Impact of COVID-19 on Bulk Material Handling System in Semiconductors and Electronics Industry
The lockdown situation during the COVID-19 pandemic has highly impacted the global economy. Most of the governments from different countries imposed a lockdown to break the chain of coronavirus spread. All companies related to various industries have been shut down except a few dealing with COVID-19 operations such as pharmaceutical, essential goods and services and the food industry. As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, many bulk material handling companies throughout the world have had to either temporarily close or reduce their workforces to prevent the spread of the virus. Through worldwide shoartages of goods, it soon was apparent how important the world’s manufacturing and warehouse productivity is to the economy. In the bulk material handling system market, the business impact eventually proved to be less severe than first anticipated once lockdowns and restrictions were lifted. Nevertheless, the limited access to customers’ sites affected both capital and aftermarket sales of suppliers throughout the year.
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted that automation is needed for supply chains to increase efficiency. During the recent period, very few percent of supply chains felt fully prepared for the coronavirus impact. However, the bulk material handling industry can develop this situation with innovation, automation and perseverance.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE MARKET IN COVID-19 SITUATION
Market players have an opportunity to upgrade their operations and prospective for the betterment of their companies. Automation is the key to success in this unpredictable world. Different crises, labour shortages, natural disasters impact a lot on every industry. So being one step ahead of time and understanding the market well will ensure the success of the market player. In this COVID-19 pandemic, many companies adopted process automation and customization as an opportunity to survive and grow.
Some of the instances are mentioned below:
§ Automation to overcome labor shortage: Though recent events have worsened the labor gap, the labor shortage is not new for many industries, as more workers retire and skills requirements increase. Automation offers solutions to some of these problems. Automated Process Equipment Corporation provides solutions and services for bulk material handling companies to overcome labor shortages during this pandemic situation. Super sack handling, accurate measuring, automatic routing, easily reprogrammable controls and electronic record keeping are solutions that will improve automation and reduce the dependency on the massive number of laborers.
§ Customized Solutions for Booming Market: KWS Manufacturing Company Ltd. partnered up with Coperion K-Tron to provide the solution for the world’s most significant high-density polyethylene and polypropylene suppliers, which is used in consumer and industrial goods ranging from plastic bags and bottles to N95 medical masks and face shields. Due to the increased demand for polyethylene and polypropylene, expanding the client’s extrusion line required new loss-in-weight additive feeders and a mixing screw conveyor. KWS and Coperion K-Tron sales and engineering teams collaborated to ensure the extrusion line expansion would be successful.
IMPACT ON SUPPLY AND DEMAND
COVID-19 has disrupted the supply chain on a global scale. International trade restrictions and customs regulations resulted in longer wait times and a lack of capacity for long-haul deliverables. During this pandemic, the demand for bulk material handling solutions decreased because of the limited access to customers’ sites. This affected both capital and aftermarket sales throughout the year. Most of the companies faced challenges in managing on-time project completion and order deliveries.
However, many companies took this to redesign their operation and logistic models with digital capabilities to increase operational efficiency and effectiveness in such a period.
· ThyssenKrupp AG Company adopted the digitization of their business processes and supply chains in 2019-2020. Their focus was on the introduction of automation solutions which included the new mobile app “Paperless”. This app allowed digitizing day-to-day processes in warehouses such as bookings, preparation of work schedules and material identification. It also created the conditions for using other automation solutions, such as driverless transportation systems, to be used in a new state-of-the-art logistics center for ThyssenKrupp Schulte.
Such positive changes and automation in the supply chain will enable the companies to emerge stronger and supply chains that are more resilient to future disruptions.
AFTERMATH OF GLOBAL BULK MATERIAL HANDLING SYSTEM MARKET
COVID-19 pandemic affected a wide range of industries, from small to large manufacturing companies. It hampered the worldwide demand for solutions in the bulk material handling system market up to a certain extent. Limited workforce and operational restrictions negatively affected the product development life cycle. But at later stages, when lockdown restrictions were lifted, demand got stable up to a certain point. The companies developed different strategies and technologies specific to tackle problems that occurred because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
· Daifuku Co., Ltd., a material handling company, stated some measures and strategies to overcome the challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic in their annual report 2020. To prevent the spread of COVID-19 and maintain distance from one another required a new approach to service activities for systems post-delivery. Accordingly, they are working hard to use the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and information and communications technology (ICT) to establish material handling systems that never stop or that will be able to recover immediately even if blocked. They will continue to support stable operations of customer facilities by introducing new technologies and services, including remote operation, while ensuring the lives, safety and health of employees and their families.
Likewise, many companies have started introducing new technologies and methodologies in the COVID-19 situation to remain better positioned in the market. Losses during this period can be overcome in the future by taking this slowdown to redesign and refresh the business processes and logistics operations.
The global bulk material handling system market suffered losses during the recent period because of COVID-19’s negative impact on global demand and supply chains. Yearly sales for the market-related products got hampered due to limited access to customer’s sites. But relaxation in lockdown regulations after few months helped the market to somewhat come back on track. However, many companies started building new technologies to overcome supply chain problems in pandemic situations. They adopted digitization and automation in day-to-day business processes and supply chains. Although it will take some more time for companies to come back on track, this period made everyone realize the need for up-gradation in many business aspects.