COVID-19 Resources for Manufacturing

A wealth of information is now available online for manufacturers that are responding to business disruptions associated with the COVID-19 crisis. Below is a selection of resources reviewed and vetted by the Center of Excellence in Advanced and Sustainable Manufacturing (COE-ASM) to help you find relevant, quality information quickly. If you need further assistance readjusting your company’s operations at this time, we are here to help. CONTACT US

Please Note:The content is based upon available information and the Reopening New York - Manufacturing Guidelines, available as of May 13, 2020. This information is not intended to replace any existing applicable local, state, and federal laws, regulations, standards and guidance.

Workplace Safety - Preparing your workplaces for COVID-19

NYS requires all business to have a plan to protect employees, customers, and visitors, and has provided mandatory guidance and best practices to manufacturers in Reopening New York – Manufacturing Guidelines for Employers and Employees. The mandatory guidance is noted throughout.

Reopening plans will need to take into consideration three main factors: 1) protections for employees and customers, 2) changes to the physical workspace, and 3) how processes that meet changing public-health obligations will be implemented.

Relevant Best Practices

Relevant best practices and scientific recommendations to help address these issues are identified across the categories below.

NYS has an entire site devoted to reopening and provides two important documents to be reviewed:

  1. A New York State Department of Health (DOH)-created safety plan template in NY FORWARD BUSINESS RE-OPENING SAFETY PLAN TEMPLATE which you may use or substitute with your own written plan, 
  2. A set of mandatory guidance and best practices specifically for manufacturers in Reopening New York – Manufacturing Guidelines for Employers and Employees

COVID-19 Response Planning

OSHA created the publication Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 and collaborated with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the worker safety guide, Manufacturing Workers and Employers, which includes steps all employers can take to reduce workers’ risk of exposure and prepare for a successful reopening, including the following:

  • Develop an Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Plan if you don’t have one, or update the one you have to account for increased absences any necessary cross-training.
  • Appoint a qualified workplace coordinator who will be responsible for COVID-19 assessment, control planning, communications and training.
  • NYS Mandatory Guidance: Re-opening businesses must develop a written safety plan outlining how its workplace will prevent the spread of COVID-19 and retain it on-site. A business may fill out the DOH template or may develop its own Safety Plan. This plan does not need to be submitted to a state agency for approval but must made available to DOH or local health or safety authorities in the event of an inspection.
  • NYS Mandatory Guidance: Monitor public health communications about COVID-19 recommendations and communicate updates to employees at the start of each shift and to visitors upon arrival on-site.
  • Conduct periodic assessments to identify workplace COVID-19 risks and prevention strategies.
  • Prepare to implement basic infection prevention measures as highlighted by the CDC.
  • Develop policies and procedures for prompt identification and isolation of sick people, as appropriate. Stay up-to-date with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) guidance on reporting COVID-19 infections at your facility under certain circumstances.
  • NYS Mandatory Guidance:  If a worker tests positive for COVID-19 the employer must immediately notify the state/local health departments and cooperate with contact-tracing efforts.

The Manufacturers Association of Central New York (MACNY) has created a voluntary program called Keep People Safe and Factories Running that seeks to enhance the standards set forth by the federal and NYS governments, and to allow companies to share best practices and get peer feedback.

Health Screenings

An American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) webinar “COVID-19: Best Practices from Industrial Settings,” an IndustryWeek article on back-to-work protocols, and the American Industrial Hygiene Association’s (AIHA) “Returning-to-Work” guide share best practices for site-entry screening, including the following:

Preparing to screen

  • NYS Mandatory Guidance: Maintain a log to document all visitors and employees working on-site, excluding contactless deliveries and those performed with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Communicate to all employees and visitors that they should stay at home with a temperature exceeding 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit until the temperature has broken for 72 hours without medication, and contact their health care provider.
  • Schedule all customer visits and send out the screening questionnaire with the invitation, if possible.
  • Restrict the number of entry points, one door only is ideal.
  • NYS Mandatory Guidance: Train on-site screeners on CDC, DOH, and OSHA protocols.  Provide appropriate PPE. The minimum PPE is a face covering.
  • NYS Mandatory Guidance: Post visual cues (tape, signage, etc.) ahead of your screening area to maintain social distancing and reinforce the new building-entry procedures.
  • Provide hand-washing or hand-sanitizer stations and require their use prior to starting the screening process.

During screening

  • NYS Mandatory Guidance: Use a questionnaire to screen every employee and visitor each day before they enter. For example:
    • Have you, or a person you have been in close contact with, been diagnosed with COVID-19 within the last 14 days? (Close contact is six feet or less for more than ten minutes.)
    • Have you experienced any cold- or flu-like symptoms in the last 72 hours (e.g., fever, shortness of breath, cough, sore throat, or difficulty breathing)?
    • Have you traveled internationally or domestically to a “hot spot” (e.g., New York City) in the last 14 days?
  • Sanitize any touch screens used for questionnaires between users.
  • Read temperatures with a non-contact infrared thermometer.
  • Perform the screening in a private area or, if not possible, make sure there is enough space between employees so the screening results cannot be overheard.

After the screening

  • Setup an area with appropriate PPE and instructions on their effective use for those who pass screening.
  • Setup a secondary area for employees who answer “yes” to any screening questions or exhibit a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or above to be evaluated by a designated medical professional (if available) or sent home.
  • If a written questionnaire is used for employees and retained or recorded, follow OSHA and state requirements for the handling and retention of confidential medical records
 

Steps to Limit Employee Exposure and Transmission

To address the need for social distancing at work, ASSP recently updated strategies for reopening and created webinars on return-to-work strategies and best practices from industrial settings. AIHA has created several downloadable guides for controlling exposure and cleaning practices in specific work locations such as general office, common areas, and employee workstations, recommended practices for service and field employees and construction companies.

OSHA identifies four levels of worker exposure risk to COVID-19 and notes that most manufacturing employee’s jobs fall into the lowest two risk levels. 

They offer guidance on reducing employee density inside the facility and rearranging workstations to allow social distancing, including the following:

In all areas

  • NYS Mandatory Guidance: Ensure six-foot distance between personnel, unless safety or core work function requires less. Any time personnel are less than six feet apart, face coverings are required.
  • NYS Mandatory Guidance: Post visual cues (tape, signage, etc.) throughout the facility to encourage and reinforce social distancing.
  • NYS Mandatory Guidance: Confined spaces such as control rooms and elevators should be occupied by one person at all times unless all personnel have face coverings and occupancy kept under 50% of maximum, if safe to do so.
  • NYS Mandatory Guidance: Essential in-person meetings should be with ten people or less and held in open, well-ventilated spaces with appropriate social distancing. Use tele- or video-conferencing whenever possible.
  • NYS Mandatory Guidance: Establish designated areas for pick-up and delivery to the facility and/or departments.

In office environments

  • Keep personnel working remotely or assign personnel to a group and rotate groups between in-office and remote work on a weekly basis.

On the shop floor

  • NYS Mandatory Guidance: For indoor work, limit workforce to no more than 50% maximum occupancy (excluding supervisors), unless it is not safe to operate. If operating at more than 50% max occupancy, then implement additional measures, such as requiring face coverings to be worn at all times.
  • Bring workers back in phases.
  • Consider a four-day work week to allow for 72-hour downtime per week.
  • Limit worker movement between buildings or between departments within a building.
  • Stagger worker arrival and departure times to allow for adequate cleaning between.
  • Eliminate workstation layouts where workers face each other.
  • For side-by-side workstations, reconfigure to allow adequate spacing or leave every other bench open.

In common areas

  • Modify breakrooms and cafeterias to reduce seating capacity or switch to a takeout/pick-up model with single-use packaging and utensils.
  • NYS Mandatory Guidance: Prohibit shared food and beverage stations (e.g., buffets and soda fountains).
  • Stagger break times to limit occupancy in gathering areas.

Where social distancing is not possible, ASSP, AIHA, and OSHA recommend other methods to control exposure, including the following:

  • Institute physical barriers. Short-term solutions such as plastic sheeting can be used, but longer term solutions such as Plexiglas or sneeze guards will need to be engineered to fit the workspace. All designs must consider how to clean and maintain the barrier.
  • Employers should conduct a hazard assessment of COVID-19 exposure risk and provide the appropriate PPE (and training), which may include a combination of gloves, a gown, and eye and face protection.
  • Eliminate sharing hand tools as much as possible and disinfect shared tools between uses.
  • NYS Mandatory Guidance: Employers must provide face coverings (cloth or surgical mask) and employees may not share face coverings. 
  • NYS Mandatory Guidance: Wash shop clothing and face coverings daily, or replace if damaged

Best Practices in Cleaning, Disinfecting, and Sanitizing

The CDC provides a guide for cleaning and disinfecting and best practices for cleaning and disinfecting your facility. An NAM webinar with cleaning and disinfection industry experts explains the difference between disinfectants and sanitizers along with disinfecting and sanitizing procedures for office, manufacturing, and food-preparation surfaces.

Best practices include the following:

  • Outdoor and indoor areas that have been unoccupied for seven days or more will only require normal, routine cleaning.
  • NYS Mandatory Guidance: Frequently touched hard surfaces will require cleaning along with disinfecting using products on the list of EPA approved disinfectants for use against the virus.  Note that typical disinfectants must not dry for ten minutes to be effective and may need to be reapplied to be effective.
  • Disinfectant wipes may not effectively kill COVID-19 on surfaces unless the surface stays wet for the time specified on the product labelling.
  • If you mix your own disinfectants, make multiple batches throughout the shift to maintain potency.
  • At workstations, clean and disinfect tools and equipment at least as often as employees change workstations.
  • NYS Mandatory Guidance: Shared hand tools, markers, keyboards, computer mice, remote controls, operator controls (HMI’s) and alarm panels, on/off buttons, and phones should be cleaned and disinfected between each operator or designate them for single use and disinfect at the end of the shift.
  • NYS Mandatory Guidance: Clean and disinfect common areas such as timecard readers, vending machines, and break rooms at the end of each shift.
  • Soft surfaces like carpets or cloth seating that are not frequently touched only need normal cleaning or laundering.
  • Frequently touched soft surfaces like cloth chair arms may be cleaned with certain hydrogen peroxide-containing products, though, bleaching may be a concern. The CDC generally recommends removing soft and porous surfaces from high-touch areas or covering them.

For incoming materials, packaging, and supplies, the best practices will depend upon the material and an estimation of how long since it may have been in contact with the virus. A study published by The New England Journal of Medicine states the COVID-19 Virus is stable and infectious on the following surfaces within corresponding time periods:

  • Copper – up to 4 hours
  • Cardboard – up to 24 hours
  • Plastic – up to 72 hours
  • Stainless Steel – up to 48 hours

Items received outside of these time windows are expected to be safe. For items received within these time windows, either clean and disinfect them as outlined above or quarantine them until the appropriate time passes.

Safely Restarting Facilities

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) provides guidance on re-starting a building that shares detailed recommendations for ventilating spaces prior to opening, changing HVAC filters, and encouraging the use of revolving doors instead of swing doors.

Additionally ASHRAE reviews the expected effectiveness of ventilation and air-cleaning techniques to reduce exposure to airborne infectious particles in the “ASHRAE Position Document on Infectious Aerosols,” and lists the following evidence-based heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) modifications and strategies:

  • Local exhaust ventilation for source control.
  • Personalized ventilation systems for certain high-risk tasks.
  • Temperature and humidity control: Maintaining a relative humidity between 40-60% helps mitigate the spread of the virus, and temperature modification may affect the survivability of certain infectious aerosols.
  • Increase outdoor-air ventilation: Disable demand-controlled ventilation and open outdoor-air dampers to 100% as indoor and outdoor conditions permit.
  • Improve central-air and other HVAC filtration to a minimum efficiency-reporting value (MERV) of 13 (ASHRAE 2017b) or the highest level achievable.
  • Keep HVAC systems running longer hours (24/7 if possible).
  • Add portable room air cleaners with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) or high-MERV filters with due consideration to the clean air delivery rate (AHAM 2015).
  • Add duct- or air-handling, unit-mounted, upper-room, and/or portable ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) devices in connection to in-room fans in high-density spaces, such as waiting rooms, prisons, and shelters.

Bypass energy-recovery ventilation systems that can leak potentially contaminated exhaust air outdoors.

Workplace- and process-redesign strategies

All businesses are being challenged to implement social distancing, deal with increased absenteeism, and enhance worker, visitor, and customer safety. Additional challenges for manufacturers previously deemed non-essential include phased re-employment, and an anticipated increased volatility of customer order volumes.

There are a number of proven strategies to redesign, improve, and transform manufacturing operations so they have resiliency to deal with increased volatility and the flexibility to accommodate social distancing and fluctuations in staffing levels.

Strategies to Redesign, Improve, and Transform Manufacturing Operations

A sampling of these strategies includes:

  • Smart and digital manufacturing (Industry 4.0)
  • Lean manufacturing and material flow
  • Manufacturing-systems design
  • Facility rearrangements and Kaizen (rapid improvement) events
  • Targeted automation and collaborative automation (cobots)
  • Simulation, production planning, and scheduling

The Center for Excellence in Advanced and Sustainable Manufacturing (COE-ASM) team of manufacturing experts stand ready to assist you remotely, virtually, and—when safe to do so—in-person, with your efforts to adapt to the “new normal.”

Workplace Design Strategies to Deal With the New Normal

If you aren’t sure where to begin or want to learn more about time-tested solutions to improve the safety of your operations while maintaining or enhancing productivity, then the COE-ASM's Workplace Design Strategies to Deal with the New Normal may be a good place to start.

How Other Manufacturers are Utilizing Technology

According to a survey conducted by IndustryWeek, 21% of respondents indicated that technology had played a significant role in enabling their continued operation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally they asked about which investments are making a meaningful difference in operations and highlighted the top five.

Source: https://www.industryweek.com/covid19/media-gallery/21129951/the-coronavirus-crisis-what-manufacturers-are-saying-and-doing/slideshow?slide=13

It may not come as a surprise that robotics/automation and remote work tools were the top two categories. With 3D printing/additive manufacturing, machine vision and IoT technologies rounding out the top five. 

Shop-floor Strategies

Shop floors were traditionally optimized for drawing maximum productivity and minimizing waste. This drove tightly knit human and material work flows. In the post-COVID-19 world, plant managers face the challenge of optimizing the physical movement of employees and goods safely without losing productivity gains.

A good starting point for these changes might be revisiting the trusted Lean technique of spaghetti charts.  The pre- and post-COVID-19 comparisons for retail shops in the article give a good primer on how to prioritize safety through visualization of material and people movement.

Other traditional Lean tools are equally applicable to identifying problems to solve, ensuring health, and making assembly lines safer (and thereby productive) in these times. Author and Lean expert, John Shook, methodically walks us through the questions, thinking, and approach to countermeasures in this article. He looks at how Herman Miller and GE Appliances made improvements in the areas we are all focused on as we reopen.

Changes needn’t always be complex in nature. Sometimes simple visual cues using an adhesive tape can prove useful to social distancing. A webinar from the Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership (OMEP) explaining how simplicity can drive safety. An article on PlantServices.com reviews the expected impacts of social distancing on your Lean shop floor, along with a few more tips on how to reduce touch points in manufacturing. The Techsolve webinar Addressing The Risk Your Employees Face On the Shop Floor & At Home During COVID-19 presents some novel solutions to enhance social distancing and reduce employee touch points. The solutions are presented from approximately 15:05 to 22:05 in the recording

The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered unprecedented uncertainty in supply-and-demand lead times. On a more operational level, this pandemic has necessitated social-distancing measures on shop floors which can impact Takt times. Discrete event simulation is a useful tool to model all of the above scenarios to help with choosing an optimum option. This is discussed in an article at techtarget.com.

We can help you explore available software solutions for creating simulations, as well as guide in building and analyzing modelled scenarios. CONTACT US

Office-space Strategies

Similar to shop-floors, offices also need modifications as employees return to work after COVID-19. Efforts on this front not only enhance safety but may help to build trust and improve productivity by reducing anxiety.

A WorkDesign.com article walks through all aspects of density reduction in office environments. Major considerations include: workplace assessment, communications, training, safety protocols, guidelines for operation, hygiene and sanitization, changes needed in collaboration spaces, etc.

Industry 4.0 in Post-COVID-19 Paradigm

For over last few years, industry leaders were viewing the fourth industrial revolution as a gateway to competitive dominance. The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted them to double down on digital transformation—although for different reasons. Industry 4.0 (I4.0) is now seen as the best solution for a fast recovery and to effectively adapt to the new normal.

If you are looking for an insightful discussion of I4.0, take a look at our previous webinar:Industry 4.0: How to Make It Work for Your Business.”  This is an introductory webinar for manufacturing managers and engineers seeking guidance on how best to leverage digital technologies to unlock more productivity within their operations. It will be especially useful for those who are new I4.0 and digital manufacturing.

An article from TheManufacturer.com explains why the post-COVID-19 paradigm puts a spotlight on survival, recovery, and adaption to the new normal. Supply-chain digital transfromation is covered in the Supply Chain section on this page. A complementary transformation is of critical importance on the shop floor.

PwC explains five ways the fourth industrial revolution can help businesses if the pandemic triggers a protracted slowdown. They review how additive manufacturing (AM) has the potential to drastically simplify spare-parts production and aftermarket services. Also, an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)-enabled shop can be much more agile in communication through vertical integration and artificial intelligence (AI).

If you have an interest in learning more about this topic and how you can apply it immediately to your business, be sure to explore the linked resources above. If you are ready to consider moving forward with a targeted short-term project that can have an immediate impact, or with developing a roadmap to enhance your competencies and competitiveness over the long term, please CONTACT US.

Collaborative Robots (“Cobots”)

Automation is a key enabler to shop-floor redesign. Cobots can help reduce workforce density and mitigate the effects of absenteeism. Cobots, also called collaborative robots, are industrial machines with power and force limiting (PFL) controls. This feature allows operators to work near them while maintaining a safe work environment.

A case study on adding flexible automation with the use of mobile carts shows one solution to the problem of adding automation in a cost-effective and flexible manner. The company wanted to automate the packaging process within their 12 press operations but could not justify full investment on each press as only four run at once. The solution was to build four movable automated packaging carts with integrated cobot and vision systems to serve the presses as needed. Adding an enclosure around the cobots allowed for increased speed with the guards closed and reduced speed with the guards open so operators could still work side-by-side with the cobot if needed. The time to relocate the system from one press to another was less than 30 minutes.

A robotics adoption guide for small- and medium-sized businesses from ZDNet provides a good starting point on how to evaluate if industrial automation is right for your business. The guide discusses the safety and flexibility of cobots, typical application areas, and presents several case studies from a variety of industries.

A report from Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) suggests that robot adoption will likely be a critical determinant of productivity growth and has the potential to reshape global supply chains. They note that advancements in this field are poised to accelerate the re-shoring of manufacturing jobs to the U.S.

Supply Chain

The COVID 19 pandemic has challenged long-held assumptions about supply chains. As regions around the world went into lockdown, the traditional supply chains were confronted with a new reality. A decades-long focus on minimizing costs through offshoring and inventory reduction ended up adversely impacting operational resiliency. Many companies will need to validate new suppliers and may also have to consider new supply-chain approaches.

COVID-19 Restart Actions & Building Supply Chain Resilience

Short- and medium-term actions that can serve as a launch pad for longer term supply-chain improvements are discussed in “Coronavirus and technology supply chains: How to restart and rebuild.”  The article walks the reader through immediate recommendations, like building a nerve center and analyzing various scenarios to rapidly ramp up production.

Of course, lessons for U.S. manufacturers from past disruptions and insights on effectively addressing COVID-19 supply-chain disruptions may also offer insights. This recorded webinar (“The Supply Chain and Covid-19) gives useful guidelines for methods to mitigate supply-chain vulnerability.

Finally, a comprehensive framework starting with visibility, followed by flexibility, collaboration, and control can help manufacturers build and sustain supply-chain resilience. This article on supply-chain business continuity from T R News explains a comprehensive framework to establish a resilient supply chain with visibility, flexibility, collaboration, and control. (See page 13.)  

Digitizing Supply Chains

Advanced tools and technologies can help with supply-chain redesign and also drive improved decision-making. These tools help organizations drive tighter collaboration, provide end-to-end visibility, and realize much-needed agility ahead of the next “surprise.” Here’s an example for implementing a four-step strategy to think through your transformation and mitigate risks:Critical Supply Chain Planning Capabilities Needed to Survive the COVID-19 Pandemic and Future Supply Chain Disruptions.”

A horizontally integrated supply-chain can anticipate disruption before it occurs, especially for manufacturers who have built a geographically diverse base of vendors over the years. The following article, Manufacturing Before During and After COVID-19,” explains why complexity in supply chains has led to the need for digitization for greater speed and flexibility.

Cybersecurity is of paramount importance in a connected supply chain. This recorded webinar, “Webcast Replay: Managing Cyber and Supply Chain Risk During the Pandemic,” from Marsh assesses cybersecurity risks to supply chains, explains the ramifications of the pandemic on cybersecurity, and gives insights on key considerations around cyber-insurance policies. To take this a few steps further, here are key questions related to cyber-insurance that may clarify policy decisions: “COVID-19: Next Steps for Your Cyber Insurance.”

Let us know if you need assistance in getting started with moving forward with a long-term supply-chain digitization or assessing new tools.  CONTACT US

Establishing and Validating Alternative Sources of Supply

The Center of Excellence in Advanced and Sustainable Manufacturing (COE-ASM) at RIT offers the following resources to support establishing alternative sources of supply:  CONTACT US

  • Material and metallurgical analysis for assessing alternative materials, processes, or suppliers
  • A variety of different labs to support product or component validation, including thermal and vibration testing and analysis, packaging assessment, vehicle and component testing, and custom test development
  • Design and simulation support to evaluate components from new suppliers for your product or processes

Other laboratories in New York State for product and materials testing:

  • IMR Test Labs, Ithaca:  https://www.imrtest.com/ - Capabilities: chemical analysis, metallurgical evaluation, nonmetalic testing, mechanical testing, corrosion testing, failure analysis 
  • Counterparts Chemistry, Brockport:  http://counterpartschemistry.com/ - Capabilities: chemical and material analysis and optimization, formulation support, process troubleshooting 
  • Niagara Testing, Buffalo:  https://www.niagara-testing.com/ - Non-destructive testing capabilities: ultrasonic, radiography, magnetic particle, liquid penetrant, visual inspection, eddy current, infrared, mechanical and metallurgical testing, welding inspections 
  • L.I.T. Labs, Hauppauge:  https://www.litlab.com/ - Capabilities: metallurgical testing, failure analysis, metallography, plating/coating analysis, corrosion evaluations, conductivity evaluations, mechanical testing, chemical analysis, welder qualifications (AWS, ASME, Military & Aerospace Industry Specifications) 
  • H + H Environmental Systems, Rochester:  https://handhenvironmental.com/ - Capabilities: highly accelerated life testing (HALT), highly accelerated stress screening (HASS), temperature and humidity, electro-dynamic vibration, solar, salt fog, altitude, space simulation 
  • DES Solutions, Locations in Albany, New York City, Buffalo, Syracuse, Yonkers: https://www.desolutions.com/ - Capabilities: HALT testing, vibration and shock testing 
  • Aero Nav Laboratories, Deer Park:  https://aeronavlabs.com/ - Capabilities: 30+ types of mechanical testing with a focus on aerospace, electrical testing, HALT and HASS testing

Leading through the Crisis - Strategic Planning and Human Resources

Verifiable facts, relationships, authenticity, and communication are a few of the criteria we use to rate or respond to a crisis. The new reality of the pandemic is still unfolding and the impact it will have on our manufacturing practices and our people is constantly evolving. Below are some topics to help your employees individually and your company as a whole to restart and return to productivity.

Managing Through the Crisis and Bolstering Your Strategic Planning

Even if your company had a strategic plan, it probably didn’t account for a global pandemic followed by an economic crisis. The following references may help you further understand the pertinent New York State and federal assistance programs. It also includes risk-management considerations. As your company moves through the restart process, consideration of all local, state, and federal legal requirements, regulations, and standards is a must.

As your company moves through the restart process, consideration of all local, state and federal legal requirements, regulations and standards is a must.

  • The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has developed a webinar to discuss The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act Tax Provision for Manufacturers. This webinar discusses the CARES Act and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFERA), which features a number of provisions designed to assist manufacturers during the COVID-19 crisis and details how manufacturers can use these to strengthen their business.  A representative from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) also provides input on this legislation.
  • Another helpful webinar from NAM reviews topics to help manufacturers position themselves to bounce back after the COVID-19 crisis. They review cash flow and economic issues along with best practices during the pandemic.
  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s “Guide to the Employee Retention Tax Credit covers the new tax credit for employers who are closed, partially closed, or experiencing significant revenue loses as a result of COVID-19 under the CARES Act.
  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s “Guide to the Small Business Association (SBA)’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans covers the expansion of the SBA’s long-standing Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL) under the CARES Act. The EIDL program was created to assist businesses, renters, and homeowners located in regions affected by declared disasters. The SBA has issued guidance that it will provide initial EIDL loan disbursements of up to $15,000, in addition to the advance of up to $10,000.
  • This report from Marsh reviews a number of key strategies for emergency response, business continuity, crisis management, and understanding how existing insurance coverage may change. They review how developing a pandemic response and robust insurance program protects your company and the wellbeing of your employees.
  • The Institute of Industrial and System Engineers (IISE) have created a one-hour webinar on developing business-continuity strategies and tactics in periods of major disruption. Discussion topics include an overview of the VUCA concept (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity) and best practices for managing through the crisis to not just survive, but thrive.

Human Resources

Personal health and wellbeing, job security, and the continuing viability of employment are concerns many employees currently have. Most companies didn’t plan for dealing with a crisis of this scale and most likely did not have many of the now required policies, procedures, and support mechanisms in place. The constantly evolving situation and the impact businesses are experiencing has created many new challenges, but effective communication to staff during this time is one of the most difficult. Below are some resources to help you keep employees informed as your company transitions through the restart process.

  • The CITEC article “Leading Your Team Through Change and its companion webinar present six key aspects of communicating with your employees during the pandemic.
  • To address compliance with health and safety standards while also planning for the resumption of business, a checklist was developed by the law firm Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP.
  • The Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network (MAGNET), Ohio’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), has assembled a detailed set of resources for topics you may have not considered yet, including cybersecurity and insurance coverage.
  • The New York State Business council has a comprehensive series of recorded webinars on the impact of coronavirus on human resource activities.
  • This webinar from the New York MEP discusses managing cash flow and liquidity during a crisis.

Contact

Our team of manufacturing experts are ready to assist you.

Email centerofexcellence@rit.edu for more information.

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Our team of manufacturing experts are ready to assist you with your efforts to adapt to the “new normal.” Same day responses available.