Covid-19 has impacted people, businesses and industries across the world. From preventing productivity to enforcing remote working, covid-19 has no doubt influenced the ‘normal’ way of working in a variety of sectors, especially engineering.
Current impacts of covid-19 include closed sites, supply chain issues, restricted office access, shortage of personnel and much more. Looking to the future, it is likely covid-19 will change the way engineers work, manufacture and collaborate.
Possible Impacts of Covid-19 on Engineering
A poll conducted by TheEngineer asked respondents how they believe the virus will reshape engineering in the UK with insightful results.
- 40% of respondents believed there would be a stronger domestic supply chain as a result of covid-19.
- 26% said there would be increased adoption of automation and digital tools.
- Enhanced climate of collaboration and a more nimble approach to design/manufacturing both received 14% of the vote.
See the full poll here. The responses reflect the main issues faced by the manufacturing, construction and engineering sectors during the pandemic such as material supply and limited human abilities due to social distancing.
Domestic Supply Chain
Gaining access to supplies has been tough during the pandemic due to increased demand, limited transporting ability and inflated costs. This has led to many in the engineering sector questioning the value and reliability of importing materials and parts.
Having a reliable and comprehensive domestic supply chain would aid UK economy rebuilding, overcome transport issues, and allow contractors and companies to better meet project schedules.
Working from home has become the norm for many employees across the UK, including engineers. Where possible, engineers have relocated their office, worked from home, and maintained high outputs.
Here are some top tips for engineers working from home.
Although demanding on IT, working from home has been a largely popular move with employees and employers alike. Remote working is likely to become more prevalent in a post-covid world, with employees able to maintain productivity and employers reducing overhead costs.
The adaption to home working also benefits job applicants, as employers are able to now hire talent from across the world. Job roles open during covid-19 and beyond are likely to be in the form of ‘remote’, with potential for future office-based work.
The uncertainty surrounding covid-19 and the impacts of it on project productivity may lead to businesses reviewing their contracts. Construction in particular has been caught between restricting guidance and opening up jobs, resulting in uncertainty over projects and limited work being done.
An event such as the covid-19 pandemic triggers contractual provisions concerning unforeseen events; force majeure. Because of this event, work may only be partially complete or not at all. Additionally, change in law, such as lockdown restrictions preventing supply delivery or worker attendance, can be cause for project delay.
As a result of covid-19 and the mass destruction to projects, construction and engineering firms may re-revaluate their contracts to ensure they are covered by the law.
Where possible, particularly in manufacturing, there may be more automation of processes, for example using robotics or sensors to monitor machinery. As a result, the need for humans is reduced, or at least separation is more achievable, while production is maintained and possibly increased.
Covid-19 has highlighted the usefulness of 3D printing, regarding the printing of PPE. Long-term reliance on 3D printing for part replacement for supply chain interruptions, for example, is likely.
On Site Health and Safety
Construction and engineer on-site workers have already had to adjust working styles in accordance with new health and safety requirements. Covid-19 has meant workers must maintain distance between themselves and others, as well as the most vulnerable remaining at home.
Risk assessments and future health and safety plans will no doubt have virus related sections, outlining how workers will be kept safe. Although the previous 2 metre social distancing guideline has now been reduced to 1 metre plus where 2 metres is unachievable, it is undetermined when distancing rules will be scrapped.
Get Started with BMR Solutions
Although engineering has undergone hardships and transformation during covid-19, the industry will no doubt come out better than before. From improved processes to openness to remote working, engineering is positively impacted for a successful future.
If you are looking for a job in engineering or manufacturing with excellent electronic and technical skill, BMR Solutions can help you find the perfect role. With many years’ experience in recruiting for the field, we have the expertise and industry involvement to match candidates to their ideal appointment.
Get in touch with our friendly team today!