By Lucas Funes, CEO & Founder
For the last several weeks, cities all over the world have been under shelter-in-place orders. While some areas are slowly easing restrictions, it could be months or more before activity goes back to “normal.” For companies, remote work is going to be standard practice for the foreseeable future, and especially for industrial manufacturing operations, remote monitoring will become a priority.
Working from home may become commonplace as companies choose to cut down on office space and encourage remote work even after the pandemic is brought under control. If staff members are working from home, companies can reduce office space or eliminate offices altogether.
Automation will allow organizations to operate even amid disasters. Previously, it’s adoption was met with some resistance, it was viewed as a “nice-to-have technology.” Now, given the circumstances industrial manufacturing operations has faced - automation has quickly become a must-have for businesses who want to come out of this successfully and also build more resilient operations. Let’s take a look at some ways the COVID-19 pandemic will reshape businesses.
What does the post-pandemic future look like for working environments?
As things continue to evolve, It’s hard to predict the future with certainty, but anyone can contemplate what might come to pass. Bill Gates, for example, has been warning about the risk of a major pandemic for years. Many medical professionals have been sounding the alarm as well. Still, people never saw it coming.
On the business side, we can’t say for sure what’s going to happen after this pandemic is brought under control. Things will “go back to normal” but what does that actually mean? The new normal may be quite different from the past.
Consider commutes. No one likes being stuck in traffic or on the subway. Yet many metropolitan areas are congested, especially during rush hour. Employees may be stuck on the road for an hour or more to and from home. Unsurprisingly, 54 percent of Americans now want to work remotely after the pandemic ends.
Some businesses may find the idea of remote work scary or intimidating. However, companies can take advantages of savings associated with downsizing or eliminating offices making work from home more tempting.
Many companies such as Amazon, Google, and others have been using remote employees and contractors for years. Remote work is a modern phenomenon. The Internet, streaming video services, online project management tools, and other platforms make work from home possible and relatively easy.
Further, in the so-called shut-in economy, online learning has become the norm. Companies can leverage this to increase employee training while reducing the need for expensive retreats. So while office work may be getting the most attention as far as virtual work goes, manufacturers may evolve dramatically as well, embracing new technologies and discarding outdated practices.
Even non-remote companies will undergo massive change
Many manufacturing and industrial facilities remained open during the outbreak. However, even in spite of the shutdown, essential operations have been closed and severely affected by in-house outbreaks of COVID-19.
While manufacturers initially resisted change, the shortcomings caused by a lack of preparation have become obvious. By using IoT and AI-driven automated processes, and leveraging data, companies can fortify supply lines and reduce the risk of being shut down by diseases.
A better understanding of inventory can also help companies prepare for outbreaks or other events that could affect supply lines - and, this has to do with having access to real-time data. Automation is no longer a “nice-to-have” solution - it is the only way companies can succeed in the post-pandemic world.
The Internet-of-Things can make manufacturing and industrial activity more responsive to unfolding events. AI can be used to help manage resources even as humans call in sick, helping increase efficiency and ensuring a steady supply of inputs and production.
Manufacturers need to accelerate technology adoption and the most effective way to do that is by adopting solutions that work with existing infrastructure, are easy to deploy, and guarantee immediate ROI, such as Webee’s Remote Monitoring Solution that is installed remotely in just hours without the need of technical expertise.
COVID-19 will create a paradigm shift
The COVID-19 outbreak started in China and quickly shut down supply chains across the globe. As this disaster proves, what happens in China won’t necessarily stay in China. Many companies are already re-examining their supply chains to ensure continuity in the event of the next crisis.
Some companies will leverage data and other resources to fortify and diversify supply chains. More manufacturing processes may relocate back to the United States and other fully-developed countries. Technology is a key ally on this transitional proceses. Automation, and AI, can help to take over the redundant tasks while reducing human error. Much of the work will be automated. So then, even if employees will need to stay home - the supply chain can withstand the disruption.
It’s time to embrace the types of strategic technologies that will prepare us for the future of business operations. We are all in this together so let’s get to work!