With the recent lifting of all COVID-19 restrictions in the UK now is the perfect time to look at the cause and effect the pandemic has created from a manufacturing perspective. Although regulations are diminished it is undeniable that the effects of the pandemic still linger and will continue to do so for years as we enter ‘the new normal’.
It has been almost 2 years since COVID-19 shook the world and forced us here at Clevedon Fasteners to re-assess the way we work. Here are a number of the ways we have adapted and grown in the face of change:
Our Primary Changes
The pandemic caused Clevedon Fasteners and many other manufacturers to change the traditional way of operating. The work from home mandate made a significant difference to the administration of many companies. At Clevedon Fasteners, we found this worked very well and the “new normal” is now a hybrid method of working.
Manufacturing simply cannot be done at home. As soon as employees were able to return to work in the manufacturing area, as well as adjust to the relevant restrictions, a new method of manufacturing and control was needed. This resulted in streamlining the organisation, to a very flat structure. Shop floor operatives took on many administrative and planning functions normally carried out by positions such as production and planning managers. These changes significantly improved communication planning.
It was also recognised very early on that Fridays were very unproductive compared with the other four days of the week. To rectify this Clevedon Fasteners first trialled and then adopted a four-day 12 hour week. These simple changes were driven by necessity but resulted in a 28% improvement in productivity and together with the administration changes have led to significant cost savings.
For many years at Clevedon Fasteners, we have strived to facilitate a team working environment. Whilst we had always recognised the brilliance of our team throughout the business, the pandemic resulted in a “we are all in it together” spirit. This completely removed any feeling of “them and us” and resulted in organic problem solving which has created greater employee involvement and communication.
Furthermore, previous standard operating procedures were abandoned in favour of a regime built on trust rather than authority levels. For instance, customer information was shared as part of the planning process at the shop floor level, changeovers became more streamlined and employee satisfaction improved immensely.
A Drive Towards Sustainability
Sustainability has been propelled to the front of the business agenda with increasing responsibilities placed on companies by the government and consumers. The green agenda has moved out of the administration area (top down) to the shop floor level where it truly belongs and which has proven significantly more effective.
This has resulted in a deeper understanding of all areas of the requirements of ISO 14001 and our green agenda. View our ISO 14001 certification here.
Increased Supply Chain Visibility
Due to the disruption, the pandemic caused to supply chains most businesses have now improved their supply chain risk management measures. The “we are all in it together” mentality was thus extended to our supply chain and customers. As supply chains struggled to come to terms with the re-start following the pandemic, the knowledge of a shipment’s location and timing became imperative.
The global industry continues to be affected by supply chain issues meaning these new methods will continue to evolve and progress. We have a wealth of knowledge in supply chain management, get in touch for advice here.
Manufacturers are continuing to prove adaptable in the face of change as case studies emerge of industry leaders paving the way for new methods of working. Here at Clevedon Fasteners, we continue to adapt and innovate in the wake of new challenges, find out more about us and our specialized components and fasteners here.