How do you communicate necessary production changes to your workforce?
Actually, there are no big changes in production – just a small thing: Before COVID-19, shop floor production orders from the ERP system were distributed around the company in paper form. Now the employees receive the production order as PDF in an e-mail.
How has your supply chain been impacted? What have you done to mitigate this? – e.g. have you had to re-engineer some of your products?
Fortunately, very little has changed for us. Sometimes we receive the parts necessary for our products from our suppliers in Austria slightly delayed, but this does not cause any difficulties. After all, we operate as a contract manufacturer, among other things, so we are naturally very agile and continue to receive product specifications from our customers and manufacture them according to their requirements.
Are you relying more on automation now than before? Or, is automation helping you in new and unexpected ways?
Even before COVID-19, it was clear to us that we needed to check each process step to determine if automating the step is possible. If yes, we want to automate it. In addition to the lack of skilled workers, the price pressure we are under as a contract manufacturer is also decisive. Every hour that we make better use of our facilities helps us to remain competitive.
Currently, automation helps us even more than before – even before COVID-19, delivery times were very spotty. This has now become even worse: Many of our customers work in their home offices or work reduced hours. As a result, they no longer have full and permanent access to their data and this can cause a delay in their orders. Yet our delivery remains the same. Instead of a delivery time of three or four weeks, it is currently only two weeks in some cases. That is very tight, but thanks to the cobot we make it as it runs through the night and also on weekends.