Voices from the industry: COVID-19's impact on manufacturing

Dec. 9, 2020
Seven industry experts share their perspectives on surviving, and thriving, in a world turned upside down by the pandemic.

"Any death is a tragedy and I am not making light of illness by considering our livelihood of maintenance alongside the virus, but I would like to share three thoughts. These thoughts are (1) “we don’t know;” (2) planning helps with both productivity and knowledge lost in illness; and (3) we should keep planning especially in these times."
Doc Palmer, PE, CMRP, Contributing Editor
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"The speed and breadth of the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic rightly captures the headlines. However, the impacts of climate change will continue to deepen and the pressure to decarbonize our global energy systems will remain. There will inevitably be other pandemics, but we may only get one shot at managing the climate emergency."
Peter Garforth, Garforth International LLC, Contributing Editor
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"First off, at face value, this quarantine is a blessing, as we are much more comfortable being at home and not socializing. It’s not that we are not social, it just needs to be on our terms. We also love people; we just don’t like to talk about it. What was not expected was that our own family would impede on that introvert-ism."
Captain Unreliability
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"You can be safe from the coronavirus by performing a deep clean of your plant followed by thorough disinfecting using U.S. EPA-registered products on list N. However, once people are reintroduced to the area, there is the chance of reinfection, from COVID-19 or some other pathogen. Infection prevention specialists recognize three levels of clean: sanitized, disinfected, and sterilized."
Peter Duncanson, ServiceMaster Restore
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"We have learned from other articles, surveys, and intelligence that some industries are getting through the pandemic better than others. For example, the transportation sector, including automotive and aviation, has been slammed, though it appears on the way to recovery. Pharmaceutical and food and beverage, on the other hand, have been operating at a higher-than-capacity level overall."
Kevin Clark, CMRP, Fluke Reliability
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"Sixty percent of people in the dataset pointed to communication as being the number one thing employees felt was done well during the crisis. The two most important pieces of information employees are looking for during this crisis are safety and company viability. Basically, what do I need to know to be safe, and will the company weather this storm. Here we need to be open and honest. Give it to them straight. They will appreciate it and understand."
Jay Richards, Denison Consulting
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"It’s safe to say that few if any of us could have predicted the extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact, from our jobs to our family lives. As time goes on, industry is building a bigger and clearer picture of these impacts. One such study was conducted recently by WorkStep, which found that 70% of industrial workers (and 80% of women who were surveyed) feel their safety and their family’s financial security are in conflict due to the pandemic."
Thomas Wilk, Editor in Chief
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