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It goes without saying that the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the manufacturing and food processing industries dramatically.

Since the pandemic hit, companies have been pressured to protect their workers and visitors while maintaining business continuity amid growing uncertainty.

Today, as we’re emerging out of COVID-19 different pressures are mounting for these sectors.

The question on the minds of c-suite leaders is how manufacturers and food processors can prepare today so they can respond with more confidence to new and emerging threats and harness disruptive moments in the future.

From our experience working with large manufacturers and food processors, the solution lies in adopting digital maturity.

Manufacturers’ recovery to last several years

A return to pre-crisis levels will likely take manufacturing companies several years, if not more – as was the case with other major upheavals, such as the 2008-2009 financial crisis, according to management consulting company Oliver Wyman.

The good thing is that, before the pandemic hit, manufacturing companies had more cash and equity than before the financial crisis. Plus, the production levels have slowed down before COVID-19, so companies have not anticipated robust industry growth.

On the other hand, the simultaneous supply and demand shock with shutdown has resulted in deeper slumps, and experts are predicting an “up and down” recovery rather than a steady curve.

Food processors must take action to protect workers and prevent price spikes

Possible food shortages and grocery unavailability brought about a considerable shift in consumer behaviour in the food industry, leading to profound changes in the food processing industry.

But the most devastating impact was the infection of the workers at the plants – in giants such as Kraft Heinz and Campbell Soup’s Pepperidge Farm as well as smaller brands like Fairmont Foods and Ruiz Foods.

Close to two million Americans work in food processing plants, making all of them susceptible to the coronavirus pandemic.

When a large number of workers become sick, food supply chains can quickly unravel, causing food prices to surge and increasing the number of people who struggle with meeting their basic nutritional needs.

Digitally advanced organizations recover quicker

Digitally mature companies are more resilient, and the recent pandemic has provided further evidence of that resilience, especially in employee engagement and supply chain operations, according to Infosys research.

Manufacturers that have migrated critical applications to the cloud have been able to function more smoothly because it has enabled their employees to access what they need from their homes, the research has also shown.

Any concerns about data security and performance have been either disproven or outweighed by the flexibility cloud applications provide. At the same time, enterprises that invested in advanced analytics make even better use of these capabilities.

Wellness screening is the best way to protect employees and drive business stability after COVID-19

An integral part of the overall digital maturity in large employers – such as manufacturers and food processors – includes adopting proper wellness screening technology.

High-tech wellness screening enables companies to safeguard the health and safety of their employees and visitors and maintain business continuity so they can ride out future disruptions.

Once manufacturers and food processors learn which individuals pose a health risk to their facilities, they can deny entry and take appropriate contingency measures.

Conclusion: Achieving digital maturity is critical in the post-COVID-19 reality

If the coronavirus has taught us anything, it’s that organizations need to become more resilient in the wake of disruption and potential pandemics we may yet to experience in the future.

The surest way for food processing and manufacturing facilities to grow in resilience is to embrace digital maturity now – rather than scramble to find solutions overnight while suffering needless consequences.

Obtaining appropriate wellness screening tools is one of the most digitally mature decisions that enterprises can make today.

It will help ensure that their employees and visitors are safe and empower them to continue driving growth despite uncertainty.

EAIGLE is helping several manufacturers and food processing companies safeguard their employees, protect their bottom line, and stop the spread of new COVID-19 variants. Find out how your facility can do the same by learning about EAIGLE’s range of wellness screening solutions here