How COVID-19 Has Affected the Manufacturing Industry

    COVID-19 has had a mammoth impact on the global economy. In these unprecedented times, commentators are struggling to forecast the future of the financial markets as the novel coronavirus is unpredictable. The global pandemic has caused untold worries for many industries, and manufacturing is no exception. 

    Supplying raw materials to other manufacturing plants across the world, China took steps to limit the fallout of coronavirus on the manufacturing sector. The Chinese lockdown brought manufacturing to a halt which had a huge domino effect to supply chains across the world. This has been such a sharp economic shock that the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development has estimated that global FDI could fall by up to 15%.

    Pharmaceutical Manufacturing

    Pharmaceutical manufacturing in the USA relies heavily on sourcing materials from China. The possibility of medicine shortages is now high because of the shutdown in Chinese pharmaceutical manufacturing due to the coronavirus.

    After the outbreak of COVID-19, the USA has struggled to obtain the usual 13% of medical products that it sources in China. While this led to direct medicine shortage, medical trials have also been hit hard. 

    As pharmaceutical manufacturing companies were forced to adapt, they have concentrated on producing personal protection equipment (PPE), such as masks, aprons, and goggles. However, to survive the pandemic, they will need to adapt further to an ever-changing world.

    Food Industry

    An immediate consumer response to the pandemic has been stockpiling. While this is now easing, there are still products on grocery shelves that are scarce. Supply chain derailment has meant that food manufacturing plants have limited production. This has led to many manufacturers to close production while they learn to deal with social distancing legislation and new working practices. While people are being forced to cook more at home, dining out has seen a massive drop, meaning that those higher margins are no longer recognized in a manufacturing setting.


    The paint and coating industry has seen a massive decline in production as their largest clients such as the automobile and construction industries have also seen a slump. The chain of recession is present as the coronavirus has spread. China, being a large exporter of paint and coatings, has also seen the disruption of the manufacturing supply chain.

    Global chemical production is also down by over 2%. Coupled with labor shortages and the challenges of new working processes, manufacturing plants have had to decrease operations by up to 60%. 

    Personal Care

    As retail has been hit by a lack of footfall in the high street, less personal care products such as cosmetics and skin creams have been purchased. Consumers are watching their purse strings, meaning that the demand is not present at the moment. This has resulted in a slowing down of production. Alongside the limited production in China due to the COVID-19 lockdown in the Far East, the supply chain has also been impacted.

    While the manufacturing sector has been challenged by the COVID-19 outbreak, opportunities for progression and adaptation have also emerged. Communications systems, like the Andon System, can enable manufacturing plants to limit downtime, enhance communications, and increase productivity and efficiency. This has never been more necessary than in a post-pandemic world.