COVID-19 has made us rethink the way we conduct business.
While business operations on the top-down have been affected by the pandemic, businesses have recovered to a certain degree by going digital.
The manufacturing and distribution sector tells a different story. A primarily on-site job, the sector has been riddled with economic issues with a declined demand and supply state.
Seeing as how the pandemic is showing no signs of slowing down, it’s time we look at the ways through which manufacturing firms can embrace digital transformation.
Following and implementing these steps in your workflows will place you well on our way to making your processes more optimized once the pandemic ends. But for now, these strategies will help you embrace the pandemic workplace with efficiency.
4 Ways Manufacturers and Distributors Can Embrace Remote Work
If you haven’t started with digital transformation, you need to begin as soon as possible. You don’t need to perform a total overhaul of your processes. Follow through with these four steps will get you on the right track.
Utilize Digital Workplace Technology
Reject tradition, embrace modernity.
If we were to sum up, our article in a single sentence would be the statement above. Amid the pandemic, many companies have followed suit and gone digital – automating processes.
Simultaneously, we have the traditionalists – still trying to cling to regular office meetings and physical presence even though it’s highly undesirable. It’s not entirely their fault since both the virus and the lockdown have been of an unprecedented scale.
Being a traditional manufacturing or distribution business, it seems as though adjusting to the pandemic looks impossible. It’s not really.
- Ideally, manufacturers should review their existing operations and look at ways on how they can revamp it to bring improvements to their processes.
- If you’re already using some form of automation software like ERP and CRM for your processes, it’s time you revisit them and see how you can use them towards digital transformation.
- There will always be essential-workers that are necessary to keep normal processes running. Try to see which essential-workers or teams need to work physically while maintaining social distancing rules.
- Utilize how you can utilize remote work software for your processes. Text, audio, and video conferencing tools have made work a lot easier for most businesses, and manufacturing can make fair use of the platform.
- Besides focusing on your remote teams, you should also take care of your physical workforce by introducing similar digital technologies that reduce physical content as possible.
Recognize Workplace Challenges
While introducing a remote workforce is relatively easy given your technical competencies, maintaining them is hard work. For managers, the work is amplified even further when dealing with product management, production, and warehousing.
All these are activities that cannot be done remotely. By recognizing these challenges, you can identify ways to solve them:
- New communication avenues must be discovered by manufacturing teams with their suppliers to ensure streamlined processes and discover new communication tools.
- Manufacturers must perform adjustments to their operational processes to reduce product iterations and collaboration.
- Manufacturers must focus on building cross-functional remote teams that mix up workplace accountability and a positive work environment.
- The systems already in place of your processes should be optimized with cloud-based infrastructures to ensure smooth data collaboration.
Identify What Kinds of Work Can Be Conducted Remotely
Seeing as how your employees are restricted from working all simultaneously, what you can do is organize them into shifts. Segmenting teams based on work shifts can prove just as useful as creating a remote workforce.
Here are some practical tips you can use to segment your workplace:
- Select the number of employees that have job-types fit for remote work. This identification helps you determine which employees can be filtered out for remote work first off.
- For essential employees, focus on informing and monitoring essential safety training and implementation. To retain a healthy workforce, you need to ensure that your employees are well-informed about all safety precautions.
- Focus on outsourcing your administrative operations. This enables you to work with a smaller yet effective workforce.
Analyze Different Workplace Scenarios
Remote workplace strategies vary depending on the type of business operations you have. What might work for a B2C setup might not work for a manufacturing or distribution business.
By selecting the right tools for your type of business, you can apply several approaches to your business.
- Having a good internet connection is essential. To check for product issues, you might have to perform a video conference. The right video conferencing software goes a long way in ensuring the correct product is manufactured and delivered to the end-user.
- Your on-field sales employees are going to have to stay-at-home. You can use them to your advantage by allowing them to communicate with customers online. Because we’re all on the same boat with regards to the pandemic, trade shows are most likely going to be held online instead of in real life.
- If you’re dealing with overseas customers, it’s best to plan your supply chain ahead of the order. Moreover, it would be best if you also left a larger communication window with your customers to help them see that quick and fast delivery may or may not be possible given the circumstances.
- Reduce failure by building partnerships across the value chain. By diversifying, you can ensure quick deliveries and more sales.
- Try to find outsource partners like 3PL providers. It helps to streamline your processes even further. Before partnering with them, make sure that you research them well and see if they have SLA agreements to avoid setbacks.
- Try to focus on eCommerce implementation and which eCommerce model fits best for your manufacturing business.
Now that we’ve discussed how manufacturers can embrace digital transformation, we should also mention the importance of having the right B2B eCommerce platform.
To get the best out of the pandemic, manufacturers must have a digital presence as well. With B2BWoo, you can create a WooCommerce B2B eCommerce store that’s perfect for all your business-facing concerns.
Test the demo today!