5 insights for manufacturers from our Peak Pulse Survey

September 29, 2020 Casey Nighbor

This year is turning out to be a challenging one for all businesses and peak is no exception.

Because of COVID-19, the 2020 peak season is shaping up to be much different than it’s ever been. Businesses are having to shift to meet changing consumer demands, while ensuring the safety of their staff.

As leading providers in the staffing space, we conducted a study to get an understanding of current pressures and how businesses are navigating peak this year.

For manufacturers, peak season 2020 will most likely turn out to be an interesting one. Here are 5 insights for manufacturers from our survey.

1.Manufacturers expect continued changes in product demand

It’s no surprise that manufacturers have reported large changes in demand during COVID-19 and expect those changes to last through peak season. 1 in 2 respondents reported an uptick in demand for non-essential products in Q3 compared to Q2. Most of those who have experienced an uptick in demand expect demand to either increase or stay the same through peak.

2.Peak season plays a large role in company’s success

While peak has always been thought of as important, our survey results proved just how significant peak season is to the success of many businesses. Our survey showed that 40% of respondents say peak season makes or breaks their company’s annual goals. Large changes in consumer demand during this year’s peak season could have a dramatic impact on company’s bottom line after an already challenging year.

3. Staffing cutbacks impacted operations

Many operations were forced to cut back on staff due to the pandemic. While our survey showed that many businesses are hiring staff back, we asked which departments suffered the most cutbacks.

We asked those which positions were eliminated because of the pandemic. Here is a breakdown of those roles:

  • 40% Assemblers
  • 33% Material handlers
  • 31% Shipping & receiving workers
  • 25% Fabricators
  • 22% Forklift drivers
  • 22% Pick/pack workers
  • 13% Returns/reverse logistics workers

Even though companies are looking to hire back these roles, our survey also showed that hiring has become increasingly challenging. 

4. Hiring is becoming even more difficult

Hiring for peak season is often tough because of the sheer number of extra people needed to ramp up. But this season will most likely prove even more demanding than previous seasons. According to our survey, 61% of employers are having a hard time finding workers despite the high unemployment rate. The biggest obstacles to filling roles have been workers wanting to extend unemployment benefits, high volumes of unqualified applicants, a high volume of candidates not showing up to interviews and a general fear of going back to work.

5. Evaluating for improvement

Manufacturers were asked how they begin preparing for peak. More than half stated they evaluate their processes or analyze their budget and costs. Others said they hire contingent workers, heighten safety protocols or hire full-time seasonal workers.

If you are struggling to find peak workers, consider partnering with a trusted staffing partner like Staff Management | SMX. We can help you find qualified peak workers so your operation continues to run smoothly before, during and after peak.

About the Author

About Casey: Content marketing manager, frequently reading, aspiring chef, failed plant mom, connoisseur of tater tots, beauty products and airplane food.

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