More than one-third of U.S. manufacturers are experiencing supply chain disruptions due to the coronavirus pandemic according to a national survey.

The National Association of Manufacturers survey also found more than half expect the outbreak to change their operations in the coming months.

NAM surveyed 558 American manufacturers between Feb. 28 and March 9, asking about effects to supply chains and operations, financial expectations, and emergency plans.

The survey found:

  • 36% of manufacturers are having supply chain disruptions while 65% are not
  • 53% of manufacturing firms expect a change in operations in the coming months
  • 78% say uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus is likely to have a negative financial impact on operations
  • 51% have an emergency response plan but 49% do not

Supply Chain Disruptions

Manufacturers who are experiencing supply chain disruptions say parts are arriving late, delaying deliveries to customers.

While some say the delays are manageable at this point, they do create additional costs.

Many said they are having to find alternate suppliers but that while disruptions from the virus are minor now, they could become more serious if slowdowns continue into the next quarter.

When asked how the virus could impact operations going forward, respondents are anticipating slowdowns and reduced customer demand.

They also expect to be evaluating work schedules, handling requests to work from home, implementing business continuity response plans that include less travel, more frequent workplace sanitation, restricted face-to-face interactions, and staggered shifts on the shop floor due to higher absences.

Emergency Response Plans

Regarding emergency response plans, respondents said they’re considering restricting outside visitors, revising existing plans, and offering a "more lenient leave policy."

Others replied they do not yet have an emergency response plan but are working on developing one.

Respondents also mentioned providing their staff with regular updates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

One respondent highlighted the worst-case scenario: "If the virus hits our employees, we will need to shut down. That would be catastrophic to our business."

Resources

Respondents were also asked an open-ended question about resources that would help them prepare.

In general, they need:

  • Nonpolitical and non-sensationalized information, particularly that’s company-specific
  • Clear and timely updates on new restrictions and health advisories
  • Information about how other companies are responding
  • Clear guidelines and protocols from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institutes of Health
  • Quick and early detection resources