Analysis

Effects of the extended lockdown on manufacturers

22nd April 2020
Alex Lynn

The UK government announced last week that the country-wide lockdown would be extended for at least a further three weeks in order to manage the coronavirus crisis. It is uncertain at present how ministers can get industry going again to kickstart the economy without incurring a second infection wave. But what does this mean for UK manufacturers?

In Harwin Chairman, Damon de Laszlo’s latest update, he stated that the economic damage wreaked by the pandemic will probably be worse than currently predicted as ‘well over 50% of the western economic system is related to the service industries, and here the disruption is total as the economy shuts down’.

As factories reopen in some countries like China, other countries like the UK have extended lockdowns which is crucial to protect lives. Ministers are constantly asked in the 5pm BBC televised briefings when the lockdown is likely to end but, even when that happens, it will be impossible for operations to return to normal immediately.

As de Laszlo pointed out: “It took many years to build the super-efficient global supply chains that service modern manufacturing. We can’t simply expect to turn them on again at the flick of a switch. The economic crisis that is affecting raw materials, when the global economy starts to recover, is likely to cause rapid price increases.”

De Laszlo continued: “The huge stimulus and support now being provided by governments around the world will probably stabilize markets; however, they are likely to remain weak with no v-shaped bounces likely in the next 7-8 months. By then, hopefully, there will be some clarity of the human effects of the Coronavirus, and the lifting of movement restrictions will enable businesses to start anticipating some form of normality.”

As a vertically integrated manufacturer, Harwin holds healthy stocks of raw materials and maintains close cooperation with local supply chains to continue material supply. The company is seeing increased global demand across a wide spectrum of components required for medical equipment systems and devices. The high reliability, rugged Datamate connector range, resistant to bumps and shocks, is a key component in ventilators with compact Mix-Tek and L-Tek  designs also in high demand.

Other connections for ventilators and devices used at a hospital bedside or at home are available too such as the Archer IDC or M40 range. A removable clip-in shield design is available to protect against EMI.

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