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Manufacturers: Put 2020 Aside for a Moment to Optimize Efficiency and Safety for 2021

Toby Graham /
heat stressed worker, headache hot weather over heat unhealthy engineer working in heavy industry factory.

If you’d rather not think about the future right now, I don’t blame you. Between the pandemic, the economy, and the various natural disasters on the horizon across the United States, I can totally understand why anyone would need to take life a day at a time right now. I’m not advocating for a totally carpe diem (for our millennial readers: YOLO) attitude toward our existence—just recognizing that some people can’t worry too much about tomorrow if they want to get sleep tonight.

I’ve certainly been trying to live in the moment a little more recently. Some days, I just need to chill out in my yard, soak up the sun, and not check my email or try to do anything “productive.” YOLO, as they say.

Then again, I’m not a manufacturer. Businesses that produce and fabricate things are working extra hard right now. And as taxing as it is to maintain the supply chain and operate at full (or beyond full) capacity in 2020, those organizations also need to keep one eye on what’s to come in 2021 and beyond.

As Greg Dyer of staffing provider Randstad writes in Industry Today, manufacturing facilities should be taking this time to think about how they can make their processes “easier, safer, and more efficient” moving forward. It’s up to the industry to prepare for an uncertain future by innovating now.

For instance, Dyer urges manufacturing companies to rethink how scheduling may impact employee health and safety in the next stages of the COVID-19 pandemic:

“There are two phases you’ll have to worry about as you usher in this new era of working. The first deals with more practical return-to-work safety measures, like having enough masks, gloves and hand sanitizer available, as well as following OSHA guidelines around workplace health and safety. The second will entail making more sweeping operational changes to the way you conduct business. […]

Of course, scheduling presents unique challenges — even in the best of times. But what once might have only registered as a harmless blip to production now carries potential health risks. Staffing a surplus of workers in a confined location could hasten the spread of the virus; on the other hand, too few could create the need for an under-the-weather worker to continue working on site. Scheduling the right amount of people is always the goal, but now more than ever, you need to make sure you get it right. Look to incorporate more flexible scheduling patterns along with multi-shift models to prepare employees for on-the-fly changes, should you need to make them.”

Read “Now’s the Time: Key Improvements to Make Post COVID-19.”

Here at KPA, we know safety and efficiency go hand-in-hand. The more proactive you can be in keeping people safe and healthy at work, the better-equipped your business will be for whatever the universe throws our way next.

The good news is that with the right pieces in place, maintaining a safe workplace ends up being a lot less work than the alternative.

For the sake of your employees, your stakeholders, and your personal time, consider using an automated EHS and workforce compliance platform. You might just be able to take an occasional afternoon off to, you know, enjoy life.

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