Since the worldwide epidemic of the Covid-19 virus began, the world as we knew it has completely changed. The everyday normal has turned into what we never thought was possible. The workforce dynamic has completely changed as the unemployment rate continues to increase. Essential workers in various industries are in high demand, all while working from home is now more common. The full impact of this virus has yet to be seen on the economy, society, environment, and more. However, as it has touched all parts of the world, we have already started to see the first consequences emerge.
As trade magazines, the team at EPP and EPP Europe wanted to see how gravely this has affected the electronics industry so far, as well as what could be foreseen in the future. A survey has been conducted over a 2-week period where readers were asked about the effects the Covid-19 virus has had, including the impacts on the industry and their supplies, tradeshow and events, as well as the work environment.
Impacts on electronics
It is not a question whether or not the electronics manufacturing industry has been affected by the virus, but to what extent? As 47,1 % thought that the industry has been very affected by the virus, only 41,2 % believed the industry to be mildly affected. Surprisingly, the majority (52,9 %) thought that there would only be mild consequences due to the virus. However, 35.3 % believed there would be major consequences, to the point where the industry would never be the same.
The timeframe of this virus is also on everyone’s mind. How long will quarantine or social distancing last? When will everyday life start to get back to normal? When will production be back on regular schedule? Although no one can definitely put a final date to any of these questions, the survey suggested that this virus will continue to impact the industry for the rest of the year (43,1 %). 35,3 % believed that the industry will be impacted for the next 6 months, and only 9,8 % believed it will be impacted for next 2–3 months.
The impact on supply and demand is also an important topic, as certain products are in high demand which has caused a strain on the electronic manufacturing industry. Although a majority chose to not answer this question, 47,1 % admitted on having a 1 to 4 week supply delay and 9,8 % had a 2 to 5 months delay.
Impacts on social events
Tradeshows and events have also been greatly impacted, as staying in quarantine and social distancing have taken place. Many tradeshows have cancelled completely and decided to have their next event the following year, while others have postponed to this summer or fall. The majority of respondents of the survey (60,8 %) had the same opinion, that for the remainder of the year, all industry events will continue to be either cancelled or postponed. Some (29,4 %) did believe however that all events this year will be cancelled.
Another great change has been the impact this has had on the job market. It is not uncommon for employees to have had their hours reduced or in worst case to have been laid off until the worst of this virus has passed. Although many companies were not altogether prepared for such drastic measures, many employees however have been obligated to work from home. The majority have responded that they are only partially working from home (78,4 %), as their job responsibilities do not allow them to work from home full time. 3,9 % answered that all employees were currently working from home, while 7,8 % answered that their job did not permit them to work from home at all.
The virus outbreak and the impact it has had so far has been unexpected. Despite the world being in a state of emergency, many are already seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Industries have been able to quickly replace their traditional structures for more creative business models. Although it is improbable that all will go back to normal, a new future will emerge in its place. As one, we will all be able to come out on the other side, stronger together. Now is the time to share ideas and thoughts, collaborate on projects, and communicate together for a better tomorrow. (Charlene Hesse)