Most likely, the answer is yes. Wuhan and other parts of China shut not only their manufacturing down, but entire cities. That effect has rippled, as COVID-19 has spread and continues to spread, growing to become the global health pandemic that it is today.
Exactly how the coronavirus will hit the molding industry is to be seen, but we can make some educated guesses based on what’s already happening. Here are our five predictions and expectations, plus advice on how to deal with a few of them.
Supply Chain Squeeze
Due to manufacturers in China and elsewhere closing or scaling back operations, supply chains are going to cut down to a trickle or temporarily dry up completely. While you and your customers might have a stockpile of raw material, it may not be enough to last until normal operations return. The good news is that normal operations are starting to resume, so supply chain issues are likely to be temporary.
Fact: China has seven of the world’s top 10 busiest ports. With all of the travel restrictions in China, a majority of port workers and laborers couldn’t get to their jobs. With little to no one to do the work, the shipping slowed to a halt, causing a hit to the industry. What does this mean for you? Don’t expect on-time deliveries, as supplies and components are likely to be bottlenecked and delayed. That being said, you likely won’t be the only one experiencing this pain point, so do your best to keep your patience and navigate the situation with grace.
Trade Shows Postponed or Canceled
Per medical experts, people should avoid large gatherings, as the coronavirus is most commonly spread through contact with an infected individual and symptoms can take up to 14 days to show up. Many trade shows are heeding this advice and either canceling or postponing their events. While these changes are an inconvenience at best, they are doing their part for the industry and their communities to help curb the spread of this infectious disease, and that’s something we should all appreciate.
As more and more cases of coronavirus are diagnosed here in the U.S., it’s likely your employees will be impacted. Whether it’s school closures, like we’ve experienced here in Michigan (all K-12 schools are closed through April 5, 2020, per Governor Whitmer’s order), they have a sick family member, or suspect they’re symptomatic, you may experience a shortage of labor. Do your best to empathize, as this is also stressful for them. Be flexible with your sick and personal time off policies where you can. Also, check-in often, ask for open and honest input and feedback, and communicate frequently. This will make great strides in reassuring your workforce and boosting morale.
There’s already talk amongst the media that we’re tipping into a recession. While financial experts agree that a recession is a probability, if it does happen, they also say it’s unlikely to be as bad or as long lasting as the Great Recession that began in 2007. Generally, with recession comes increased pricing, decreased spending and other economic downturns, but it’s to be determined if and how long we’ll have to bear these hardships.
As you navigate the coronavirus and its impacts on your business, remember: we’re all in this together and we all have an important part to play. How you choose to play it is up to you, but we hope you take the high road, whatever that may be.