Material Handling & COVID-19: How The Virus Is Bending Industry 

An industrial worker driving a forklift in a warehouse

As the COVID-19 pandemic has hit a resurgence, especially in the U.S., the realm of material handling has been thrown into an unusual flux. This industry, like many others, was already shifting and changing before the pandemic but now has hit further setbacks and shifts. 

With unclear directions from the federal government and a mix of state solutions, it can be difficult for manufacturers and warehouses to know what to expect and how to position themselves accordingly. In our latest blog, we try to break through the fog created by COVID-19 and help you steer your business in the right direction. 

Major Effects of COVID-19 on Materials Handling

COVID-19 has had both predictable and unpredictable effects on the economy and supply chains, straining and sometimes fully opening cracks in the system. The major issue, especially in the current surge, is that a record amount of people are verified to have the virus. This leads to massive staff shortages, with nearly every sector of the economy feeling the weight of sickness directly or indirectly. 

The material handling industry hasn’t been able to avoid these changes, with many workers falling ill. Of course, this leaves many workplaces undermanned, leading to missed deadlines and falling output. Many positions can’t simply be replaced so easily, as some manufacturers have found out during historic strikes in the past year. So how has the industry adapted? 

Industry Adjustments 

One major adjustment that has gained more fuel in the face of this COVID resurgence is automation/technological advancement. Increasingly, warehouses and manufacturers are looking for ways to reduce the human element by looking to technology with heavy investments. 

The reasoning behind this is more or less obvious; technology doesn’t get sick, and this will help the bottom line while also making it easier to implement new health and safety standards for staff. 

Federal Responses To COVID

The state and federal responses to COVID are a major piece of the puzzle to seeing how the industry will respond to COVID. It’s easy to see warehouse workers as just that, but they are affected by policies in education, food service, healthcare, and more. The availability of workers has a direct correlation to those policies, which have unfortunately been lacking in many places. 

What does this mean for owners? Well, it means that a robust internal protocol for COVID illness is a must. If you don’t have a protocol in place, you may need to invest in a qualified health protocols manager. It may seem like an unnecessary expense, but it can have an outsized impact on the ability of your workers to stay healthy and produce. 

Trust Indoff For Your Warehousing and Manufacturing Needs! 

At Indoff, we are well aware of the needs that warehouses and manufacturers have in these unprecedented times. As a result, we have refined our services to give you the tools you need to thrive, even in sub-optimal conditions. 

To learn more about the services and products we offer, explore our website or get in touch with us via phone or email today!

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