Manufacturing AUTOMATION

COVID-19 Updates News Studies & Reports
Report: Manufacturers willing to produce COVID-19 equipment despite cash flow concerns


March 27, 2020
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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Photo: Adobe Stock

Canadian manufacturers are eager to assist with production of medical devices and medical equipment to help mitigate the COVID-19 crisis, according to a new survey released today by the Canadian Association of Mold Makers (CAMM) and its industrial automation arm, Automate Canada.

The Windsor, Ontario–based associations sent a COVID-19 impact survey earlier this week to both members and non-members working in manufacturing, industrial automation and moldmaking.

The survey received a total of 93 responses, with the majority coming from Southern Ontario and Quebec. Almost 65 per cent of respondents were from companies under 50 employees in size.

Seventy-five per cent of respondents indicated they are willing to help manufacture medical equipment.

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The survey also focused on manufacturers’ readiness to pivot production, as well as issues like cash flow, employee retention and anxiety.

Staffing challenges

Two-thirds of respondents had some employees off work on self-isolation or quarantine, while one-third had no staffing changes.

So far, the majority of manufacturers reported no layoffs, but about 25 per cent of respondents reported they have initiated either temporary or permanent layoffs affecting a total of 700 employees.

However, 12 per cent of respondents reported hiring new workers, totalling 16 new additions to the manufacturing sector.

Further COVID-19 impacts

To date, manufacturers have been impacted by worker anxiety, project cancellations, travel cancellations and the challenges of adapting to working from home.

The risk of losing employees, cancelled projects and declining sales were also major stress points.

Anticipated challenges in coming weeks are cash flow, employee retention, health and safety, supply chain risks and suffering morale.

More surveys to come

This survey, which was done in partnership with Windsor-Essex Economic Development, the Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association, and the Canadian Tooling & Machining Association, will be released each week for the next several weeks in order to gather data on the impact COVID-19 is having on the Canadian manufacturing sector.

“We want to help and deal with concerns of workers, managers, owners in an ever-changing landscape, “says Mike Bilton, CAMM board chair. “We know these surveys are crucial in helping us keep updated about our industry.”

Automate Canada Chair Shelley Fellows says the associations are meeting every day to share information and strategize about how to connect Canada’s manufacturing industries with the resources they need.