Innovative equipment hiring strategies could be key for COVID-impacted organisations looking to ramp up production and improve competitiveness following the loosening of lockdown restrictions, says a manufacturing sector expert.
Following the Prime Minister’s 22 February announcement that restrictions surrounding non-essential retail will provisionally be relaxed no earlier than 12 April, manufacturers in multiple sectors may experience surging demand for goods. However, the effects of the coronavirus on these sectors, including constricted capex budgets and longer lead times for capital equipment, may make it difficult to purchase new utilities solutions to meet production levels required post-pandemic.
According to Matt Watson, manufacturing specialist at Aggreko Northern Europe, hiring heating, cooling or power generation equipment as an ongoing opex cost could help businesses improve overall efficiency and productivity without the barrier of high up-front purchasing costs associated with permanent installations.
“The disruption brought on by the pandemic means that a lot of businesses simply do not have the capital required for new utilities equipment,” Matt explains. “Yet industry is not going to stand still as lockdown restrictions are lifted – in fact, much the opposite. The months following this will be crucial to many businesses, so being able use temporary solutions to ramp up production could help many manufacturers recover and even thrive post-lockdown.”
Outdated installations that have laid dormant during the pandemic may also experience issues when fully reactivated, especially if their maintenance schedules have been disrupted. With temporary solution suppliers maintaining its equipment on an ongoing basis, Matt is confident hired solutions can help alleviate this issue.
He concludes: “It has been understandably difficult for companies to keep up with maintenance due to staff furloughs and ever-tightening financial margins. However, the consequences of equipment failure and unplanned downtime at this critical time could be devastating to many businesses. As such, well-maintained hire solutions could take the pressure off existing assets.
“Manufacturers are naturally more risk-averse after this long, demanding and unprecedented period, and this is absolutely understandable. With this in mind, rental equipment could present a means by which organisations can recover following pandemic-induced disruption, without the prohibitive costs required to purchase solutions outright.”
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