Spot market prices for trucking have spiked this month, while transportation companies encountered an over 50% increase in grocery and discount store orders last week, compared with the same time last year, and largely empty return runs due to retail closures. Drivers are also contending with rest area and restaurant closures and are struggling to find gloves and other protective gear.
NAW CEO Dirk Van Dongen has sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence encouraging the federal government to use existing supply chains for essential product distribution. "In practice, ignoring existing private sector distribution networks is unworkable and will slow the delivery of products significantly," he writes.
Sysco is planning to offer its employees' services to retail customers during the coronavirus crisis. "We are in the process of pivoting our support to help the retail grocers in this country help keep their shelves in stock," said Kevin Hourican, CEO of the foodservice distribution company.
America's strong food supply chain will ensure that people have access to food during the coronavirus pandemic, writes Steven Spinner, CEO of United Natural Foods. UNFI and other distributors have boosted their output to keep grocers stocked with food and other essentials while taking measures to ensure employee safety.
The adaptability distributors have shown during the coronavirus pandemic will play a key role in how the US rebounds from the crisis, writes Thomas Gale. However, companies should beware making big decisions without proper data, which can be hard to come by during this unprecedented event.
Food manufacturers such as Kraft Heinz, Tyson Foods and Cargill are making more products for retail in response to higher demand due to the coronavirus pandemic. The companies are moving away from foodservice as demand changes.
Personal and household care products manufacturer Modere is responding to the coronavirus pandemic by communicating often with employees working from home, enacting safety protocols for factory workers, ramping up production of cleaning products and offering product discounts for customers. CEO Asma Ishaq has emphasized visibility, accessibility and communication.
Manufacturers' "attack surface" that can be targeted by cybercriminals has significantly grown with the adoption of internet of things technology and external systems, writes Stephen Gold, president and CEO of the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation. However, the majority of manufacturers are working to prevent attacks and respond to breaches, he writes.
5G internet will have a substantial impact on connected factories, furthering the use of artificial intelligence, robots and augmented and virtual reality, as well as digital twins, analytics and remote operations, writes Luke Durcan of Schneider Electric. Different divisions within manufacturers will have to work together to "identify the unique business value 5G can bring," he writes.
Initiatives such as the National Association of Manufacturers' "Creators Wanted" tour are essential to inform young people about the meaningful job opportunities available in manufacturing, Paul Donnelly writes. He recommends that manufacturers pursue educational partnerships and highlight digital modernization and sustainability efforts to potential workers.
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