A new survey of 755 North American manufacturing companies found that the COVID-19 outbreak in Asia has started to impact manufacturing supply chains in the Western hemisphere. The survey, conducted by Thomas, a marketing and data platform for the manufacturing industry, found 60% of North American companies it surveyed are affected in some way by China’s disrupted supply chains and limited production output.
“Ultimately, the coronavirus outbreak will cause a slowdown, especially for the automotive and tech sectors,” said Thomas CEO Tony Uphoff.
Uphoff recommends that businesses diversify their supply chains to meet demands and weather the slowdowns caused by the virus.
Many of the manufacturers surveyed have done just that, with 28% having already started to look for alternative suppliers in the U.S., India, and Mexico. Meanwhile, another 27 percent reported no change in demand.
While manufacturing appears to be slowing because of the virus, other industries are seeing an uptick. Thomas has tracked a 1,000% month-over-month increase in sourcing activity related to hazmat suits, masks, and respirators, and 15% of the companies surveyed reported an increase in demand for materials like electronic components, metal, and plastic. One respondent, an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) based in Washington, said: “We’ve long aimed to be a domestic alternative to Chinese manufacturers … If anything, this just further asserts that we are on the right path.”