(STL.News) The disruption caused by the ongoing pandemic has been present across almost every single industry, and manufacturing is no exception.
While the struggle to come to terms with life in a post-COVID-19 world is ongoing, it is already possible to make predictions about how the future will play out in this particular area. Here are a few of the things that the early signs suggest could come to pass for American manufacturers in 2021 and beyond.
Equipment sales may be necessary to cope with financial ramifications
While some manufacturers may be better insulated than others from the fiscal problems brought about by the pandemic, the unfortunate reality is that over three quarters of firms questioned in a recent survey from the National Association of Manufacturers expect to take some kind of hit to their balance books.
The side-effect of this will be that as some businesses will be forced to close and others will need to downsize or reconfigure their operations to survive, the selling off of equipment will be unavoidable. Marketplace sites like Revelation Machinery will likely be flooded with used machinery and it could become a buyer’s market, for those that are in the position to seize the opportunity with which they have been presented.
Supply chain complications are anticipated
The same NAM study cited earlier provides other indications about how manufacturers are feeling about the near future, with just over a third saying that disruption to their supply chain is putting them in a difficult position.
This shows that even in the case that the companies themselves have not seen a dip in demand for their products, they may be unable to fulfill the needs of eager customers simply because other organizations further down the chain from them have suffered in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
Of course the US is well aware of its important role in the wider context of the global economy, hence the sums it is committing to the worldwide efforts associated with tackling the pandemic. These efforts are already leading to some easing of supply chain problems, although it is difficult to argue that the end is in sight.
Digital projects are gaining traction
The challenges faced by manufacturers at the moment are helping to readjust where they are focusing their attention and instead make the development of digital projects more appealing, given the supply chain uncertainties and other obstacles to normal operation.
Such projects can empower manufacturers in various ways, with the likes of artificial intelligence and additive techniques allowing them to both improve customer service and find fresh ways to deliver their creations to clients.
Putting the emphasis on making progress digitally is also a means of allowing US firms to enter emerging markets, enabling them to be more agile and adaptive.
While there may be a lot of uncertainty thrown up by COVID-19, the US manufacturing sector seems poised to face these problems head-on and hopefully come out stronger and leaner as a result.