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Coping with Covid-19 - the Business Response

Effective disease prevention in manufacturing

By Hubert Kowalski, consultant at Déhora Consultancy Group
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The current epidemic affects manufacturing industry more than most sectors of business; mass production is not work that can be carried out from home!

The larger the number of employees, the more stringent the safety and hygiene procedures need to be to ensure that the virus is not allowed to spread from person to person on the production lines. This has a significant impact on the organisation of working time and the workflow throughout the company. What can companies do at the moment to avoid health and safety risks while trying to maintain production?

High costs of production downtime

In early April, one of Poland’s big brewers announced that it had to shut down the production of a popular brand of beer in one of its plants. The reason was a confirmed case of Covid-19 in one of its employees. It required an immediate decision to stop the entire production volume at the plant, and to send home every employee. It is estimated that the cost of daily production downtime runs into hundreds of thousands of zlotys. A considerable cost, especially in the current situation, when many employees are on sick leave or looking after children, which significantly hinders the management of personnel and planning substitutions in the company. The combination of these factors can lead to significant delays in the execution of the production plans specified in contracts with customers, and in extreme cases, can cause loss of liquidity throughout the organisation. This may result cancellation of orders and, consequently, an outflow of customers and mass redundancies.

Searching for effective solutions

The government’s anti-crisis shield measures may reduce businesses’ financial losses, but additional preventive solutions are needed. Early detection of potential carriers of Covid-19 is particularly important. Déhora is currently introducing such solutions with its partners. With the help of devices for measuring body temperature and the use of an AI-based data-analysis module, it will be possible to detect infected employees who have not yet displayed visible symptoms. In this way it will be possible to maintain production at the plant, reduce sick leave and ensure health and safety in the workplace, while complying with all legal regulations. This can significantly protect employers from financial and personal losses also in the future, by helping to analyse key indicators of employee productivity and health.

Reduced economic risk

Thanks to the use of technology, we can counteract the current crisis in other ways. Automating production through robotisation, access to thermovision-based solutions for industry or the possibility for consumers to make grocery purchases by a few clicks in a mobile application are just some of them that now becoming extremely popular. Using them helps business, employees and consumers in everyday life, but also effectively reduces the scale of the potential economic losses caused by the pandemic crisis. It turns out that the earlier development of such solutions, which before the era of the crisis were not so popular, today are literally saving lives and the economy. We have rapidly adapted to video conferencing in our daily work, and through such tools some sectors of the economy, including specialised services and consultancy can continue to develop. Let's not be afraid to use technological innovations, especially in this new and unexpected reality.

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