News of the Coronavirus has taken over headlines in mainstream America. As various industries attempt to mitigate the uncertain ramifications of the virus—the disruption to business operations is undeniable. Although the automotive industry is striving to minimize the impact of the current outbreak—companies must continue to modify current procedures and implement alternative action plans if necessary.
First discovered in Wuhan, China on December 31, 2019—the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the virus to be a pandemic—an occurrence that has only happened a handful of times over the last century. As a result of the outbreak, automakers and suppliers have had to modify manufacturing techniques in order to adapt to current issues and concerns.
Automakers in China and South Korea have already had to alter production manufacturing procedures due to the outbreak and the US is continuing to follow suit. Let’s take a look at how the Coronavirus is impacting automotive processes and how companies are currently responding.
Increasing Remote Work
Many industry executives have claimed the current pandemic has not yet affected automotive demand or production. However, like many other industries—steps are being taken to minimize the spread of the virus.
On March 13, 2020 both Ford and GM instructed non-factory employees to begin working remotely. These policies are likely to affect the majority of salaried employees in a corporate function. Ford and GM each employ roughly 70,000 salaried employees. While the disease may continue to spread—the actions are a necessary measure to limit spread of the virus.
Self-quarantine is a step currently being followed on a worldwide scale. Not only do these measures help to limit the spread of the virus—they also relieve pressure placed on public health professionals such as doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff.
Using Alternative Parts
Automakers have begun addressing potential part shortages in order to minimize impact to operations. Plants are currently attempting to continue vehicle production without disruption by obtaining parts from alternative sources. Many components are outsourced to foreign countries, so American companies must find alternative suppliers if necessary.
Diverting manufacturing from impacted countries means shifting focus to alternative labor forces. Production has already begun to move from countries such as China to nations like Thailand, Indonesia, and India. These nations appear to be ramping up capabilities in upcoming years.
If the Coronavirus has taught us one thing—successful risk management means diversifying markets and creating alternative action plans for potential cases of disaster.
Implementing AI Techniques
Although employee led factories have long since been the building blocks of the automotive industry—innovation is changing the way cars are built. At a time when people are becoming increasingly quarantined to minimize the spread of the Coronavirus, robotics automation can be a useful tool for the automotive industry.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly being used as a tool for manufacturing techniques. AI-based automation not only helps to increase productivity—it may also aid in continuing business operations during times of crisis.
Automotive companies use robotic techniques at a rate far higher than other industries. The traditionally labor intensive processes associated with automotive companies continue to evolve using AI techniques.
With the ongoing Coronavirus concerns—automotive organizations should seek to implement AI and robotics techniques as a means of continuing production and business operations without a human labor force.
How AER is Using Sustainability to Improve Operations
Sustainable techniques in the automotive industry can help to lower our carbon footprint while providing long-term solutions that can minimize the need for full-scale manufacturing.
Electronic components frequently break in automobiles, but replacement doesn’t have to be the only solution. AER Technology uses renewable techniques that are sustainable and can minimize the need for full-scale manufacturing. With the Coronavirus halting certain manufacturing capabilities—renewal can help to provide parts in an undisrupted fashion.