Hiren Kanani

Hiren Kanani

July 6, 2023 10 minutes to read

Resilient, Recession-Proof Manufacturing: How AR can Help?

Resilient, Recession-Proof Manufacturing: How AR can Help?

We are now a few years away from a pandemic-recession, and while the road to recovery is proving more difficult than anticipated, the early turbulence has subsided—though much is still unknown. Most, if not all, of the fundamental actions listed in the crisis playbook have been completed by enterprises, and they have stabilized their operations. It may have been necessary for businesses in the most troubled economic sectors to take further action and declare bankruptcy.

The manufacturing industry has recently been significantly impacted by issues with supply chains, labour shortages, and inflationary pressures including rising energy costs and growing raw material prices. The question of whether we are in a recession is raised by the fact that recent economic data are showing a decline in GDP. What does this mean for manufacturers?

Although manufacturers have demonstrated remarkable resiliency in the face of numerous disasters, there are undeniably heavier clouds in the sky. The majority of the members we questioned think that a recession is more likely within the next year as a result of inflationary pressures.

Running out the clock till the economy recovers globally won’t get you through the recession-proof industries. To ensure that their company not only weathers the storm but is also ready to re-enter growth mode, manufacturers must take proactive actions. While each manufacturer’s path to recovery will be unique based on criteria such as their subsector, financial situation, supplier and customer bases, among others, many of the strategic considerations and imperatives will be the same. The manufacturers who act early to seize these new chances will prosper in the turbulent months to come. Although it might seem hazardous to do so, the alternative—letting opportunities slip by—is much scarier.

We’re looking at statistical information about the manufacturing sector’s ability to recover from a downturn. Also, the tactics that experts in the field believe can help manufacturing leaders strengthen the resilience of their operations and run their businesses more profitably and efficiently.

Manufacturing Sector in a Recession

Industrial manufacturing recession has historically been more negatively impacted by downturns than other industries, although it recovers more swiftly than the entire economy. Recessions in the past have been attributed to a range of factors, including low investor confidence, oil shocks, federal policies, and even housing booms.

Even if it hasn’t been predicted yet, it appears likely that the global economy will enter a recession (based on the fact of 2 consecutive quarters of negative GDP). Due to fewer products being purchased and a consequent decrease in customer inventory needs, advanced manufacturing enterprises may experience decreased orders and revenue. Making your company more productive and efficient is a great way to start preparing for the uncertainty of the near future if you haven’t already.

Whatever the reason, historical evidence indicates that the durable goods sector is more vulnerable to recessions and has a greater impact when compared to the nondurables and services sectors. During uncertain times, consumers and firms in the durables industry frequently delay purchases and investments.

The Characteristics of Resilient Companies

Any firm, whether it is a fledgling start-up or a well-established manufacturing industry titan, with 20 employees or 1,000, will inevitably face difficulties. Companies require resilient teams in order to retain high performance and well-being. This is especially important if they have staff who routinely complete important work in difficult circumstances.

Resilient companies need not be emotionless automatons who never experience anxiety when things go wrong. It does, however, imply a team that can overcome obstacles as efficiently as feasible. They have a mechanism in place to keep the team’s resources and health. They are fast to bounce back from setbacks and exhibit the capacity to work as a team to overcome obstacles in the future. These are a few typical teams challenges that call for resilience:

  • High-stakes or challenging assignments
  • High-risk work or uncertain team roles
  • The act of innovating itself is fraught with errors and failures.
  • Angry, disgruntled, or doubtful customers
  • Poor outcomes
  • Unclear direction or objectives

What Resilient Companies Do Differently?

They Adopt Emerging Tech.

Companies must recognize their areas of weakness, but it’s also critical to continuously recognize and build upon their strengths. Adopting next-generation technologies to survive and thrive in the disruptive environment has proven to be beneficial in the industrial sector. With technologies like Augmented Reality (AR), enterprises have observed 30% increase in worker productivity, 35% increase in remote issue resolution, and 48% reduction in training time.

They Acknowledge the “Producer-Manager Dilemma” and Actively Minimize It.

The “producer-manager” issue, as described by popular economists, is more likely to affect senior employees. As these professionals advance in their careers, they must continue to “create” client or technical work while also taking on leadership responsibilities. They must devote more time, attention, and intentional effort to ensuring that teams are performing well as a result of this.

Sadly, the urgent frequently takes precedence over the important, and incentive structures almost universally favor productivity over management and leadership. Professional teams are frequently gravely under-led in the absence of a strong organizational commitment and cultural foundation. They are also less likely to reap the full rewards that might come from a cohesive, inclusive, and varied team effort. The first step in addressing this problem is raising awareness of it.

They Put Employees First.

Resilient companies discuss stress and burnout in public. Burnout is a state of tiredness, cynicism, and ineffectiveness brought on by a mismatch or imbalance between essential job requirements and available resources. Lower morale, turnover, and disengagement levels are strongly connected with it. It’s interesting that team member burnout vulnerability has been connected to lower levels of organized team debriefs or after-action evaluations.

Capitalizing on Industry 4.0 technologies like AR, enterprises are cascading the benefits of digitalization to their workforce, and augmenting their capabilities. AR assists the workforce with digital work instructions, checklists, and workflows, using animation and insight-based media like videos and illustrations to help the workforce gain knowledge seamlessly. Additionally, it provides real-time visual assistance from experts whenever needed. With AR, enterprises can celebrate up to 78% FTFRs and a 54% reduction in truck rolls.

They Create a Sense of Psychological Safety Methods.

Psychological safety is a crucial tenet of strong teams. People need to feel at ease expressing their knowledge, which includes concerns, queries, errors, and unfinished thoughts. According to research, teams that express more positive emotions and prioritize strengthening interpersonal bonds have higher degrees of this kind of openness, which increases team resilience. Teams that can openly communicate both good and bad experiences are more able to overcome operational challenges and have higher levels of trust, which increases resilience.

They Enhance Their Supply Chain.

Resilient firms are concentrating on the following when it comes to bolstering the supply chain:

  • Increasing supply chain variety
  • keeping inventory smaller and more effective
  • optimizing industrial processes to increase output and decrease waste

During the COVID-19 epidemic, manufacturers with just-in-time worldwide supply chains ran into issues. Manufacturers can more effectively manage the risks of global supply disruptions and promote economic growth in local communities by investing resources to create new supply networks. Creating smart collaborations with reputable businesses during a recession is an intelligent way to supply project services that cut costs and maintain or increase reliability. These collaborations can involve cutting-edge technology, a partner that directly optimizes operations or an outside partner who aids in logistics and product delivery.

It’s crucial to develop ties with partners that complete their due diligence to avert challenges (particularly linked to supply chain issues) by investing in process improvements and technologies. For better productivity and quality to ensure the delivery of items on time, within budget, and to standard, augmented technologies, such as projected AR, can be employed, for instance.

They Remain Encouraged.

The psychological qualities linked to a strong need for achievement are most frequently seen in professionals who choose to work in demanding circumstances. The development of resilient teams can be hampered by some of these characteristics, such as a strong need for autonomy and ferocious competitiveness. Team members may be unwilling to work together and may see one another as obstacles or rivals rather than as providers of fresh knowledge, ideas, skills, and support.

Companies that are resilient use the power of innate drive to combat these inclinations. According to research, emphasizing intrinsic goals helps teams perform better, feel better, and be more motivated. When team members have a say in how their task is carried out, their intrinsic motivation increases, they must have a sense of community on the team and have faith in their capacity to pick up increasingly tricky abilities. It is the responsibility of leaders to foster a work climate where those beneficial results can occur.

Recession-Proof Manufacturers

While no industry is immune to recession, the concept of recession-proof practices still has a lot to offer. No matter the recession, our basic requirements like food and medicines remain unaltered, and so does the specific industry. There are many manufacturers who continue to operate and even expand during tough times.

  • Daily essentials– The demand for essentials like toothpaste, soap, laundry detergent, and paper supplies, are not affected by the state of economy.
  • Food Industry- Food producers hardly ever fall in times of economic crisis, and during recession, people may discontinue dining out, which may further boost the industry.
  • Diversified Manufacturers- They can quickly adjust and control operations since less manufacturing is allocated to any one product line.

What We Learn From Last Recessions?

Industrial manufacturing has historically been more intensely impacted by downturns than other sectors. This is generally due to falling confidence in investments, oil shocks, etc. The durable goods sector is the worst hit among all other sectors. This is one side of the story. The other side of the story also showcases that the manufacturing sector gets back more rapidly than the other sectors of the economy.

What Changed Since Last Recession?

The fiscal policies have become more accommodative since the Great Recession and consequently the US Federal Reserve lowered the interest rates, which was 5.22% as of Sept. 2017, to essentially 0%. However so, the manufacturing downturn witnessed in a longer recovery, a 12-month improvement period than the overall economy.

Accelerating Digital Transformation in Times of Recession Through AR

The essential thing to maintain the work continuity during the time of recession is to utilize digital transformation as a primary tool. Immersive technologies like AR, help streamline complex manual processes and make it simpler and faster to turn manufacturing workers into digital knowledge workers. This shortens the ramp-up period for new hires and reassigned workers and gives them the freedom to meet their productivity and quality targets right away.

The manufacturing workforce can profit from digitization while keeping their hands free for unrestrained work by accessing AR through smart glasses. Assisted Reality facilitates quality check audits and remote inspection of assembly progress. Workers can also consult experts and work together to troubleshoot malfunctioning equipment, breakdowns, and unplanned downtime more quickly and effectively. In addition, installing complex equipment is made more straightforward with expert advice through video and AR instructions displayed as 3D digital assets.

Supercharge Your Company’s Manufacturing Efficiency with Augmented Reality!

Plutomen is a Frontline Worker Platform that enhances manufacturing efficiency by increasing First Time Fix Rates (FTFR) via AR projected remote assistance, work instructions, and immersive training. Get a demo today!

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Ans- Since the manufacturing sector is comparatively resilient to economic downturns, it is seen as recession-proof. It serves a wide range of clients and provides necessities including food, medical gear, everyday necessities, and building supplies. It may have long-term contracts or agreements with clients and enjoys consistent or inelastic demand for its products. It has also devised techniques to withstand economic crises and places a strong emphasis on cost control and efficiency. Although production levels, employment, and overall profitability can still be affected by economic downturns, a recession-proof industry is better positioned to endure and recover from these problems than other sectors.

Ans- During recessions, certain industries have shown to be more resilient, which has helped them better adjust to shifting economic situations. The industries that are most resistant to recession are- Healthcare, Utilities, Education, Essential Consumer Goods, Pharmaceuticals, Repair and Maintenance Services, Government and Public Sector

Manufacturers should diversify their suppliers, establish trusting bonds, carry out risk analyses, have buffer inventories, work together, use lean and agile practises, keep an eye on economic indicators, spend money on technology, and create backup plans. Manufacturers may take action to maintain a strong supply chain amid a downturn: Increase variety of suppliers, Have more reliable suppliers, Deploy Risk Management, Uphold the buffer stock, Encourage communication and visibility, Track economic indicators, Invest in technology and automation

Ans- By expanding operational resilience and cost effectiveness, AR technology is an essential tool for manufacturing that can withstand economic downturns. It allows for remote participation and assistance, boost effective skill upskilling, and build up quality control and inspection procedures. It also, merge with lot sensors to monitor machinery and achieve proactive maintenance, minimising unscheduled downtime and maximising resource efficiency. Manufacturers are empowered by AR technology’s effective remote collaboration, rapid processes, cost reductions, and show cleverness during challenging economic times.
Hiren Kanani

Hiren Kanani

CTO, Cofounder of Plutomen

With 10+ years' experience of Hiren Kanani has helped Plutomen ensure smooth communication between the company and the client for swift project delivery with fewer iterations. He is CTO & founder at Plutomen.

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