Covid-19 may have rocked the manufacturing industry, but we're still expanding!
On January 25, 2020, the first presumptive case of Coronavirus was reported in Ontario. Little did we know how much this would impact not only the Canadian economy, but the worldwide economy. This new respiratory disease spread like wildfire. What we originally thought could be controlled with a two week stay at home order quickly turned into months of staying at home and closing non-essential businesses. Closing businesses en masse for an extended period of time created issues with the economy because if people aren't working, they tend not to spend money and when people don't spend money the economy suffers and recessions happen, cue in the Canadian government to save the day.
According to CTV News, the Canadian government spent an estimated $122 billion on labour market supports such as the emergency response benefit, the recovery benefit, and an enhanced version of employment insurance. For Canadians out of work, the response benefit provided an income so that individuals and families could maintain their mortgage payments, pay their bills, and buy necessities. For the government, this also meant that consumer would have money to put into the economy and a recession could be held at bay.
How did it impact the tool & mold supply chain industry?
Fortunately, many of us in the manufacturing sector didn't have to close for significant amounts of time because auto plants & manufacturing shops related to the automotive industry were deemed essential. What did have a large impact on the manufacturing industry were the various challenges to the supply chain.
One of the biggest challenges were shortages of semiconductors. These are the computer components used in most vehicles. This shortage resulted in weekly to monthly closures of automotive manufacturers because without the conductor the vehicles could not be assembled in their entirety on the line. It would be prudent to assume that this would have negatively affected the tool & mold industry, but strangely enough this actually increased the industry's workload!
When the automotive lines came to a halt, it meant that the molds used to create the plastic components in the vehicles could be serviced for repair and maintenance. Tool and mold shops all over began picking up repair and maintenance work to service the molds that churn out thousands of pieces a day.
We changed our practices to realign with industry needs
For DC Automotive Tooling specifically, the changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic allowed us to re-evaluate our position in the tool & mold industry. We've always dedicated a percentage of our work to mold repair and maintenance. When COVID-19 hit, we simply increased that percentage! With the plethora of molds that came in from various automotive manufacturers we were able to quicken our turn around times without seeing any drop in the quality of our work.
The pandemic also gave us a chance to create new opportunities outside of the automotive industry. By networking in other sectors such as aquatics, toys, film & entertainment, and retail, we were able to diversify our client portfolio without having to rely heavily on components imported from far away places.
What happens now?
We're nearly through the thick of it. In Windsor, Ontario, where DC Automotive Tooling Inc. is located, we've moved into Stage 3 of Ontario's reopening plan. Life is nearly back to normal except for proof-of-vaccination documents, lowered capacities inside businesses, continued use of masks, screening requirements, & limits on social gatherings.
While the chip shortages may change the industry forever, change may not necessarily be a bad thing. In fact, there's a push to increase the domestic capacity of computer chip manufacturing. For example, earlier this year Intel announced plans to create two new chip manufacturing facilities in Arizona at a cost of 20-billion USD and we've brought on new and diverse clients to ensure impacts to the automotive industry won't hurt us. Here at DC Automotive Tooling, we continue to build meaningful relationships with companies in the non-automotive sectors and encourage them to reach out and contact us for all their plastic injection mold needs!