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Updating/Upgrading Manufacturing Plants during COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused manufacturing plants to shut down their lines but the upside to this is it’s a great time to get the upgrades and updates to your facilities that have been put off for years.


Manufacturing plants may be shut down but the work in your facility can continue by focusing on those projects that have been on the backburner due to not being able to stop production. Now is the best time to get these projects done and not lose production time in the process.


Updates and Upgrades

Our manufacturing base is set up to run continuously and never really has any gaps. There are many industries that only shutdown twice a year if even that. As companies are shutdown, it may be the first time in years that the production lines are not running. This is an opportunity to do the upgrades needed to better the manufacturing process and overall use of the facility.


Everything from updating lighting, to installing fall protection or guarding and updating workflow processes are all things that can be done in plants during the shutdown.


Now is a great opportunity to get in there when your workforce is home and you can potentially even bring back some of the workers to help during this time. To move equipment, perform simple maintenance or painting, update processes, clean things and begin getting the facility ready for when the lines can begin running again.


Now is really the time and a great opportunity to fulfill these upgrades to your facilities.

Simple maintenance tasks such as, updating lighting and safety issues, are also able to be achieved during this time and by doing all of these updates and maintenance tasks your production lines will be able to run more smoothly once the plants are allowed to open back up.


Financial aspect of upgrading during COVID-19

There are two ways to look at the current situation when it comes to the financial impact of COVID-19.

If you have a fixed mindset, you see this as a bad thing and you talk yourself into a place where you are not performing as well and suddenly don’t have as much business.


Whereas, if you have a growth mindset you see this as an opportunity to improve, and an opportunity to expand, and then you are going out there to find new business with new products and improved processes.


There are going to be companies who don’t have a lot going on right now or suddenly they had a contract pulled because of funding or because someone got scared. This does not mean that your facility can’t still be functioning. Providing these upgrades and updates during this time is an excellent way in which to direct your attention.


When it comes to making these changes be sure to spend smart. Look for contractors that may have just lost a big contract or are scrambling for a project and will competitively bid your work.


Most companies have money earmarked for upgrades to their plants but there is also a lot of money out there right now that businesses can get to pursue these facility upgrades.


Our company reached out to banks when this pandemic was beginning to see if there was anything they could do to help us. We found that there is a ton of money that you can get to invest in and expand your business right now.



The key is to have the mindset for expansion. This is the idea of looking ahead and being prepared for what you can do to better your facility and production processes.


Those who expand right now and have that mindset of expansion are going to do incredible. The ability to expand right now while others are contracting just gives you more market share and more ability.


The upgrades and updates you do now within your facilities will eventually pay themselves off in the long run. Since the production lines are shut down the businesses will not be losing the money they would be making if the lines were at 100 percent production.


For example, we have one particular plant that we’ve been pushing for three years to do upgrades and they have just never had the opportunity to shut down. They couldn’t attach to a section of the building because that particular line couldn’t shutdown and was running at full capacity constantly.


By just going in and updating the lights, updating signage, and upgrading the process flow will pay for itself many times over in the long run.


When things reopen

At our company, as soon as our state opens up we are going to have boots on the ground because we know we have work that needs to be done to get things started again and now is the time to get those things lined up and scheduled.


In any downturn the best of the best are going to keep going. Updating facilities by making the upgrades needed to improve workflow, and provide safety will make the plant run more smoothly and provide a better environment for the workers when the plant gets back running after the shutdown is lifted.


Now is the chance to make these upgrades happen and have your plant ready to go once the shutdown ends.




Zane Pucylowski is the President and Principal Engineer at Phoenix Engineering in Atlanta, Georgia. Zane is also a part-time faculty member teaching labs in the Mechatronic Engineering department at Kennesaw State University

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