10 Practical Things Manufacturers Can Do to Respond to the COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 info

AM&T staff are ready to provide guidance and consultation for Southern Tier Manufacturers – whether you need help modeling your cash flow, creating or modifying your strategic plan, implementing workforce best practices or updating your cybersecurity, we are here to help! Contact us at 607-774-0022 or email: info@amt-mep.org

Use the following checklist to help you withstand the impacts of COVID-19 and be better prepared for further disruptions.

A. Model your Cash Flow position

  • Prioritize essential expenses and delay expenses considered discretionary.
  • Bank lines of Credit and small business loans may be appropriate to supplement available cash reserves.
  • Investigate new information on COVID-19 emergency funding support which can be found at www.SBA.gov/disaster.

B. Check your Insurance Coverage

  • Consult with your attorney and insurance agent to confirm what your obligations are under the latest FLMA updates.

C. Communicate with your Customers

  • Reach out directly to your customers and communicate clearly and consistently. Make sure they know you are open for business. Encourage their feedback on how you can make it easier for them to purchase your products and/or services. This will go a long way to solidifying your relationship with them.
  • Use your social media presence to keep your customers up to date. If you typically don’t use social media, now is the perfect time to investigate how to leverage all the available platforms and create an on-line presence making it easier for you to connect with your customers.

D. Prepare your Employees for the Future State

  • Clearly communicate with your employees that they will be protected to the best of your ability. It goes without saying that you want to retain the key people who drive your business.
  • If layoffs are unavoidable the state has made it much easier for an employee who has been laid off to get unemployment, and it has extended those benefits to those who are forced out of work due to coronavirus. Please refer to the following link for additional information: https://www.ny.gov/services/get-unemployment-assistance
  • Consider conducting weekly team huddles to keep all employees informed as to all changing priorities and what will be expected of them until things return to what most likely will be a NEW NORMAL.

E. Protect your Production Capabilities & Facility

  • Be clear with your employees regarding your specific policies regarding business and safety protocols relating to the virus. It’s probably wise to follow as closely as possible the CDC guidelines, social distancing, clean work areas, environments and proper hygiene.
  • Take every precaution to keep your employees safe and healthy. Strongly consider implementing preventative cleaning to include sanitization and mechanical cleaning of horizontal surfaces and common touchpoints such as doorknobs, computer keyboards and operational plumbing fixtures with microfiber cloths and an EPA-approved service.
  • Download this OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19

F. Update your Cybersecurity

G. Be a Leader for your Remote Workers

  • Working remotely may not be an ideal option, however company leaders need to assess what functions can be done remotely and what must be completed in the office. For most businesses, not everything can be remote. Try to have a measured approach and get as many people as possible to work remotely, but realize it’s probably not possible for all, depending on job function, employee skill, family situation at home of the employee and more.
  • Maximize the effectiveness of your organization’s internal communications by increasing your level of technology, if necessary, as quickly and as affordably as possible.
  • If you are currently using a traditional server set up and not on the cloud consider a business license to Zoom, WebEx, Skype, or Microsoft Teams.
  • Click here for more thoughts on going remote.

H. Consider Shifting your Strategic Priorities

  • If you had a strategic plan for 2020 it most likely will need to be revisited and modified. Priorities will need to be adjusted with greater emphasis on essential product support.
  • If you don’t have a strategic plan for 2020 now is the perfect time to develop one to guide your efforts through this challenging and unprecedented business climate.

I. Manage what’s in your Control

  • Identify what items, tasks, and issues are Urgent and Mission Critical, Important but not Urgent, Nice to Have but Not Important nor Urgent. Work on or assign and delegate resources as applicable.
  • Be realistic. Achieve one thing each day rather than trying to address a number of items…accomplishing none of them.
  • Identify your assets and apply the best resources to address a task/issue. Use this time to multiply yourself by developing subordinates to help achieve results.

J. Plan for what’s Next

  • Use this time to develop plans for greater effectiveness and efficiency in your work flow, especially on your production lines as demand begins to regenerate.
  • Conduct critical maintenance and repairs on equipment to maximize output capacity as business conditions begin to return to normal.
  • Prepare and cross-train team members to compensate for any attrition in your workforce that may have occurred.
  • Design new products or extensions to your current product mix that can ramp up quickly and capitalize on new revenue opportunities.

— Special thank you to MEP, MAGNET for providing the original content in this checklist, which has been edited.

A list of additional resources can be found at https://www.amt-mep.org/coronavirus-resources/. Please contact us at 607-774-0022 or email: info@amt-mep.org. if you have any questions.

Stay safe!

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