L&NW recently conducted a survey on COVID-19 (coronavirus) to address concerns from all avenues of our industry. The survey detailed in-house safety measures, travel plans, business trends and multiple other topics currently affecting suppliers and converters.
At the TLMI Converter Meeting, held March 8-10, 2020, in Austin, TX, USA, this data helped frame an emergency breakout session regarding converters' contingency plans for coronavirus.
The survey, which was conducted on March 9-10, received 140 responses from a variety of members in the label and packaging supply chain. The anonymous survey saw 63 of the 140 respondents (45%) functioning as converters. The remaining 55% comprised individuals from suppliers in a wide range of industries, including substrates, printing presses, inks and coatings, inspection, corona treatment and more.
Nearly 52% of the respondents work in management, with the remaining 48% split amongst sales and marketing, R&D and production, and quality control, among others. Multiple company owners also participated in the survey.
According to the data, 73.4% of the participants stated that business--so far--has remained the same, while 20.9% said that business has decreased. Deliveries and transport, as well as scheduled travel, were notably affected.
The survey did feature positive news: 78.8% believe the coronavirus outbreak is a short-term concern, while 8.8% were not sure how it would affect the industry going forward. Several respondents believe the impact could be felt for up to 12 months, with others noting the winter as a likely return to normal.
During the TLMI Converter Meeting breakout session, Christie Wong Barrett, CEO at Mac Arthur Corporation, led a discussion amongst attendees regarding precautionary steps at their businesses. Many said that work-from-home policies are being implemented, especially for those who have the ability to work on a laptop outside the facility. In the label and packaging space, however, manufacturing jobs require employees to be in the plant and operating presses and ancillary equipment.
One attendee was quoted as saying we have entered, "The Wild West," since we have not seen an outbreak of these proportions. Many were quoted as saying they would contact their legal teams for how to proceed...