The year of the Pivot
2021 has been a tough year for manufacturing. While navigating a pandemic on its own is tough to manage, several more challenges have arisen that are affecting every aspect of business. Manufacturers have had to work hard to navigate the current climate and become resilient through finding creative ways to overcome each challenge.
Orbitform’s 5 Regional Sales Managers have continued to travel to customers throughout the United States during these times. In their travels, each RSM has heard common concerns from nearly every manufacturer. Below is the list of challenges and how manufacturers are overcoming each.
The labor shortage
It’s no surprise that finding labor is hard these days. From sea to shining sea, everyone agrees that they simply cannot find enough people and are confused as to where all the workers went. To overcome this challenge and keep up with production, manufacturers are doing the following:
- Automating the assembly process so the work force can focus on higher value-added tasks.
- Investing in the workforce they currently have by developing a great culture and doing regular wage reviews.
- Recruiting with referral bonus incentives, working with the nation’s youth to build new workers, and continuing to keep a strong presence in each community.
Global Supply Chain Shortage
Finding all types of products has become a challenge for manufacturers. From raw material to paint and controls, production for all manufacturers is being delayed. To combat this crisis, manufacturers have shared the following advice:
- Find additional suppliers. Many manufacturers have expanded their vendor list to increase the likelihood of finding what they need.
- Change buying habits to pre-order what will be needed for an entire quarter, half, or full year to ensure availability.
With many cargo boats sitting in the bay waiting to be unloaded, there is no surprise that manufacturers are having trouble with reliable shipping. In addition to sea freight, the trucking and railroad industries are both experiencing challenges with the labor shortage which is affecting the movement of products across the country. To combat this, manufacturers are incorporating the following tactics:
- Create a relationship with a specific shipping company. Leverage the relationship to create a mutually beneficial plan to keep response time low, and in-transit times prompt.
- Communicate with vendors and customers to understand when products are needed and what the shipping lead time will be. Order larger volumes to ensure stock is in place for longer lead time items and encourage customers to do the same.
Throughout the pandemic and this tough year, successful manufacturers have learned to pivot their habits to continue to support production and the company. While demand increases, navigating through this storm of challenges has created a resiliency of those who have learned to change their habits quickly. To learn more about what Orbitform is seeing and how we can help overcome these challenges, contact us today.