Responding to COVID-19: The view from the Manufacturing sector

Working together to prosper and thrive

Before, during and after lockdown, BNH has done its utmost to share reliable advice and support with our members. This issue of FYI is no exception, which is why our editor approached several key industry leaders to share their insights.

Amongst the abundance of practical information on BNH’s website’s dedicated COVID-19 section, are video interviews with local representatives from other sectors. These experts have provided updates here too.

To view the original videos, and for many more online resources, please click here.

The Three Stages of Pandemic Response

The view from the Manufacturing sector

COVID-19 has been hugely disruptive to the manufacturing sector. Some manufacturers were deemed essential services (food and beverage manufacturing or those making essential service products or components) but the vast majority of manufacturers were in complete lockdown in the Alert Level 4 response. Even at Alert Level 3, productivity will have been well below normal with businesses having to operate in a COVID-safe way.

Those that were exporting were worried about losing customers in overseas markets and being replaced by manufacturers in countries where more business was allowed to continue. In addition there was a lot of supply chain disruption to get imports in the country and exports out of the country, particularly when China was in full lockdown mode.

As we move past flattening the virus and towards recovery, there will be many lessons learned.

In the short term, the focus will be on cash flow and getting new orders – and that could involve different ways of working. Many businesses will be wanting a digital channel to customers they may not have previously needed.

Businesses will be looking at their supply chain resilience, from inventory levels to logistics to diversity of suppliers, etc.

Manufacturers may decide to on-shore more of their activity and they will be looking for new income streams (selling services alongside product). They will be looking at all their processes and aiming to be more productive, speeding up prototyping and being more agile. Hopefully they will continue to invest in R&D, and that might be right across their organisation, including business processes.

Those that survive this pandemic will be more robust, nimble and innovative than they have ever been, and will probably be more collaborative with other businesses as well.

The BusinessNZ network and ExportNZ are running a wide range of webinars for members on how to rebuild business and exports, with expert speakers on a range of topics.

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Peter Green

Peter Green