What does it take for manufacturers to survive – or even thrive – during this coronavirus-induced recession? For metal fabricators, it often boils down to focusing on what we can control. For one, we can refocus our production efforts on fulfilling “essential” services, from manufacturing the metal materials needed for food supply chains to the maintenance of equipment necessary for distribution.
We can also continue doing what manufacturers always do during economic upheaval – practice common sense. According to an insightful article from The FABRICATOR, “Light at the end of COVID-19 tunnel for metal fabricators,” we can use this sensible approach to weather the current pandemic-induced recession.
These common-sense steps may include:
- Cross-training key employees to increase operational agility and enable production to adapt to market changes
- Feeding the supply chain with diverse players from North America, rather than relying on one overseas-sourced supplier
- Taking a collective “breath” to assess your current customer mix and how it impacts overall profitability
Another common-sense approach is to keep employees focused on quality. This assures your clients that you’re operating “business as usual,” with a laser-like focus on not only meeting expectations – but exceeding them.
Focus on Quality
Rather than getting caught up in the coronavirus media onslaught, metal fabricators are busy dotting every “i” and crossing every “t” with a documented quality control program.
Even the most deceptively simple-looking fabrication entails multiple processes that require oversight, including:
- Engineering any needed adjustments to initial drawings and specifications to ensure quality and/or regulatory standards
- Verifying vendor-sourced materials, including ASTM specifications, material thickness, and quality
- Overseeing welding procedures to root out distortions, burrs, or splatter, and checking bolt hole accuracy and edge distances
Finally, when it’s time to ship the fabrication, each piece should be properly marked for assembly. The product components should be placed on skids or platforms to prevent damage during shipment. Following these best practices can prevent undoing initial quality control efforts.
Focus on Safety
Manufacturers and metal fabricators are proactively implementing safety measures to combat the coronavirus threat. Our industry understands that our most valuable assets are our employees. And, ensuring workplace safety is critical to ensuring productivity.
A common-sense approach to safety can prevent a virus outbreak on the shop floor, as noted in the aforementioned The FABRICATOR article1. The author, manufacturing industry expert Dan Davis, notes that most fabricators already mandate healthy hygiene habits, such as hand washing and covering your face when coughing. Of course, if employees feel sick, they should stay at home.
IndustryWeek has published regular updates for manufacturers to safeguard their employees against the coronavirus, along with advice for keeping production and operations moving forward. In their recent article, “Back-to-Work Protocol for Manufacturers Post-COVID-19,” they break down the confusing myriad of instructions from government agencies, especially when it comes to temperature checks and virus testing.
The EEOC recommends that manufacturers ask themselves these questions before implementing testing procedures:
- How will testing be implemented?
- Who will be in charge of this procedure or policy?
- What is the likelihood that other employees could discover each other’s health information?
- How will employees’ private information be gathered, recorded, and stored?
- How can we ensure confidentiality?
The article also shares advice from the CDC and other federal agencies on how to respond if an employee does become sick and how to prevent a virus from spreading.
Focusing on Fabrication Essentials
A common-sense approach to safety and quality are just some of the ways manufacturers and metal fabricators can ensure business continuity, even during the coronavirus disruption. At Southern Metal Fabricators, we’re still operating “business as usual” to ensure quality control, including following safety best practices for fabrication ROI.
Here are just a couple of ways we are continuing to deliver ROI for every fabrication:
- Performing quality control checks during every step of the fabrication process to comply with safety standards and industry requirements
- Partnering with clients and their vendors to ensure they’re following quality control best practices
- Collaborating with each client to ensure the final fabrication will function exactly as intended
This common-sense approach to quality control minimizes liability and risk. Southern Metal Fabricators can prevent mistakes before they occur, ensuring ROI and helping you protect your operations and reputation.
If you’re ready to partner with a full-service fabricator who can help you meet and exceed quality control expectations, give us a chance to say, “Yes, we can do that!” by contacting us today.