According to a recent study conducted by Pew Research Centre, 96% of Americans own a mobile phone, while over 74% own a computer device. This is a clear sign of how the electronic manufacturing industry has shifted over the past century. However, the emergence and spread of the Coronavirus has hit companies across the electronics manufacturing industries.
As of June 2020, nearly all countries had reported Coronavirus cases, with a total of 371,000 deaths out of a reported 6 million cases. Apart from the movement restrictions imposed, leading to many employees working remotely, the virus has presented many business process complications. Logistics slowdown and unavailability of workers across the globe have resulted in a halt in production. Shipping and delivery of raw materials have also affected the electronics industry.
A Disrupted Industry
The major market players are taking steps to reduce the adverse effects of the pandemic. Apple has delayed the production of the iPhone 9 due to the outbreak in China. It has also announced that it would not meet its sales targets for the first quarter.
In Demand Electronics
The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in conjunction with Microsoft, has developed a Coronavirus self-checker, which assists people who are feeling sick to determine whether they should seek treatment.
Remote electronic devices that allow one to continue working during lockdown have been in demand. The tracking and logistics industries are also busier than ever before. Artificial Intelligence solutions have also seen an increase in demand for their services. AI is critical in reducing human interaction and enhancing social distancing. Many businesses are turning to AI solutions to reduce person-to-person contact.
How Electronic Manufacturing Companies are Coping
Some companies i.e., Sony and Dell Computers, have had to withdraw their 2021 forecasts due to uncertainty presented by the pandemic. The focus for Sony long before the pandemic was to distribute its most important facilities geographically. However, the pandemic has resulted in Sony shutting down manufacturing plants in China and Malaysia, resulting in an unstable flow of parts from Asia, leading to the shutdown of a manufacturing plant in the UK that lasted until late April.
An Action Plan for Companies to Restart Operations
According to Deloitte, companies can take the following actions to restart their operations.
Issuing travel restrictions and work from home guidelines hurts in the short term, but it helps to safeguard the workforce to ensure that they are healthy once the curve flattens. Tactical actions may also include assessing the risks involved in allowing visitors to workplaces.
Finding alternative sources for raw materials and parts by looking to areas that have managed to contain the outbreak or flatten the curve may be one of the logical things to do. Reducing output or shutting down a location may be a reasonable action as well as rescheduling product launches.
It is the responsibility of managers to monitor the pandemic situation in real-time continuously. This entails performing risk analysis and laying out plans for managing their workforce to bring the operations back to normal.
All industrial sectors are feeling the effects of the COVID 19 pandemic in varying degrees. As the electronic manufacturing industry fights to return to normal, the downturn can also be seen as an opportunity to learn. Working closely with your EMS is essential since it will enable you to understand a pandemic’s effect on the electronic manufacturing industry where resilience and adaptability will be critical in the coming years.