It’s a shame that it sometimes takes an issue to learn a lesson. In America, the coronavirus pandemic has exposed many to the lack of preparedness and has driven the realization of the need for technology and automation.

  • Manufacturing was shutdown
  • Supply chains were decimated
  • Essential workers have been disrupted from normal workflows and potentially quarantined
  • The factory floor and processes require new safety procedures and guidelines, eliminating hand-to-hand operations and assembly line process changes
One of the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to isolate. Automation can reduce employee contact, keeping them safer.— Deanna PostlethwaiteDirector of Global Product Management
STANLEY® Assembly Technologies
COVID-19 has accelerated change in the manufacturing space and pushed the adoption of technologies and automation advancements to enable everything from a remote workforce to better prepare and enable a factory floor.

Knowing that one of the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to isolate. But with essential employees reporting to work, it is difficult, based on workflow and operations, to achieve adequate levels of social distancing. Many companies are scrambling to ensure focus on the health and safety of employees.

STANLEY Assembly Technologies Articulating Arm 

Manufacturing companies are trying their best to cope with the reality of a world disrupted by COVID-19. Most are responding with new policies (temperature checks and mask requirements for employees, facility sanitizing, and more). These will go a long way to protecting employees short term, but automation and technology are key to long-term and sustainable worker safety as well as productivity.

Automation can reduce employee contact, therefore keeping them safer. Automation also has a potential of increasing productivity, therefore keeping up with customer demand. Additional benefits of Automation include:

  • Data collection and utilization will be more prevalent allowing supervised functions to be monitored remotely or with less people
  • Eased pressure on operations
  • It can amplify and supplement people’s skills and strengths to increase work productivity, quality and safety
  • Reduced costs, and reduced reliance on multiple workers and enhance worker quality
  • Automating in manufacturing can be scaled
Automation and technology are key to long-term, sustainable worker safety and productivity.— Deanna PostlethwaiteDirector of Global Product Management
STANLEY® Assembly Technologies
Companies can increase productivity and minimize human error through touchless processing or removing the operator interaction with more items and areas. When aligned to business goals, Automation can increase productivity, cut costs and increase output quality and speed to on-time-delivery and reduce warranty and quality issues. Automating tools and processes, with the added benefit of data acquisition, will help to make global manufacturing processes consistent and resilient in a world where social distancing and travel limitations may be the norm for some time to come. Automation also allows workers and managers working in different geographic locations with the same tools to collaborate and contribute to a more sustainable and robust organization.

It's not yet known how long COVID-19 and its impact on the manufacturing industry will last, but companies that won't adapt and stick with the “we have always done it this way” philosophy and traditional, on-the-job knowledge approach may find their businesses are no longer relevant when the global economy recuperates.