As the UK and the rest of the world attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19, nothing is more important than the safety of each and every one of us, and we are all having to make significant changes to day-to-day activities.
On-site visits are currently suspended in line with government guidance and the latest national lockdown restrictions, but we are still here to support SME manufacturers!
From financial/HR support to pro-active supply chain management and strategic planning, SWMAS's team of experienced Manufacturing Specialists can help you through these unprecedented and challenging times.
As businesses adjust to new ways of working, we have pulled together the following practical advice to help manufacturers successfully navigate their way through these uncertain times...
The health and wellbeing of your workforce is understandably a major concern at times like these. Follow government guidelines to protect them and make sure you understand the most recent COVID-19 recommendations so you can offer employees and colleagues advice and support whether they are on-site, or working remotely.
In manufacturing, there is a limit to the volume of work that can be carried out remotely, so you may want to consider taking the following steps to increase the safety of all personnel:
- Split shifts - this will not only help to reduce the transmission of infection between staff, but also helps to ensure a level of business continuity if part of the workforce become ill, or are forced to self isolate
- Consider a 72-hour quarantine area for goods which may have arrived from high risk countries - it is believed that the virus can survive on surfaces for up to three days, so this step could significantly reduce the risk of transmission
- Minimise visitors to site, and only allow external people access in business critical circumstances
Make sure that you keep communicating with your workforce throughout the uncertainty of the coming months.
Remember, everyone is anxious about their health, and the health of loved ones, but many could also have concerns surrounding their job security, and the financial implications of being unable to work.
Make sure you take steps to ensure that your workforce has relevant, up-to-date information at all times. Consider a daily video call/email update, which is particularly effective when not all staff are on site at the same time. Click here for practical ways to stay connected when working remotely.
Now is the time to review all existing contracts and insurance policies. Do any cover notifiable diseases? Do you have Business Interruption Cover and, if so, what exactly does it include?
For some types of contract (such as NEC3), it may be possible to raise compensation events to deal with delays which occur as a result of COVID-19. If you are a manufacturer with current construction contracts click here for more legal guidelines regarding this.
Although it may seem obvious, not everyone will understand the most effective ways of minimising discretionary spend.
Our advisors are available (via remote tools) to help you understand and implement methods to assist in lowering company outgoings. Amongst other things, they can work with you to review and adapt inventory levels to align with current demands. If you feel that this would be of benefit to your business, or would like to discuss other ways we can help, get in touch to speak to one of our Manufacturing Specialists.
On Friday 20th March, the government announced a temporary package of measures which will help to support businesses throughout the disruption caused by COVID-19. This includes the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, open to all UK businesses, to pay the salary of those employees who would otherwise be laid off during this crisis.
Uncover additional funding available to your SME manufacturing business
We recognise that, despite government measures, cash flow will be significantly impacted for many businesses over the coming months. We can let you know of incentives and funding available that could help to alleviate this burden...
- Does capital expenditure feature in your company's business plan as a strategic step to mitigate the negative impact of COVID-19?
- Are you looking to supply into new markets or launch new products, but need financial support to get this up and running?
- Has your company recently invested in Research and Development (R&D)?
There is a variety of funding available to SME manufacturers across the South West - we'll tell you if your business is eligible, and also advise ways to use this funding for maximum benefit:
Does your business need our support?
The impact of COVID-19 will vary from business to business depending on what they manufacture. So, whether you are experiencing a spike in demand or a reduction in sales, our specialists can help SME manufacturers across the South West by offering a targeted business support plan, which will include:
* A detailed video/telephone review to explore key business issues, and develop a strategy to overcome disruption in these unpredictable times
* Help to define must-do actions and make short and medium-term plans (including possible diversification to new markets/products/services)
* Manufacturing-specific coaching to help streamline processes and improve productivity
* An explanation of suitable financial support or grants available to you, and the most effective ways for your business to use them
* Signposting to any additional resource that could help your business
* Ongoing support from your specialist, including regular updates and progress reports
Get in touch today to find out more about the support we can offer:
Check out our on-demand training sessions, aimed at SME manufacturing companies to help them through these difficult times
Now that certain restrictions have been lifted and production is beginning to increase, many SME manufacturers have highlighted a need for support in the following areas:
- Getting back to work: protecting employees, suppliers, and customers
- Leadership: how to support your workforce as we enter 'The New Normal'
- Costs and Opportunities: practical processes to help you review current outgoings to identify possible cost-saving measures
Following this feedback, we have designed a series of short videos to offer the support being called for. Each is available to be viewed at your convenience, and the PowerPoint presentations can also be downloaded for future reference:
The Manufacturing Barometer - highlighting the impact of COVID-19 on SME manufacturers across the UK
Now, more than ever, it's important that SME manufacturers get the chance to communicate what they need to help them mitigate the direct and indirect impact COVID-19 has on their business.
This quarter's Manufacturing Barometer opened for responses on 1st July to give SME manufacturers the chance to do just that, and, as the largest UK survey of SME manufacturers, the collective findings will be shared with a number of influential stakeholders to help shape future sector support.
This survey closed on 10th July and the final reports can be viewed by following the links below:
National Manufacturing Barometer Results (Q1 2020/21) - CLICK HERE
South West Manufacturing Barometer Results (Q1 2020/21) - CLICK HERE
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