How manufacturers can re-open and pivot amid COVID-19 so they can pivot to more flexible, vertically integrated, digital business operations.

Thoughts on Re-opening Your Business

By Irene Sterian

1. How can businesses smooth the transition of reopening their business in the coming weeks or months?    


As the spread of COVID-19 is reaching a plateau, manufacturers will need to transition from emergency responses to recovery initiatives. Within Canada’s collective recovery from COVID-19 lies a new opportunity in manufacturing. How you can pivot your business, apply new capabilities, develop expertise, or innovative solutions? Think about your front office (website), middle office or manufacturing floor, and back office (customer service, returns, maintenance). How can they be more digital?

Be inspired and inspire others by the mobilization of your business partners, the nation’s supply chain, and various government ministries. Together, with a swift approach to fostering a collaborative ecosystem, Canadian manufacturing will develop resilience.

2. What are the differences between business operations pre and post-COVID and what is your advice to small businesses adapting to the new normal?  

Prior to COVID-19, approximately 17% of Canadian manufacturers had a plan for adopting Smart Manufacturing. Now, companies committed to digitization have the greatest chance to survive the impact of COVID-19. We’ve seen companies who have already digitized their product and/or processes and they can pivot faster, easily collaborate with new partners, and react with innovation.

The new normal will require that companies become resilient to massive, unexpected, economic, & social forces. To build resilience as manufacturers adapt to the new normal, think about making manufacturing more flexible and vertically integrated.

Here are some places to start

1. Design your products that offer digital features or services to increase revenue. The addition of a 3D printer can provide the flexibility of tooling, easy to adjust to emergency demands.

2. Introduce smart manufacturing processes to reduce costs while creating a flexible workforce, such as implementing automation within physical distancing solutions.

3. Bring your hardware and software systems in sync with AI and leverage your data for new markets.

4. Grow your company with a global approach to supply chain management and sales that increase profit. Include plans for make versus buy scenarios within your supply chain.

5. Determine where digitization will create the most value with the biggest impact.

As a strategic technology leader with over 30 years of experience in electronics, Irene has an entrepreneurial spirit and is a driving force in the future of manufacturing in Canada. Irene is a pioneer of environmentally safe, sustainable manufacturing technologies and holds a patent in high density, high-performance memory circuit packaging.

This post is part of the Canadian SME Business Magazine, which featured thoughts from Canadian leaders in business on COVID-19, focusing on Re-opening Your Business.