Looks like it will be quite some months before we can get back to anything that resembles “normal”, but it’s going to be a new different “normal”. We don’t know how long this thing will last for but as long as we continue to produce we will come out of it alright. Everything else is secondary. Plants have scrambled to work out measures to protect manufacturing operations. In normal times there are hundreds or possibly thousands of people coming to the site every day, anyone of those could lead to self-isolation of many team members and possibly disrupt operations. Most plants need to have team members physically present onsite for manufacturing to proceed. But anyone that doesn’t really need to be onsite is an unnecessary infection vector and needs to work from home if that can be achieved. Plants have scrambled for remote work from home solutions. Lot’s of us are got a fast education in video calling whether it’s with Zoom, Hangouts, Teams or whatever.
QA Remote working – Jolene is in QA. Her partner is a paramedic who is dealing with Covid-19 patients daily. Jolene knows there is a risk her partner brings the virus home every day, but she is young and fit so not overly worried but anyway she can’t afford to rent other accommodation for herself. Jolene and her team’s role is to review exceptions. She has for some years had remote access to Office 365 and file servers but she does not have access to the systems to review exceptions. she wants to work from home but needs to be able to access to the right apps and data to be able to complete her work remotely.
Production Management Remote Working – Michael is in production management. He would like to be at the plant with the operators every day usually, but he knows that if he does not have to be there he is part of the problem, not part of the solution. Like or not he has to work from home. His wife has a busy job also and now that schools are closed and they can’t have a carer come into their family unit he has an extra challenge in keeping those kids occupied. He can do his work in the early and late blocks, but it is seven days. He can do his work from home just as long as he has secure remote access – and can get to the critical dashboards and KPIs for his daily production meetings. He had thought about making them remotely accessible but there were always other priorities to be taken care of.
Engineering Remote Working -Kirstin (not her real name) is in engineering. She has found that actually, she can continue to do most of her work remotely pretty easily. What has become a challenge though is that many of her colleagues that are not so familiar and comfortable with remote working are asking her for help accessing the data and the applications they need for their work. The outsource IT provider has been very responsive but they have limited access to manufacturing systems anyway.
How can we help you?
For the past month our engineers & consultants at Hanley Networks have been helping manufacturers to ensure that they can put as many people as possible working from home. We understand the challenges in making sure that QA, production and engineering have access to the data and the systems they need to see to be able to continue to support manufacturing operations. We can help your team to figure out who needs to see what and how to get them access, without violating security policies. If you or someone you know has been affected by the themes raised in this post, reach out and we can set up an initial conversation with our IT infrastructure & data consultants at no charge