An exclusive survey by Clear Seas Research, our parent company’s research arm, was recently fielded to discover how companies in the manufacturing sector are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey was conducted last week (March 24-26), providing insight on issues relating to manufacturers’ current business outlook, how the coronavirus is affecting short- and long-term projections, steps manufacturers are taking to protect their employees, and much more.

Business Levels and Activities

Respondents were asked what percentage of their active and planned business is on schedule, delayed, or cancelled. As shown in Figure 1, most active and planned business remains on schedule, despite the pandemic (67% and 63%, respectively). Roughly one-quarter of active business has been delayed (26%), while planned business is seeing somewhat more delays (33%).

In terms of new business development, slightly more than one-third of respondents (36%) report increased or unchanged activity, while 64% are seeing a decline. Similarly, 37% of respondents report increased or unchanged levels of business spending, with 63% reporting a decline.

Protecting Employees

Manufacturers are taking several steps to protect their employees from the coronavirus. The vast majority are encouraging handwashing (92%) and promoting social distancing (89%). They are also eliminating or reducing business-related travel (79%), giving employees the option of working from home (59%), or requiring employees to work from home (39%).

Several additional actions include:

  • Providing hand sanitizer/antibacterial soaps—80%
  • Increasing frequency of cleaning/sanitation procedures—79%
  • Providing personal protection equipment—42%
  • Splitting workforce shifts to reduce the number of employees onsite—25%
  • Temporarily closing the business—19%

The full results of this survey are available at no charge. How do these responses track with your company’s activities and projections during the pandemic? Please share your experiences with a comment here, or feel free to contact me directly.