Although there are always going to be problems in manufacturing, as in any other industry, it seems as though we are more aware of these delays caused by the recent global pandemic. In fact, two of the main reasons for delays in manufacturing were made worse by Covid-19 which suddenly brought them further into public scrutiny. Although not listed in any order, these three are always within the top five reasons for manufacturing delays.
1. Equipment and/or Infrastructure Failures
One of the problems which can cause a major delay would be commonly known as water hammer. Sometimes referred to as a ‘hydraulic shock’ it is where water or some other fluid is suddenly forced to stop but suddenly is also forced to change directions. Most often the real reason for the delay is that that hydraulic (water/fluid) pressure causes the pipes to burst, leading to a number of issues that need to be repaired.
You can actually get more details on what causes delays and repairs here. From repairing or running new pipes to any cleanup or repair necessitated by the fluids that leaked over everything, it can be a lengthy delay in production. Bear in mind that this is just one of those major equipment or infrastructure failures, so it pays to understand how to inspect and prevent further issues.
2. Breakdown in the Supply Chain
This is, perhaps, the one cause for manufacturing delays made worse by a global pandemic. While we always knew that such things as snowstorms, earthquakes, and tropical storms or hurricanes could cause a breakdown in the supply chain, it was nothing like the issues brought about by Covid-19.
However, the problems that a breakdown in the supply chain of that magnitude caused had a ripple effect. If materials and supplies couldn’t reach their destination, then many manufacturing facilities along supply chain routes were disrupted. Some economists are voicing concerns that it is not a resurgence of a pandemic but the rising costs of fuel that will create havoc this time around. Either deliveries will be slower or called to a halt in some cases, but the problems caused by this kind of issue will impact many businesses from manufacturers to suppliers, distributers and even retailers. The impact this will have on consumers will once again be extreme.
3. Staffing Issues
If there is a breakdown in the supply chain, then it could result in staffing issues along the way. We saw this during the height of Covid-19. Since supplies and materials couldn’t get where they were going, workers were told not to come in. Companies cannot afford to pay hourly wages to employees who could do nothing but sit there on the clock. This caused other businesses to lay off workers and the ripple effect was brought to a crisis level.
Any delay at any point in the manufacturing or delivery process can, indeed, have a ripple effect causing a huge amount of loss along the way. Although it is not expected that cases of the coronavirus will reach pandemic levels again, this is the kind of concern manufacturers are faced with every day which is why it is imperative to do what they can in terms of keeping equipment in good repair. There is not much we can do to prevent a pandemic other than follow mandates from the CDC, but we can do our part to keep that equipment and those trucks running smoothly.