Source: NFPASource: NFPAMembers of the National Fluid Power Association (NFPA), the trade association dedicated to the fluid power industry, anticipate considerable disruption to domestic sales, operations and supply chain over the next three months due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

A study conducted by the NFPA surveyed over 280 of its member company leaders, asking for their views on the pandemic’s impact, which continues to increase in the United States and around the world. Immediately, sales departments have experienced the greatest impact from restrictions on customer contact, travel and trade events. Consequently, the impact of the restrictions will likely affect every aspect of the business.

The survey revealed that most companies have outlawed all non-essential domestic travel and almost all have banned international travel. Likewise, meetings are being conducted at a distance, and even on-site meetings are limiting the number of those in attendance.

According to the study, 22% of respondents believed that sales have been significantly impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. Meanwhile, only 11% believe that the supply chain has been severely impacted and only 6% believe that operations have been severely impacted. Additionally, 42-46% of respondents reported that the pandemic has moderately impacted all areas of company business, and 52% report that so far there has been little to no impact to operations.

Looking at three months into the future, respondents anticipate a much different outlook. While 23% expect that the pandemic will have only a minor impact on operations, 91% predict that there will be a significant impact on sales, 81% predict a significant impact on supply chain and 77% predict a significant impact on operations. As such, the findings reveal that 87% of respondents believe that overall company performance will be negatively impacted.

The survey also asked respondents about the measures they were taking to modify operational plans, and verbatim comments included:

  • “Decided to get ahead of Congress first, to expand excused absences relative to COVID-19 and second, to provide additional paid sick time relative to COVID-19, both to encourage associates to stay home if needed but still get paid for a period of time.”
  • “Separating manufacturing shifts with increased time between shifts to allow for separation, washing of hands and disinfecting all areas. This allows for quarantine of only one shift if a confirmed case would be identified.”
  • “We think it is not our place to lead by overacting. There are no cases nearby. We are asking those with high risk family or any other reason to let us know so we can provide them a way to isolate. We are accommodating to individuals who feel they must act. Otherwise trying to conduct business at 6-foot distance.”
  • “This whole thing is lacking a sense of proportionality as it relates to the Swine Flu and other Flu outbreaks. None of those got the attention this thing is getting.”

Survey respondents requested that NFPA officials continue to survey and inform the organization’s members going forward about the coronavirus outbreak and about federal relief efforts to help overcome the business challenges.

To contact the author of this article, email mdonlon@globalspec.com