PBJ How Oregon Works: Changes in the Manufacturing Industry Post-Covid-19 May Surprise You


Corporate attorney Steven Boender contributed an article to the manufacturing segment of Portland Business Journal’s 2020 How Oregon Works series titled “Changes in the manufacturing industry post-Covid-19 may surprise you,” published October 1, 2020. In the article, Boender offers some insights into how the manufacturing industry might adapt to pressures imposed on it by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Boender looks at whether the pandemic may lead manufacturers to reconsider and further their use of automation or, if wage deflation due to high unemployment reduces the cost of human labor, slow their switchover to automation.

He also questions whether manufacturers with global supply chains might rethink their use of “just-in-time” procurement – in which inputs to the manufacturing process are received from suppliers only as they are needed – as for many companies disruptions to those supply chains have hobbled their use of the practice.

Boender is guardedly optimistic about the pandemic’s effects on manufacturing, concluding: “In these times, it is a fool’s errand to predict what the world will look like in a week, so long-term predictions are the very definition of speculation. However, it seems unlikely that the pandemic will spur sweeping changes in the way manufacturers operate.”

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