Earlier this year, our country came to a halt in our efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. Affecting everything from social gatherings to economic development, it’s no surprise that businesses and industries, large and small, were greatly impacted. We’ve witnessed an unexpected increase in demand for a variety of products, brought on by panic, that manufacturers were unprepared for. Plants across the world closed their doors leaving large organizations caught off guard and unprepared with a disruption of this magnitude in their operations.
Already, manufacturers have had to pivot and adjust to handling operations in a climate of uncertainty. Some are retooling and using their machinery to help support those essential industries that have been hit the hardest. We’re seeing distilleries pivot from alcohol to producing hand sanitizers and agencies with 3D printers assisting with creating ventilators. In a time of uncertainty, it’s inspiring to see organizations shift their focus and use their resources to support essential industries. Even consumers have adjusted their expectations and accepted the changes in how they receive the products they need.
So what next? When the world eventually returns to some sense of normalcy, how will this affect the manufacturing industry in the long run?
Long Term Impacts
A recent episode of Site Selection Matters, a podcast produced by the Site Selectors Guild, dove into a discussion regarding the current state of the manufacturing industry and how COVID-19 has impacted it. President of the Site Selectors Guild Rick Weddle chats with Michelle Comerford, Industrial and Supply Chain Practice Lead at Biggins Lacy Shapiro & Company about her thoughts on the disruption COVID-19 has caused on global and national supply chains.
Comerford comments on how the long term impact of this pandemic will force manufacturers to address now how the industry will have to change in order to better handle a disruption like this in the future. After years of pushing global, the manufacturing industry has toyed with the idea of moving back to local. According to Comerford, COVID-19 is only accelerating that reality. The impacts of our present situation is forcing manufacturers to rethink how their supply chains are structured and how that would look if brought local. So what could that look like? Comerford suggests that a trend of making products closer to the markets that consume them is on track to become manufacturers’ new reality.
Make Local, Sell Local
When you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. Companies that make products for the United States markets should make them in the United States. Companies in the United States that sell to markets in Italy should consider making products in Italy. Rather than restrict manufacturing efforts to one region or country, make products locally – especially for essential industries like pharmaceuticals or health care equipment.
Take a listen for yourself and check out the episode here.
With a future that’s pushing forward more this concept of manufacturing local for markets, consider expanding your site search to Montana. Ideally situated at the intersection of major highways and railroads, Montana Connections Business Development Park is the perfect location for manufacturing and distribution companies. Learn more about the Park’s advantages here.