The COVID-19 pandemic continues impacting manufacturers in an unprecedented way, globally hitting demand, supply, and workforce at the same time.
Fortune reports that 94% of Fortune 1000 companies have seen supply chain disruptions from COVID-19 and 75% of companies have had negative or strongly negative impacts on their businesses. The global manufacturing and supply chain ecosystems have been among the hardest-hit sectors by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Fictiv’s newly released 2020 State of Manufacturing Report, 89% of manufacturers reported a direct business impact because of COVID-19, including lower sales, increased costs of materials and production, and canceled or delayed product launches.
One of the largest hurdles for manufacturers is practicing social distancing and keeping employees safe on the shop floor, as pre-pandemic processes require close contact. It’s reported that 40-50% of workforces are unable to perform their job functions during the pandemic, leaving manufacturers scrambling to implement technology to address the gaps, inefficiencies, and pain points on both the shop floor and in back-office.
Most manufacturing facilities are not designed for remote management and lack technology to prepare for this new environment, but some manufacturers have found a way to quickly implement low-code technology to solve these problems.
COVID impacts more than the supply chain.
One of the biggest issues that have surfaced as a result of the COVID-19 crisis is supply chain resilience.
Supply chain resilience describes the ability to recover from disruptions and risk events by adapting. This can either mean returning to the original state of the supply chain or a better one. With COVID representing the ultimate “risk” event, within a matter of days, the entire framework for many manufacturers had changed— suddenly, many enterprises were faced with unprecedented demand along with increased safety concerns. Suppliers experienced trade restrictions and sourcing issues. Many production plants were forced to shut down due to quarantine laws. Travel restrictions complicated trade routes and delivery shipments. Quarantine measures forced labor shortages. The laundry list continues to this day.
In Fictiv’s report, only 17% of respondents rated their supply chain resilience and adaptability as exceptional, yet it was deemed “important” by 99%.
Manufacturers discovered overnight that the reliance on outdated systems caused significant roadblocks and sinking margins. Without any “wiggle room,” manufacturers are scrambling to find effective ways to increase their supply chain agility through automation and digitizing processes.
Because manufacturers need the ability to react to needs quickly, adopting low-code or no-code platforms for automation gives anyone in the business the ability to turn manual processes into an application in record time for use across the entire production line, even on mobile or without an internet signal. Low-code platforms benefit every aspect of the supply chain by improving efficiencies, centralizing data, and automating processes, helping businesses adapt to the new normal.
The jig is up for error-prone legacy systems.
If agility relies on being able to respond quickly to challenges and make changes, most enterprises are in trouble. Too often, manufacturers rely on inflexible and error-prone systems like bespoke, legacy supply chain management (SCM) applications, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, or even manual tools like spreadsheets and emails.
These systems can supply bad data, waste time and money, hinder labor productivity, drive up unnecessary labor costs, create sluggish manufacturing lead time, and ultimately contribute to low-performing supply chains. This is why 87% of Fictiv’s respondents are making digital transformation a high priority.
“COVID-19 is a clear point of demarcation in the industry, accelerating the transition from traditional supply chains and manufacturing to a digitally-enabled future,” said Fictiv CEO Dave Evans. “This deep dive reveals an opportunity for those industries most profoundly impacted by the physical realities of the virus to iterate faster with finer tolerances and higher quality using digital manufacturing advances.”
With low-code solutions, manufacturers can centralize, simplify, and automate any process— plus, they are designed to make app development more accessible to everyone, regardless of prior coding or computer programming knowledge.
Using low-code, manufacturers are able to address their individualized pain points, whether it’s bottlenecks, scattered data collection, or miscommunication on the shop floor. From logistics to production, quality to inventory management, low-code offers an opportunity to improve visibility in real-time, produce higher quality products, increase safety and compliance, and decrease costs. Research shows the benefits of automation include significant increases in visibility and operational effectiveness and decreases in operator errors and response times.
Low-code is the way of the future, and many manufacturers are implementing it to safeguard against the disruption of COVID-19. Businesses turning to low-code now will be prepared to alter processes with a click of a button.
Manufacturing’s survival depends on digital innovation.
For many, the COVID-19 pandemic is more than just a problem to solve— it’s an opportunity for improvement.
In fact, 88% of successful companies see COVID as an opportunity. They expressed the belief that the manufacturing companies that survive COVID-19 will be the ones willing to implement innovative solutions and see the pandemic as an opportunity to digitize.
Companies that have embraced new technologies early are already seeing a 7% revenue growth advantage over their peers. It’s clear that as the pandemic continues, a significant competitive advantage will exist for manufacturers who are further ahead on their digital journey versus those just starting to digitize.
By implementing low-code solutions and creating more efficient systems, manufacturers have the option to innovate solutions to not only address common challenges but create new systems and solutions that propel their enterprise into new modes of success.
If you could run your business more efficiently through data automation, why wouldn’t you?
For many manufacturers, the answer may be something simple. “This is the way we’ve always done it.” “Why fix what isn’t broken?” “We save money by avoiding high-tech solutions.” But research shows that sticking with clunky, outdated systems is costing manufacturers money and business in the long run. Find out just how much manual processes are impacting your business.
Why is data at the center of the industrial revolution 4.0?
While manufacturers have long collected data, until recently, they haven’t done much with it. It’s simple: those who can efficiently capture data and effectively use it to improve their operations will have a competitive edge over those who don’t. Discover what harnessing real-time data means for manufacturing.
If you’re interested in modernizing your supply chain, you can centralize data and automate processes end-to-end, such as inventory and warehouse management, customer requirements, logistics, returns management, sourcing and supplier management, risk, and compliance, and more— all with a low-code platform. See how this Fortune 500 security logistics company dramatically improved their supply chain using the most-trusted low-code platform.