2020 was definitely a challenging year. COVID-19 ran rampant across the globe and a number of industries felt the effects. Tourism, hospitality and retail were some of the hardest-hit industries thanks to the lack of travel and outside interactions. But another industry that was affected was the manufacturing industry. Supply issues, staffing problems and logistic disputes caused a ripple effect that was felt from top to bottom.
Some companies did see this as an opportunity, however. They saw a chance to improve processes to make them more efficient and cost-effective. They decided to implement Lean Six Sigma to help remove waste and reduce variation.
The impact of COVID-19
COVID-19 was definitely not something that was anticipated across the manufacturing industry. When it first spread, the initial response was for people to stay at home, which meant that staff and workers were unable to go to work, causing a major disruption to production and supply chains. This, in turn, created a number of problems across the industry, such as:
- Increased Costs – Thanks to the lack of raw materials and the steady increase of manufactured products, overall costs have gradually increased. With most manufacturers aiming to continue steady production levels throughout the pandemic, the demand for raw materials has continued to increase. This has caused many to search for alternative suppliers, which has led to higher overheads, which organisations have had to pass on to consumers.
- Delayed Deliveries – Given the travel restrictions placed on much of the world in terms of international shipping from suppliers, delivery dates are continuously being pushed back for manufacturers. Again, this has led to the issue being felt by the consumer, as the expected delivery date is also pushed back.
- Precarious Position – With the world still coping with the pandemic crisis, most manufacturing companies are situated in a precarious position. The uncertain future means that it has become difficult to forecast too far in advance, meaning that supply chain disruptions are a continuous issue.
- Decrease & Increase in Demand – Both of these issues have been raised over the last 18 months. A decrease in demand means that overall profit has dropped, meaning that budget cuts need to be made and that most likely means lost jobs. On the other hand, the increase in demand has caused quite a headache for some companies, as they don’t have the inventory to meet the demand, causing consumer issues.
How Can Lean Six Sigma Help During These Times?
Lean Six Sigma is a proven methodology for reducing unnecessary waste and reducing variation with organisations. Within the manufacturing sector, it can help identify any issues that may have arisen thanks to COVID-19, without the need to make significant cuts to the overall budget.
It can also help put in place processes to safeguard most companies from overproducing and oversupplying, meaning that profit margins can be steadily increased over time.
Looking to improve your processes? Contact Thornley Group today.
Thornley Group has decades of experience working with companies in the manufacturing sector to help improve overall processes and procedures. Using the Lean Six Sigma methodology, many organisations have seen significant improvements in both productivity and their bottom line. Contact us today and we can talk you through the next steps.