thing.” Resist that temptation.

Avoid letting your “darkest moments” color reality. Immanuel Kant, among others, believed your mind shapes and structures your experience. “Your mind influences to a very large degree how you see the world and how you feel about it,” DiGiacomo says. “Those things you say to yourself, in those darkest moments, are shaping your reality. But it’s entirely possible that those thoughts you have about what you think reality is might not always be true.” She says it helps to “hit the pause button” and make sure the situation is what you think it is.

Say “I don’t know” even if you think you know. The country faces uncertain times over the next several months, but that’s not unusual, DiGiacomo says. The future is always uncertain – coronavirus or no coronavirus. One of her favorite quotes from Socrates is: “I know that I know not, and that makes me a wise man.” DiGiacomo says being in “I don’t know” mode releases your mind to discover new solutions and ideas. “If you constantly believe you know everything,” she says, “then there’s no impetus for your mind to be creative or continue to look for new information.”

And finally, DiGiacomo says, Aristotle offers encouragement for business leaders who are afraid they aren’t up to the task of making wise decisions. “Aristotle’s foundational idea of being human is that we are all wise, inherently,” she says. “It’s just a matter of tapping into that innate wisdom and building the skills that will help you to not only be wise, but to act wisely.”

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Cristina DiGiacomo (www.cristinadigiacomo.com), author of Wise Up! At Work, is the founder of MorAlchemy, a philosophical consulting firm. She also is the inventor of industrial philosophy and is the driving force behind the idea of applying philosophy in the workplace for the benefit of the leadership of organizations. DiGiacomo has 20 years of corporate executive experience at companies such as The New York Times, Citigroup, AMC Networks, and R/GA. She holds a master’s degree in Organizational Change Management from The New School. She also dedicated nine years to the study and practice of philosophy.

shippers'

Shippers’ New 2020 Priorities

While cities and states are slowly reopening, there is still significant uncertainty surrounding the global economy and when we’ll head towards recovery. Shippers are experiencing never-before-seen challenges and, in maneuvering them, realize it’s vital to understand the change in consumer behavior and how it impacts the supply chain.

A recent Consumer Brands’ Association Coronavirus Survey found 68% of Americans are optimistic about the next 6 months and the United States’ ability to reopen the economy. Despite consumer mentality improving, shippers’ concerns on COVID-19’s impact on the supply chain remain top of mind.

While some industries experienced a surge in demand, including healthcare, grocery and consumer packaged goods (CPG), this hasn’t been the case across the board. Some faced a reduction or, in some cases, a complete halt in business. These new challenges and concerns have led shippers to shift their strategies and develop new priorities for the rest of 2020 and beyond.

Shippers’ Top Priorities

As reported in the recent Q2 2020 Coyote Curve Market Forecast, the truckload market has likely already hit the bottom in Q2 at a -9% spot rate, and contract and spot rates should more or less converge from here. Due to the circumstances, the rate environment will most likely be more forgiving than usual, but it will definitely be volatile; and, with rates regularly fluctuating, shippers must keep their key priorities top of mind.

First and foremost, shippers’ top priority is keeping their people safe during this unprecedented time. They’re also focusing on keeping team members productive despite disruption, making necessary strategic shifts in production, managing rapid and frequent shifts in demand, and maintaining operational efficiency.

The priorities for those experiencing an influx of demand are quite different from those seeing a decrease. Shippers in surging markets are focused on supporting frontline employees by ensuring their facilities have necessary crucial safety items like personal protective equipment (PPE), testing kits, and sanitization products.

The industries experiencing a downturn, such as durable goods, have been focused on keeping their businesses operating and their people productive. They’ve had to prioritize repurposing available capacity to streamline operations, while others have turned to private fleets to haul less-than-truckload or full truckload shipments. To support COVID-19 relief efforts, some industries even shifted their production lines completely, like automotive manufacturers producing ventilators or clothing manufacturers making masks and scrubs.

Other shipper priorities include managing increased production output, despite lower processing rates. These lower rates come from new facility regulations mandating safety procedures, social distancing, and fewer employees per shift, resulting in less efficiency. Shippers are also dealing with a less frequent transportation schedule and imbalanced inventory, adding to the struggle of keeping supply chains running smoothly.

A new 2020 for shippers

Regardless of the industry a shipper operates within, the outlook for the remainder of 2020 is much different than originally planned. The entire supply chain realizes the importance of developing new strategies to adhere to the current situation and prepare for future disruptions.

Shipping processes will inevitably change to improve supply chain visibility and automation and update future inventory and warehousing procedures. These new plans and strategies focus less on short-term, cost-based decisions, and more on proactivity, flexibility, and efficiency.

Shippers have rewritten their 2020 plans to address these new priorities. While some tactics have higher initial costs, investing now will allow shippers to better recover from future disruptions. Other new strategies include:

-Collaborating with other shippers to garner insights and best practices

-Creating pop-up fleets at surging origin points

-Focusing productions on the lines making the most, the fastest

-Working with 3PL providers that offer flexible, instant capacity to haul freight

-Moving live-load pick-ups and deliveries into temporary drop trailers

-Reducing number of SKUs to eliminate unnecessary variety

What comes next

 Some shippers have found it easy to identify ways to better prepare their businesses for future disruption and have established new processes to do so. However, this doesn’t mean they have avoided uncertainty altogether. Shippers are asking themselves three key questions:

-How do I keep my employees healthy and safe?

-How do I keep my facilities up and running efficiently?

-How do I limit disruption to my supply chain?

Since COVID-19, shippers immediately made shifts to maneuver the unthinkable. Unfortunately, there is no clear answer as to when or how shippers will see less market volatility, and they may even see more complexities in the meantime. This brings additional geographic and industry disparities.

As the economy moves towards recovery, we anticipate a surge in demand and a corresponding increase in volume. Industries, especially those whose shippers slowed down, will have lean inventories and, when demand rises, need to increase production. While shippers’ results may differ from their original 2020 goals, we believe a recovery in consumer demand will be here soon.

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Nick Shroeger is the Chief Network Solutions Officer at Coyote, a leading global third-party logistics provider headquartered in Chicago. Since joining the Coyote team in July 2009, Nick has been a key leader in identifying challenges of the supply chain industry and developing and scaling solutions. In his current role, Nick leads Coyote’s research and innovation efforts for both shipper and carrier solutions as well as network connectivity with Coyote’s parent company, UPS.

sustainable

How To Make Your Business More Financially Sustainable after COVID-19

The coronavirus outbreak in December 2019 came at a time when the global economy was trying to get its act together after being slowed down for a while by trade tensions, especially between China and the US. The much-needed transition towards sustainable manufacturing and clean energy has also played a part in slowing down the global economy, but for a good reason.

When the virus checked into town, all the gains we have experienced over the last decade were turned upside down. Businesses now have to address the health, social, and economic impacts of the coronavirus on top of the already existing geopolitical (e.g. Brexit) issues that impact the business.

Supply chains all over the world have been disrupted by the pandemic, millions of working citizens infected, hundreds of thousands dead, and billions of potential customers rendered jobless. To compound these miseries, most markets are under lockdown, and no one knows for sure when life will get back to normal. The big question now remains: How will business people make their businesses more financially sustainable after COVID-19? Here are 5 measures you can take as a business leader to counter the financial impact of the coronavirus:

1. Leverage employment organizations when expanding internationally

If your intentions were to expand to international markets, or if you had already opened shop overseas, you can collaborate with professional employment organizations to source for and compensate employees. You can, for example, count on a Japan employer of record to help you to establish presence and support personnel in Japan cost-effectively and efficiently. They will help you hire new talents, manage existing staff, and navigate the legal requirements and obligations that come with business ownership in Japan. When you don’t have to worry about managing employee payrolls and compliance issues, or to hire an HR department for that matter, you are able to save on overhead costs until your business recovers fully from the coronavirus shock.

2. Re-evaluate your supply chains

The coronavirus has grossly exposed the vulnerabilities of global supply chains. Companies that depended entirely on Chinese manufacturers or raw materials have been forced to close down temporarily with some closing shop completely. Businesses that will survive this pandemic have to look beyond first- and second-tier suppliers, especially for their key products’ raw materials, and expand their supply lines to bring in more players. Businesses also have to expand their markets. Having a contingency “plan B” will not be enough. You will need to diversify in all aspects of your business so that if one line closes or is unable to recover fast from the pandemic, you will always have alternatives.

3. Reach out to customers

Do everything that you can to retain your main customers. If they owe you, don’t be quick to pressurize them to pay because they are also struggling to get back on their feet. You can loosen repayment terms a bit to accommodate the new normal- this is one of the small prices you may have to pay in order to keep your business afloat. Your lenders are probably doing the same for you. The most important thing here is to maintain open communication lines with your debtors, creditors, and other clients and being honest with one another in case of any payment difficulties. In the long run, when you are all back on your feet, you will still have your customers, and cash will start flowing in as it used to.

Reaching out to customers also means reaching out to new markets, or offering more products to your existing market. If your existing market isn’t recovering as fast as other markets, it is okay to move your business elsewhere. If one of your competitors has closed shop, this is your chance to move in for their customers. Be courageous to fill in every gap that the virus could have created within your market, and to explore other options that could bring in additional cash provided they won’t compromise your brand identity.

4. Update your terms and conditions

There are some terms and conditions that you have held on for too long, some of which have left your business vulnerable during the ongoing pandemic. This is the time to scrap them all and create better terms that protect you from future crises. In fact, you would rather pull out of a contract now and pay the cancellation fee, rather than push on with it and incur losses in the end.

Going forward, you need to take a proactive approach in revenue, employee, clients, and commercial risks management. Crisis management is a process; not just an event. You will need all the teamwork and support that you can get if you are to pull this off. Flex your network and get rid of any dead weight.

history factory

History Factory Launches COVID-19 Corporate Memory Project

Collaborative resource collects, curates and preserves the corporate response to COVID-19 to inform future crisis response

The COVID-19 pandemic has required that corporations respond, adapt, lead, and serve others with greater urgency than any other global event since World War II. As a result, corporations are making history and learning lessons in real-time that can inform a stronger corporate response to the next major global disruption. To make those lessons more readily available, History Factory is launching the COVID-19 Corporate Memory Project, a living archival resource to which business leaders can turn for a greater understanding of the corporate response to the current crisis as well as for insight and guidance for how to prepare for and respond effectively to the next crisis.

The COVID-19 Corporate Memory Project is a free and collaborative resource designed to collect, curate, and preserve the real-time history of the pandemic as it is being made by corporations who are responding to the crisis and influencing its outcome.

At c19corporatememory.org, History Factory is combining crowdsourced content from corporate contributors with publicly available media coverage, press releases, social media posts and statements, documents, photography, video and a range of other digital materials related to the pandemic’s impact on the business world. The material is organized in four categories that reflect the realms in which corporations are responding to the pandemic, listed here with an example from each:

-The Changing Nature of Work: Ford engineers continue to work on the new Mustang in their home garages.

-Fighting the Pandemic: New Balance pivots to produce a general-use face mask.

-Leading in a Crisis:  Land O’Lakes CEO Beth Ford confident of food production but warns of distribution issues.

-Service and Community: Starbucks fights hunger.

The Project’s primary focus is on collecting content from large corporations and has already curated more than 300 assets from such corporations as Airbnb, Kimberly-Clark, Marriott, Southwest Airlines, Starbucks, Uber, and The Walt Disney Company. How these enterprises respond and adapt to the global pandemic will be critical to shaping its outcome, politically, technologically, and socially. The goal is to extract learning from their experiences.

Laurie Barnett, Southwest Airlines’ Managing Director, Communications & Outreach, said:

“By contributing to the COVID-19 Corporate Memory Project we can help other corporate executives learn from our experience of the pandemic. And we hope that many other corporations will participate so that we can learn from them. It would be a shame for us as leaders to work so hard to overcome this unprecedented moment without capturing – in a way that can benefit us all – the real-time decisions, innovations and contributions we are making as we rise to meet this challenge.”

Eliot Mizrachi, Vice President, Communications & Content at Page, said:

“Communication leaders on the front lines of their organizations’ pandemic response are hungry for best practices. The COVID-19 Corporate Memory Project is a unique sharing platform that can help corporate leaders find out how others are navigating this historic crisis. I encourage communicators to contribute.”

Jason Dressel, Managing Director at History Factory, said:

“History Factory decided to create the COVID-19 Corporate Memory Project as a pro bono service to provide leaders, corporate communicators, and journalists with easy access to a real-time archive of content focused solely on how corporations are responding to one of the greatest challenges in modern history. With forty years in the business of collecting, curating, and communicating corporate experience, we understand how a resource that showcases lessons learned from this pandemic can help business leaders drive strategy and business planning going forward. We will continue to add to this Project as long as COVID-19 is driving corporate behavior. We hope that it will become an important source of study for years to come.”

History Factory welcomes submissions from all corners of the media and business world. Visit c19corporatememory.org and click SUBMIT to contribute content to the archive or to contact History Factory regarding bulk submissions or very large files.

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Founded in 1979, History Factory is an agency that helps corporations employ their most underused assets – their history and heritage – to enhance and transform strategy, brand positioning, marketing, and communications that drive measurable results.

crisis

How to Motivate Yourself When You’re In A Business Crisis

It happens to everyone: Periods of low motivation and productivity, known as decline. There are two big problems when there is a decline in the home business. First, breakdowns can become an endless cycle of low motivation and inactivity. The more you give in to the decline, the more you will fall on your head. The second problem is that if you meet your crisis, your income will go down.

What causes a decline?

Before you take action to get out of the crisis, you need to find out why you are in it. In many cases, finding out the cause can reveal a solution. Some common factors that lead to a decline include:

-Overwork and stress leading to burnout

-Seasonal affective disorder

-Boredom

-Fear

-Failure or disappointment

-Disconnect from your goals

In the case of seasonal disorder, moving the office to a place where you have natural light or getting a special lamp can improve your mood. However, if your lack of motivation is due to other reasons, especially if you have experienced failure or disappointment or are no longer excited about your goals, it can be difficult to pick up and start moving again.

How to motivate yourself when you are in crisis

Action is the best remedy for a motivational crisis. In many cases, any activity is useful unless you plan to rock all day on social media channels.

Of course, during the crisis, it is extremely difficult to take positive action. Here are some tricks you can try to recover from your enterprising mojo.

Nutrition of your mind: If you can’t motivate yourself from the inside, let external factors arouse the desire to achieve your goals. Here are some ways to do this:

Reading: Most successful people who have a morning routine include reading as part of the ritual. Reading can give you new ideas to try your hand at business, solve problems, and inspire you.

 Listen to podcasts: If reading requires more effort than you can, listen to the podcast or watch the video. Like books, you can learn new strategies to use in your business and draw inspiration from the successes of others.

Release negative energy by writing: You don’t have to be eloquent or grammatical. You don’t even need to know what you’re going to say. Just take a piece of paper or journal and start writing whatever comes to your mind. It shows writing 3-page chunks each day to clarify, prioritize, and synchronize the day. Even if you don’t want to take on everyday journalism, writing while you’re in the pound is a great way to release negative energy, unload your thoughts and frustration on paper, and get clarity about what is on your path. To offset the negative, you can also spend time remembering and appreciating the good in your life and business. Releasing negatives and refueling gratefully can give you the energy to take positive action.

Networking with your tribe: Networking is not just about making connections that can grow your business. Through your network, you can also express your appreciation, receive feedback and help, and get inspired. If possible, connect to the network in person. The level of activity required to get out of the house, stay in a new environment, and receive positive energy from your surroundings can increase your motivation. But if you can’t leave, connect over the internet.

Listen to Music: Believe it or not, music is good for the brain. According to a Berkeley article at the University of California, research shows that music can raise the mood, which is an important factor in getting out of the crisis. Music can also reduce stress, improve health, support memory and make us want to move (another way to get out of a funk).

Movement: Lack of motivation can become a spiral of lower and lower activity. Moving around is a great way to counteract this. You don’t have to do the vigorous activity at the gym. Instead, you can go for a walk or bike ride, stretch or practice yoga, dance or clean the house. Moving causes blood flow, which supplies more oxygen to the brain and muscles, which is important for improving your mood. Getting started can be difficult. One of them is playing with children (e.g. Tag in the yard) or asking a friend to go for a walk with you. People are more likely to follow if they have committed to someone else.

Change the schedule: If you are a hero because you are bored and do not feel like it, changing routine activities can make them interesting. As a home business owner, you’re the boss, which means you can organize your day as you like.

Change the environment: As your schedule again, changing the environment can also accelerate the crisis. One option is simply to go to work somewhere else, for example to a cafe, park or museum. Another option is to renew your home office. Moving the desk and changing the place can make you feel like you are in a completely new place. Consider adding some office facilities that have shown that research can help improve health, mood, and productivity.

Reward: Motivation research suggests that in the long run, hanging a carrot doesn’t work to inspire motivation. However, it can work in the short run. If you’re having trouble getting to your desk to get the job done, give yourself a reward when you do it. Choose something you want and it will work. An example would be, after completing quest A, you’ll have coffee with a friend.

Do something, something: Newton’s first law regarding motion states than an object at rest (falling) remains at rest (fall), and an object in motion remains in motion. Activity is the best remedy for a crisis. Forcing yourself to do something, even one simple little thing can give you the beginning of a leap into further activity. It can be as simple as checking email or calling a customer.

Recognize that this streak is too slow: life is filled with flowing and flowing energy. Although external and emotional causes of decline may occur, sometimes there is a decrease in energy and motivation. The key is not to give in, instead to move until you get through it.