The first half of 2020 was a challenging time for the manufacturing industry. In a recent survey, 60% of manufacturing leaders revealed that they faced disruptions caused by the recent coronavirus outbreak on their production facilities and supply chains. A further 34% of survey respondents expected a decline in business.
Fast forward to today, and we’re only just starting to reopen. For many, it’s time to revive business continuity plans and ensure staff can get back to working at full capacity. There’s a right and wrong way to go about this whole process, so we’ve put together this blog post to share a few tips you should consider when reopening your manufacturing plant.
Considerations before reopening
The first thing you’ll need to do before you open the doors to your facility is to make sure you have a written plan of action. This plan should take into account all the potential health and safety risks associated with reopening and any guidance from your local government.
For example, according to OSHA Section 5(a)(1), “each employer shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.”
These guidelines are nothing new, but they will need to be looked at under a different lens in a post-pandemic world where uncertainty remains the main sentiment among employers. In addition, previously established standards may no longer be applicable when businesses reopen and will need to be readapted to fit a “new normal.”
How to ensure a successful Manufacturing Facility Reopening
To ensure a successful transition into this new normal, Leaders will need to take an employee-first approach when reopening facilities. Empathy is the key word. That means focusing on creating an inclusive and rewarding environment and ensuring everyone feels safe to come to work every day.
Employees returning from lockdown will also likely have several issues and concerns about the safety of their jobs, so it’s up to you to listen and offer solutions. By showing your employees that you value their wellbeing, you’ll be more likely to get everyone on board with new ways of working in a short amount of time.
In addition to addressing employee concerns, consider what changes you’ll need to make to your workspaces. Social distancing rules that came into effect during the lockdown will still need to be reinforced when your manufacturing facilities are reopened. That will affect how much working space you’ll have available on the manufacturing floor.
For instance, if your manufacturing facility had dedicated spaces for training employees, you could repurpose them into new workspaces and opt for virtual training solutions such as Simutech’s simulation training platform. That will ensure your new working environment conforms to the new standard of virtual/physical hybrid spaces without affecting your training programs.
Manage your costs and schedule
You’ll want to make sure to keep track of your spending as you reopen your facilities. Avoid making any sudden investments. Instead, use a wait-and-see approach and only spend if there’s a long term benefit to your operations after reopening.
Rolling out your manufacturing reopening in multiple phases can also help you control your costs, and create a better process for getting everyone back to work. As a part of your schedule, you should consider any unforeseen events that may happen and remain flexible to any changes.
Retrain your employees
Reopening your facility is a perfect time to retrain your employees on electrical troubleshooting and equipment maintenance. You want to refresh any knowledge that may have been lost during the lockdown, and one of the most effective ways to do that is through simulation training.
Contact us today at [email protected] to learn more about how you can use our platform to train your workers.