We are not out of the woods yet, and we, therefore, still need to try and limit personal contact as much as possible.
The distribution of vaccines has already begun, and that is fantastic news. Experts agree, though, that it will be a few months before the majority of the population will be protected, as well as knowledge of how long the protection will last.
Even once everyone is vaccinated and the virus is in retreat, there will still be lessons learned from this period. The way we work and how we conduct our daily activities will change from how they were before the pandemic because the way it is now is fundamentally a more efficient way of operating.
Technology has helped us along during these difficult times, and we have learned that with its help, a lot of the tasks we perform can be done remotely. In-person meetings, for example, will be something from the past, and so will the need to manage activities where information can be obtained electronically.
Being able to control what happens on the Production Floor through a Manufacturing Execution System (MES), for example, has allowed manufacturing companies to reduce the personal contact among employees and help prevent the spread of COVID-19. It has also taught us that a relatively modest investment can help dramatically improve the communication between Manufacturing and every other activity that affects or is affected by it.
Managers and supervisors can detect deviations from standard speeds without having to tour the plant or be in the same building.
The Maintenance department can schedule their work based on preset production priorities and save time by directing the right people with the right tools to resolve issues.
The Quality Control department knows when samples are ready to be picked up and can provide Manufacturing instructions electronically, reducing the response time and, therefore, reducing scrap and rework.
The Purchasing department can inform planners and schedulers electronically of vendors’ deliveries’ delays, allowing them to make changes to the schedule to minimize the impact on production. Planners and schedulers can inform Manufacturing electronically and in real-time of changes to the schedule, thus minimizing downtime.
Customer Service has full and real-time visibility to changes in the schedule, therefore being able to alert customers and provide them with realistic delivery dates and times.
As it always happens, the industry leaders are the first to adopt new technology that allows them to be more efficient and cascades to the other players. There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic and the need it created for less personal contact and more electronic communication between parties has accelerated a trend that started a decade ago. Those companies that don’t adopt the new technology will lag in efficiency and will eventually be pushed out by competitors that can provide a better service at a lower price.
For more information on IMCO – CIMAG MES, a state of the art Manufacturing Execution System, contact us at email@example.com