Manufacturers: Can You Turn Your Pandemic Response into a Post-pandemic Strategy?

Jason Chester
By Jason Chester | March 24, 2022
Director of Global Channel Programs

Fact checked by Stephen O'Reilly

As we are all too painfully aware, COVID-19 (and now its surly little variants) has had a tremendous impact on health, society, industry, and economies around the world. Just three months before the first wave started to rapidly sweep the globe in 2020, this (now ubiquitous) virus had never been heard of. As it quickly spread, however, entire industries were shut down and some others were severely disrupted. Workers were directed by governments not to travel—or to work from home whenever and wherever possible—and those that had underlying health conditions were forced to remain in isolation.
 
It felt like the world we knew had been turned on its head overnight. Businesses had no experience with such a disaster, nor had they any contingency plans that came anywhere close to being adequate. The rules were discarded seemingly overnight.
 
Most businesses had to adapt on the fly. Every day felt like another firefight; and as soon as the fires were out, along came the next wave or variant. Manufacturers were constantly reconfiguring their operations in response to supply and demand chain volatility and workforce availability. InfinityQS responded by offering manufacturers the opportunity for the free use of Enact®, our cloud-native quality management platform, which proceeded to enable manufacturers to quickly and easily reduce costs, increase profitability, and adapt on the fly to the changing manufacturing landscape.
Enact Helps Manufacturers Tackle Challenges

Shifting Sands

Changes to technology platforms to support remote workers had to be implemented in weeks, sometimes even days. There was no time for proper planning, feasibility studies, risk assessments, or preparing a detailed business case with ROI projections. Change simply had to happen quickly; no questions asked.
 
Flash forward to March 2022. The last two-years has taught us two things. First, that the impact of the pandemic will be with us for some time to come, perhaps indefinitely. Even with the governments announcing that all COVID restrictions are ended, or will end soon, all it will take is another variant to reignite the conversations of restrictions and lockdowns. Second, and perhaps more importantly, that “black-swan” events—events that come as a surprise, have a major effect, and are often inappropriately rationalized after the fact with the benefit of hindsight—can, and indeed will, eventually happen.
 
That means that we not only need to make permanent some of the rapid changes recently achieved—and make them more robust and operationally sound—but we need to rethink many parts of our business operations. How flexible are they? How robust are they? And how are they able to support other future events that may have unprecedented impact on the business? Not just in terms of another pandemic, but from other events such as terrorist activities, natural disasters, economic crashes, geo-political breakdowns, and major trade wars (and the list goes on).
Enact for Quality Control 
For manufacturers, this ultimately means they must look to optimize their manufacturing operations to ensure that they are efficient, agile, and robust going forward. This is where Enact steps in, offering manufacturers a few major boosts they need to fight the shifting sands of the post-pandemic world:
  • The “big picture” view of operations that “siloed” data makes impossible
  • The “manufacturing intelligence” that makes consistent operations improvements possible
  • And strategic risk mitigation that manufacturers covet—risks that may be on a day-to-day operational level impacting on performance, or more high-level strategic risks such as a failure to comply with internal/external quality standards or customer-, government-, or industry-specific requirements
 

Can You Move Towards a Post-pandemic Strategy?

2022 will be the year in which businesses of all sizes and across all industries will move from the firefighting era of the pandemic knee-jerk-response to an era of sustained operational change. Will you be a part of it? Will this change involve restructuring your IT systems, platforms and operational processes in the form of a post-pandemic strategy? It could be. It should be…
 
The way forward is for Manufacturers to learn from the crisis and proactively identify pain points, bottlenecks, and weak points from across their operations. These may include challenges in access to data, decision-making resources, or simply initial response plans to major disruptions.
 
From this understanding, it’s possible to work through sustainable, tactical improvements to eliminate these risks and constraints, including through the effective use of next-generation information technologies. Organizations can then build a vision for the future with a pipeline of short-term and long-term transformation opportunities that outline a path—from recovery to thriving in the post-pandemic world.
Enact Safeguards Against Loss of Tribal Knowledge

Digital Transformation is Key

Once a lower priority on company budgets and agendas, digital transformation has over the last two years been pushed to the forefront of investment, especially among those companies that found deficiencies in their technology and infrastructure, which impaired their ability to respond and pivot operations when the outbreak began.
 
Now, perhaps more than ever, manufacturers want to create nimble, flexible, and proactive manufacturing environments—driven by data, information, and intelligence. It indicates a remarkable shift from the investments in electro-mechanical automation seen over recent decades, which primarily focused on improving the efficiency and productivity of physical processes.
 
We now can do more than automate manufacturing. We can optimize processes, giving manufacturers intelligent means of understanding what’s happening on the plant floor so they can make informed decisions to drive enhancements and adjust operations accordingly. Those who can readily collect, centralize, analyze, and act on real-time data will be the ones best equipped to recognize and navigate any future disruptions.
Enact on the Shop Floor

Transform with Enact

Enact can help you move from what we call “dysfunctional” data—data that are either incomplete, inconsistent, isolated, or inefficient (what we consider to be the underlying cause behind most performance and quality issues in manufacturing today) toward actionable intelligence—comprised of data that are the exact opposite of dysfunctional—complete, consistent, unified, and efficient.
 
Enact can help you increase efficiency, reduce costs, and improve agility. It all starts with the real-time visibility into your operations that brings you informed decision-making capabilities.
 
And, finally, Enact can help manufacturers deliver strategic improvements to operations, drive enterprise consistency, and ultimately protect your brand’s reputation.
 
Many manufacturers struggle with achieving greater levels of quality and performance consistently across their manufacturing operations. Often, manufacturers look to improve a particular line or process, a specific plant or region, and achieving greater levels of quality and performance consistently across the enterprise is not the focus.
Enact for Strategic Improvement 
Without doubt, achieving strategic improvement with enterprise consistency can help manufacturers make significant gains in performance—whether that be financial, efficiency, productivity, yield, flexibility, or agility. But perhaps the most important aspect is brand protection.
 
You are only as good as the products that you produce. If the relentless pursuit of improvements in cost or yield leads to poor quality (or even unsafe) products being shipped, then it's all been in vain. Customers couldn’t care less about the financial or operational performance of those from whom they buy goods; what they do care about is the quality and safety of the products they consume.
 
So, it stands to reason, that manufacturers must have the ability to implement robust quality procedures, policies, and standards consistently across their entire operations and have the ability to monitor compliance to them.
 
And when and where quality events and risks do emerge, you need to have platforms in place to be able to identify issues and then proactively and decisively respond to them. It is the only way that you can truly be assured that they you are protecting your customers, your company, and your brand. Enact will help you do all this…and more!
 
 
Take advantage of the technology at your fingertips today: Learn more about Enact. Contact one of our account managers (1.800.772.7978 or via our website) for more information.
 
 

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