Everyone is looking for answers because this pandemic is uncharted territory. Decision Makers are doing their best with the information they have, but it’s hard to come up with the best solution if you don’t know the options.

There are best practices for running a shop during the pandemic, and you can apply them to your shop in a way that works for you to keep your shop open. Times are changing quickly, so it’s helpful to review these often and see if your shop needs to make changes as the situation with COVID-19 changes.
cleaning the shop during the pandemic

Be Flexible

One of the best things your shop can do in a time of such uncertainty is to be flexible. Many businesses have also started having their offices cleaned more often, including during the workday. Having the shop cleaned more often cuts down on the number of germs on machines and other surfaces, so employees are less likely to get sick.

In addition to extra cleaning, you can take further measures to protect your employees. If you can get hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes, those are very helpful. Are you also able to provide masks for your employees while they’re at work? If you know you can provide your employees with clean, effective masks, it’s more likely they’ll use them at work.

Are you able to expand your sick time policies? If your employees are sick, you don’t want them coming to work, but they might also need time to care for someone in their home who’s sick. If you needed a doctor’s note in the past, consider waiving that for now. Most doctors are overwhelmed and unable to provide a note.

Planning for the present is complicated, but it’s also worth taking a look at the future. Once we start to reopen things again, it’s possible that the number of sick people will increase, and we’ll have to go back to staying at home. You will want to do your best to plan for the unknown by staying flexible and doing what is best for your employees and your shop.

Using Technology to Stay Connected

At any time, it’s important for shops to have accurate information. If they know how long it takes to run a job, they can bill customers correctly. If they know how long an employee was clocked in and working, they can run payroll correctly. Now that there’s a pandemic, it’s also important to limit the spread of germs. What could help your shop with all of these things? Phone apps for your ERP software.

Data Collection

E2 SHOP’s data collection app can help a shop tremendously with cutting down germs and getting accurate times. Employees can download this free app on their phones. Instead of everyone in the shop touching the same thing to clock in and out, employees can use their phones. This way, they keep to themselves, and that’s one less thing to sanitize.

To get more accurate times, employees can clock in once they’re at their station in the morning, instead of clocking in on one side of the shop and walking to the other before they start their work. The app includes a geo-fence, so employees are only able to clock in and out when they’re at the shop. In addition, employees are able to clock in and out quickly on different jobs they’re working on, giving your shop more accurate times for each step.
using mobile apps

Go Paperless

Another way to cut down on contaminants moving through the shop is by going paperless and lessening the need to use the computer. E2 SHOP’s apps allow employees to use their phones instead of job travelers, or other papers. With these apps, employees can see everything they need to from job travelers to images of parts, to any dashboards they need. No longer will a piece of paper or computer pick up germs from every person or surface in the shop. Instead, employees will keep to themselves and still be able to access everything they need to get their job done right.

The Cloud

Manufacturers have been hearing about cloud-based ERP software for a while. It can help when running a shop during the pandemic or at any time. It can make a much-needed difference in how your shop runs.

During this pandemic, the fewer people in the shop at one time, the better. One way that shop owners are making this happen is by adding shifts. For example, if a shop typically has one shift, owners are splitting the employees up and putting half of them on a second shift. All of the employees can still work with less risk. This can also be helpful in some states where they are reopening, but building capacity is capped at less than half of fire code.

Owners are used to being there when everyone is in the shop. Most owners don’t want to work two shifts every day, understandably. However, they also want to keep an eye on everything that’s happening in the shop. Essentially, they want to see what’s happening in the shop without being there. With E2 SHOP hosted, they can. This cloud-based ERP software allows owners to work from anywhere, just like they are in the shop. They can check on everything from the comfort of their homes.

Working from Home

The cloud can also be helpful for your employees. If you have office employees, they can easily work from home using the cloud. Getting them out of the shop also makes it safer for the people who need to come into work. If some of your employees work in the office and on the shop floor, perhaps they could work from home some days when they’re only doing office work and come in when they need to do work on the floor. Having the cloud gives your shop more options.

Keep up to Date

Unfortunately, there are contradicting sources out there currently. When you’re running your shop during the pandemic, you need accurate and up-to-date news. Your best bet is to go directly to the source.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has accurate information about the coronavirus from around the world. They have resources ranging from advice on all kinds of topics from answering questions to giving technical guidance.

In the US, there’s the CDC website. On this website, you can find out the facts about the coronavirus and how it’s impacting the US.

In addition, the US government also has a website dedicated to the coronavirus. This website also has a section specifically for small businesses, to help you find information that might be applicable to your shop.

The National Tooling and Machining Association (NTMA) and Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) have also teamed up to make a website called One Voice for Manufacturing. This website has information about the coronavirus that’s applicable to manufacturers in the US. They cite their sources, and those sources are often the CDC website or other trustworthy sites.

There is also a wide array of information about the coronavirus on another website run by the US government. This website concerns federal rules and regulations, but they have a section where you can look up your state or territory’s website. Since each state has its own approach, it’s best to see what that is directly from the source.

Looking to the Future and Implementing E2 SHOP

COVID-19 has changed the way we do everything. There isn’t an easy answer for how to handle these changes in your shop, but the guidelines above can help you plan ahead. This pandemic has changed our world, and we need to change with it.

If you don’t already have E2 SHOP hosted, it’s easier than ever to get it implemented. E2 SHOP is the leading cloud ERP system on the market today, including its apps for smartphones and tablets. Shoptech can also get shops up and running with the new software in as little as 90 days. Shoptech uses Zoom and virtual training to answer questions and get shops up and running.

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