2020 changed everything, including the landscape of the light industrial industry. Historically, there was simply no data available to guide us through the supply chain challenges we all experienced last year. As we enter 2021, how will the periodic forced shutdowns, up and down markets, and fluctuating employment levels that seem to follow the coronavirus pandemic, change how the industry will operate this year?

What Light Industrial Learned from COVID-19?

The light industrial industry suffered a downturn during the 2008 recession. We were still recovering by 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit with a vengeance. Forced shutdowns during the early months of the pandemic, suppressed orders, and supply chain disruption meant that the workforce needs to be changed radically—practically every month. Some of these trends are still with us, leading global consulting firm Deloitte to list four trends that will carry over into 2021:

  1. Forecasting and resilience will be critical to staying ahead in 2021. Manufacturers should review their existing systems in light of the disruption they experienced last year. Are their workflows sufficient? Are there technologies they should add? Every company experiences the pandemic slightly differently, so analyzing its effect after the fact will keep companies ahead of the game this year.
  2. Deloitte suggests the idea of a “digital twin,” which is a process of virtually creating a component of product production virtually, without taking physical action. Digital twins reduce operating costs and extend the life of assets. Manufacturers that use these tools can gather data from this digital schematic or diagram.
  3. Supply chain resilience is a necessity during any global event. Organizations who outsourced a part of their production line overseas or who had critical supplies tied up in the global market, experienced serious disruption last year. Creating redundancies and flexibilities in supply chains is the new imperative for manufacturing firms.
  4. Companies that create agility this year will stand a better chance of surviving disruptions this year. This could mean creating new revenue streams or recalibrating supplier networks. No matter the tactic, the goal to create resiliency is a good one.

Another tactic we’re seeing in the light industrial space is the creation of more mixed models for production. In these models, employees are competent in cross-functional tasks. This has led to another trend for 2021, which is workforce development and up-skilling. More employers are developing specialized onsite training to help expand the skills of the existing workforce. This is especially important as technology is disrupting almost every industry. To retain your current workforce, employers must teach new skills. As older workers begin to retire, this will become even more important. But Paycor suggests that the old models of apprenticeship may not be as effective to keep up with the demand for reskilling. They suggest new technologies that use augmented and virtual reality can help teach employees more quickly to keep up with the demand for worker expertise.

You Can Count on Lingo Staffing to Help You Succeed in 2021

Manufacturers must continue to shift their approaches to keep up with the changing markets and pressures of COVID-19. Lingo Staffing is poised to help these companies by providing a skilled workforce that can help you adapt to the new realities that affect us all. Talk with our team about how we can help your business.