What Does Coronavirus (COVID-19) Mean for UK Manufacturing?
Lewys Gammond Phillips
Marketing Officer, Kontroltek Ltd
Kontroltek provides the UK’s fastest turnaround for industrial automation and electronic repairs. During these difficult times, we will continue to take precautions and put in place measures to ensure the safety of our customers and employees.
Arrange a free collection of your faulty part today. Free until we fix it.
On the 11th of March, the Chancellor gave his first Budget speech. Rishi Sunak unveiled with it a £30bn package to boost the economy and get the country through the coronavirus outbreak.
This figure may have underestimated how serious this outbreak would become — developing into a pandemic less than a week later.
Measures to mitigate the effect of the coronavirus outbreak has on manufacturing include:
- A temporary emergency loan scheme, up to £1.2m in value, for banks to offer to small and medium businesses
- The government will cover the costs for business with 250 employees or less of providing statutory sick pay to employees
The government has also announced a wider range of measures to help protect the economy. We can expect more to be added or restrictions to be increased as the government provides updates in its daily press conferences.
Manufacturers and other businesses will have to re-think how they work, as more employees self-isolate.
Six days after the Budget speech, the Chancellor announced more money to help with the coronavirus outbreak.
The Chancellor unveiled £330bn of UK Government-backed loans made available to both big and small businesses.
There was also a further £20bn in the form of grants and tax breaks for firms. More advice on this can be found on government websites.
The Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, said on Sunday that the UK had 5,000 ventilators but need many more than that. Some numbers say up to 20,000 may be needed at one time.
Coronavirus is a respiratory disease. Ventilators are critical in the care of some people suffering coronavirus. As more people get infected, more ventilators will be required.
If possible, manufacturers are being asked to assist in the process of producing vital medical equipment.
This call for help may be a sign of things to come.
As cinemas, restaurants and pubs are advised to close. We may see that the nation goes into shutdown soon — following Italy, France and other countries. This means only vital businesses will remain open.
We expect industries like food and drink and pharmaceutical manufacturing to remain open. To ensure the nation can continue to eat, drink and receive medical equipment, including and hopefully a potential vaccine.
At Kontroltek, we will continue to stay open for as long as possible. Manufacturers who stay open will need assistance if any of their parts break.
Contact us by phone, email or on our website if you require help.
What You Can Do
At Kontroltek, we are carefully monitoring the situation and following government advice. Measurements currently put in place at our offices are:
- Continued cleaning and disinfecting of parts we receive
- Where possible, staff will work from home
- Social distancing of at least 2 metres between staff
We are also using protective gear and having professional cleaning services come in daily. If any staff member has symptoms, they will be sent home to self-isolate.
If you’re a manufacturer, you can do the above and:
- Flexible working
- Be it from home or a mixture of shift patterns (e.g. morning, afternoons, evenings and overnights)
- Staggered breaks
- Increase the use of hygiene products (e.g. hand sanitiser)
- And as always, the main advice is to keep washing your hands and avoid unnecessary contact.
Rest of the World
A survey has shown that UK exports have slumped to a three-year low. As the coronavirus continues, possibly until Spring 2021, businesses will have to figure out how to survive and thrive both domestically and internationally.
Chinese manufacturing has hit record lows amid the shutdowns caused by the coronavirus outbreak. The country’s official measure of manufacturing activity — the Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) — dropped to 35.7 from 50 in January.
Now, China is slowly going back to normal. There have been days now where they have reported zero domestic cases.
As the climate changes and countries change seasons, there is hope the infection becomes less viral.
This crisis will have lasting effects on how we live and work after a vaccine is found. The digital transformation of manufacturing will be accelerated. There will be an increase of people who work from home or in isolated conditions too.
Kontroltek will continue its efforts to support UK manufacturing during these challenging times. If you require a repair, contact us for an immediate response.