While governments and organizations are taking temporary drastic measures to reduce the damaging effects of the coronavirus pandemic, there are some smart changes you can make that will alleviate problems during this crisis and reduce risk when the next one strikes.
Some may argue that many of the government precautions and the public’s reaction are overblown. But even if your own exposure to the virus is minimal, the whole scenario has exposed a variety of other vulnerabilities that are putting your business at risk. Here are three potential strategies for improvement right now that could have an impact extended beyond that of the coronavirus:
1. Disrupted supply chains? Go vertical.
Many overseas suppliers – especially in China – have been forced to halt production due to mandatory quarantine restrictions. Even shipping containers have been restricted from some areas. Perhaps you purchase materials from a state-side provider and think your supply chain is intact, but it’s highly likely that they get some components from an overseas, low-cost provider. That’s going to put your supplies at risk. Still, a virus is only one cause for supply chain disruptions. As we’ve seen recently, fuel shortages, tariff wars, and geopolitical issues can all have adverse effects on your supply chain. It’s time to reevaluate how dependent you are on outside sources and consider a more vertical, in-house manufacturing approach.
2. Reduced in-store shopping traffic? Increase online sales activity and improve productivity rates.
The public’s concern over large gatherings is going to reduce in-store foot traffic. They’re not going to put themselves at risk to lie down on some mattresses in a furniture store that hundreds of other people have already been on. There are two solutions for this issue:
- Expand your online store presence. If you don’t already offer online products, GSG can equip you with the machines to make this happen. A health crisis like this makes online shopping from the comfort – and safety – of your home so much more appealing to customers.
- Improve your manufacturing efficiency and productivity rates. Eliminating waste and overhead from your manufacturing process can make every day more profitable, whether your sales are up or down. So, even if your volume demand decreases, your margins are not damaged. Inefficient methods require higher volumes to compensate for profits lost to waste, but highly efficient manufacturing can make every single unit more profitable.
3. Employees at risk of contracting and spreading the virus? Increase automation to reduce the need for labor.
Labor-dependent manufacturing operations require a healthy workforce. A highly transmittable contagion can spread through your factory very quickly and wreak havoc on your production. Furthermore, the reaction to this pandemic is unprecedented, meaning the liability risk you face if someone contracts a life-threatening virus in your business may also be unprecedented. If the production loss doesn’t shut you down, lawsuit litigation might.
Besides the vulnerabilities of an unhealthy workforce, automation can alleviate many other concerns. Even before the coronavirus outbreak, skilled labor shortages were a growing concern for the mattress industry. Beyond the specific hourly wage cost, there are additional payroll taxes, benefits expenses, worker’s comp insurance costs, and other labor-related expenses that add up to a huge expenditure over time. Automation can quickly pay for itself when you evaluate these true labor costs.
Please understand that there are many degrees of automation. “Automation” does not mean a full replacement of your workforce with a fleet of robots. It can be as simple as improvements to a conveyor line or a multitasking machine that reduces a manual production step. Review your manufacturing process with a GSG representative to see many affordable automation options.
Reduce tomorrow’s risk today
You can call it hype or irrational over-caution, but the negative impact of the coronavirus on business is real, and this won’t be the last time we’re sickened by this kind of economic pandemic. Take precautions now for the long-term health of your mattress company.