Every sector of the U.S. economy needed to react to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the manufacturing and logistics industry is no exception.
Most businesses experience seasonal cycles throughout the year. They’re also generally accustomed to variability in consumer preferences and well equipped to handle changing economic conditions. But the state of today’s world is something that no one could have predicted or prepared for.
No matter their size or industry, manufacturing and logistics businesses will see a few notable trends that will shape the industry in the years ahead. Learn how a contingent workforce solves a variety of challenges and keep your business moving forward.
The variability in supply chains
Because certain types of businesses closed temporarily, and others faced unprecedented demand for their goods, many suppliers were severely affected. Despite these uncertainties, manufacturers seemed optimistic about their staffing plans for the rest of 2020 even during the peak of the pandemic, according to a survey by Thomas Insights:
- 56% did not experience and are not planning layoffs.
- 30% say they are actively hiring.
- 91% are confident that the industry will recover.
In the coming months, businesses will need to better accommodate workloads and understand when staffing levels may need to be adjusted, as well as identify any roles that need to be repositioned or restructured. They also have an excellent opportunity to determine when and where contingent staff are required.
After a crisis or recession, businesses are typically hesitant to hire permanent staff. Hiring temporary or temp-to-hire workers can be a suitable alternative when they’re unsure about their immediate future and wish to minimize risk.
The effects of eCommerce
Retailers have been developing new ways to meet changing consumer demand and calls for safer shopping alternatives, using delivery or pickup options and virtual appointments to ensure safety while still offering convenient access to their products and services. Consumers have turned to e-commerce to fulfill some of their needs throughout this time, allowing retailers to make sales even while brick-and-mortar stores were closed.
In the early stages of the pandemic, consumers turned to online channels to purchase essential items, home furnishings, gifts and more.
- In 2019, shoppers spent over $600 billion online, up nearly 15 percent from the previous year.
- E-commerce sales are still up 55 percent year over year for the first seven months of the year, resulting in $434.5 billion in online spending.
The transition to online shopping has increased the workload for the manufacturing and logistics industry, as warehouses and distribution centers are tasked with being more efficient with picking, packing, and sending items to the package carrier.
As online sales continue to grow with no signs of stopping, bringing on contingent or temp-to-hire workers who can work on a short-term basis is key to delivering these items on time. With this additional support, businesses in manufacturing and logistics can scale much more efficiently and be prepared for future growth in e-commerce.
The shifting workforce
As warehouses and distribution centers face an influx of demand, people are experiencing significant obstacles in finding or maintaining a job, including reduced access to transportation, lack of affordable childcare, and various other reasons that may require them to work on a part-time or temporary basis. With the new realities of schooling and working from home, flexible schedules will be a beneficial alternative for much of your workforce.
Businesses will balance these changes with their own constraints, whether it’s how many employees they can bring back while still observing social distancing rules, or how many employees they can afford after a lengthy shutdown, with the availability of potential staff. Having contingent or temp-to-hire staff is a great benefit whenever they need additional support due to scheduling changes and other disruptions.
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