How can the manufacturing industry rebound from COVID-19?

Published
12 May 2020

The impact.

The COVID-19 global pandemic continues to disrupt manufacturing and supply chains, with severe consequences for society, businesses, consumers and the global economy.

As the effects of coronavirus unfold, companies are asking what short-term actions they need to take to ensure business continuity and protect their employees. How should they be preparing for the rebound and increasing their manufacturing and supply systems’ resilience?

The World Economic Forum, in collaboration with Kearney, brought together senior-level executives from various industry sectors to identify the best response to the COVID-19 crisis. Their recommendations have been published in a new white paper: How to rebound stronger from COVID-19: Resilience in manufacturing and supply systems.

What's the challenge?

Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, the world’s production system has seen factory shutdowns, demand surges for essential goods, stockpiling and panic buying, as well as shifting consumer preferences (e.g. online over in-person).

This has raised questions about the level of resilience of global value chains and the overall approach to manufacturing. Facing up to these disruptions requires new forms of collaboration across companies and industries to ensure business continuity, while protecting employees and improving supply systems’ resilience for the future.

Source: How to rebound stronger from COVID-19: Resilience in manufacturing and supply systems.

Our approach.

The recommendations featured in the new white paper are the result of a consultation carried out with more than 400 senior executives in operations and supply-chain management from various industry sectors. The conclusions are presented as best practices for manufacturing companies across three areas:

1. Immediate actions to ensure business continuity and protect employees
2. Strategic initiatives to accelerate preparations for recovery and increase resilience
3. Key imperatives to adapt to potential “forever” changes to ensure long-term success

Without question, the long-range impact of the pandemic has yet to be understood and certain sectors will be severely affected. Throughout the study, the senior executives revealed that, for them, most uncertainty lies in the third area: potential long-term change and its implications for global value chains.

Five imperatives emerged from the survey that leaders are encouraged to consider in order to prepare for long-term business success:

1. Rapid tailoring of manufacturing and supply systems to changing consumer behaviours
2. Agile manufacturing and supply system set-ups enabled by advanced technologies
3. Logistics coordination across and within global value chains
4. Adoption of new ways of working and governing to increase manufacturing resilience
5. Shared responsibility and collaboration among companies and authorities to address social and environmental challenges

As companies prepare for the post-pandemic world, the Forum, in collaboration with Kearney, will continue engaging leaders from different industry sectors to understand their specific needs and develop collective action plans for the future.

How can you get involved?

Companies are invited to join the Forum’s Platform for Shaping the Future of Advanced Manufacturing and Production. The platform is continuing its ongoing work translating the five key imperatives that emerged from the survey into actions tailored to the needs of each industry sector. Through the Platform’s work, companies can join with other leaders to help find solutions that support the reconfiguration of global value chains.

How to rebound stronger from COVID-19.

Read the white paper.

Advanced Manufacturing and Production

More about our Platform.