How are Manufacturers Dealing with Coronavirus?

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#USAMfgHour Twitter Chat Recap for March 19, 2020

Jennifer Ratcliff of Manufacturer’s News, Inc. (@MfrsNews) was supposed to discuss sales and business development at this week’s #USAMfgHour chat, however, she opted, instead, to focus on a much more timely topic right now:  Coronavirus.

After introductions, we jumped into the chat with Jennifer asking what impact participants have been seeing on their marketing, sales, and business development efforts.  @NJ_MEP said, “We’re seeing a massive impact. New Jersey manufacturers are turning to us for support in this confusing time, and we welcome it. However, most of our normal services have been put on hold and nearly all resources have been shifted to provide #COVID19 support.”  Others indicated that they have seen a small slow down in sales and business development.

Next, Jennifer asked how the Coronavirus is impacting the way participating companies are communicating with customers.  @SpecialTaps said, “More phone, more email, more SM, just less face to face,” which turned out to be the general consensus among respondents.  Facilities have been closed to outside visitors and staff that doesn’t need to be on site have shifted to remote work. Staff members who are on site are following the CDC’s precautionary guidelines. 

Are you seeing a shift in demand for your products or services?  Responses to this question varied. Some participants said everything is normal while others have seen a slight increase based on the products they sell or a decrease due to uncertainty.  @CVTPlastics said, “I am trying to present and update our customers that we are still moving forward as normal. I think it needs to be stated and restated,” a sentiment that was seconded by @NesbitMarketing and several other participants.

When asked what changes they are making to adapt to social distancing on the production floor, warehouse or office, those who responded had a wide array of answers. @SpaceGuard said it has adjusted workstations on the factory floor, added temporary ones, and encouraged more frequent hand washing.  Others have taken similar actions and also included more frequent cleaning and sanitizing of office and production spaces.

Few participants are looking to increase production or adapt product lines to meet the specific demands brought on by Coronavirus, as many of the companies who responded have long lead times on their custom products.  The few that do have quicker turnaround are playing it by ear.

In the closing question, Jennifer asked, “What sorts of tools and resources is your business exploring to help keep up operations at this time?” @UNEX stated it is currently relying on remote communication tools.  Other companies aren’t necessarily looking for anything new. Instead, they are focused on delivering timely communications with their customers and employees.  

Overall, the consensus was that manufacturers are doing what they can to protect their employees during the pandemic while also fulfilling customer orders as timely as possible.

Before ending the chat, Jennifer mentioned Manufacturing News’ industrial solutions, including IndustrySelect for sales, prospecting & business development and IndustryNet for FREE supplier discovery, purchasing & sourcing.

On March 26, 2020, Felix Nater (@FelixNater) will be discussing workplace violence prevention for manufacturers.  We hope you can join us! In the meantime, go follow @MFGTalkRadio on Twitter for great manufacturing-based content.

The #USAMfgHour chat is founded by @DCSCInc @BIllGarlandSpkr @CVTPlastics @witzshared and @SERVICECASTER.  Be sure to follow the official account for chat highlights, recaps, and information at @USAMfgHourChat and visit us on other platforms to keep in touch between chats.

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