Effects of COVID-19 on Industrial Manufacturing
Emerging trends to look for in a post-COVID world will be more reliable and resilient supply chains – not just more cost-effective ones. Supply chain regionalization also brings the acceleration of end-to-end value chain digitalization, enabling low-cost, flexible operations. Finally, the use of data and the application of advanced analytics like machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) will be a critical success factor. Companies that embrace this digital revolution early on will reap the benefits of better insights and accelerated value capture. While companies who once had the luxury to wait were starting to feel the pressure to act, COVID-19 has increased the urgency and necessitated a quick and bold response.
The effects of the COVID-19 outbreak can be seen throughout almost every industry – none more than industrial manufacturing. The impacts have been significant: supply chain disruptions, issues with shipping and distribution, and staffing challenges. In light of current events, the focus of manufacturers has shifted from streamlining and driving further supply chain efficiencies to driving integration between IT and OT systems to maintaining basic levels of operations. Intelligence and foresight to help anticipate and mitigate future challenges are essential – and, to achieve this, we see manufacturers turning to technology and smart devices.
New Challenges for Industrial Manufacturing
The effects of COVID-19 on the supply chain are significant and wide-ranging. They include such challenges as difficulty in the procurement of procuring necessary materials, spikes in pricing due to increased demand, and limited fulfillment capacity by suppliers. Abandoned and delayed shipments result in a lag of 4-6 weeks in receiving supplies, further impacting manufacturers’ ability to maintain operational efficiency.
The COVID-19 pandemic also presents staffing challenges which are restricting manufacturers’ ability to preserve business continuity. Such challenges include government regulations, such as social distancing requirements, and organized labor disputes, such as worker walkouts and sickouts, as has been seen with workers from Amazon and Target.
All these challenges undoubtedly result in slowing the production line to downstream consumers, thus resulting in a negative impact on manufacturers’ top and bottom lines. This is forcing manufacturers to find innovative ways to address these challenges and obtain intelligence that can be used to anticipate and mitigate future risks.
Smarter Manufacturing for Actionable Insights
We are seeing a noticeable acceleration of technology adoption in industrial manufacturing in response to the current situation surrounding COVID-19. With the increased need for data analytics and insights, manufacturing is becoming “smarter” through technology and connected devices. In summary, the pace of change and adopting Industry 4.0 is only increasing, even as the notion of accelerating digitization has quickly become a cliché.
With a new focus on efficient use of resources, we expect to see manufacturers increasingly utilize remote technology, including autonomous equipment and sensors such as those in forklifts or robotic cleaners. These devices are enabled with wireless connectivity, providing valuable data insights – resulting in better decision-making and productivity for organizations that leverage the technology.
IoT technology such as location-based services and critical asset monitoring can provide manufacturers with increased visibility into their supply chain with actionable data for preventative maintenance and proactive risk mitigation. The newest IoT solutions for asset management include real-time alerts, allowing manufacturers to take action to minimize loss associated with delayed, damaged, or lost goods in transport.
IoT deployments for manufacturers are being streamlined through advances such as eSIM technology, which provides a universal propostion for global connectivity with autonomous, over-the-air profiling and remote monitoring to avoid service disruptions. eSIM provides a single connectivity solution for their connected products. This results in increased efficiency in how products are designed, manufactured, operated, and serviced during their lifecycle and drives improved resiliency in the supply chain.
A Promising Future for IIoT Adoption
While these are challenging times for industrial manufacturing, organizations that adopt technology and connectivity solutions will be poised to weather the storm and emerge more innovative and adaptable than ever. A crisis such as the global COVID-19 pandemic forces companies to embrace new ways of doing business. Creative problem solving using new and advanced technologies will not only accelerate the adoption of industrial IoT solutions but also help manufacturers ensure productivity and profitability through the next crisis and beyond.
Romil Bahl – President and Chief Executive Officer, KORE. Romil Bahl serves as CEO of KORE. He brings almost 30 years of consulting, information technology, professional services, and IoT experience in high-growth and turnaround environments. Throughout his career, Romil has been instrumental in enabling breakthrough growth in information and professional services organizations. He has risen to complex challenges where he has crafted growth strategies, tapped new emerging markets and energized global teams. His leadership approach reflects deep expertise in developing strong client relationships and creating teams that are driven to innovate and excel.
John Chambers – Vice President, EMEA Sales, KORE. As VP of Sales, John is responsible for driving all sales across the EMEA region with a focus on growing the company’s Enterprise, Channel & IOT Solutions businesses. Prior to joining KORE John held numerous leadership roles at the Enterprise Software Leader, PTC where he was responsible for Worldwide Sales, Strategy & GTM of the Telco Partner Program and prior to that lead PTC’s OEM & ISV Program in EMEA-India Markets. John holds a Master’s degree in Psychology from the University of Stirling.