Manufacturers can beat COVID-19 with the best comms tools

Manufacturers can beat COVID-19 with the best comms tools

  • 13 May,2020

Intense global competition…the challenge of automation…uncertain future trading tarrifs…

As if things weren’t tough enough for manufacturers. And then Coronavirus came along!

Now companies up and down the supply chain – SMEs and corporates – are setting aside those macro issues. They’re focusing instead on a here and now crisis that’s potentially existential.

Some manufacturers are making monumental decisions about whether to slow production down or even stop it altogether. Others are dreaming up new revenue streams or seeking new sources of materials as international deliveries get interrupted. Almost everyone is grappling with the strange new manufacturing world of home-based working.

Best decisions

There are of course no easy solutions to these major and unprecedented problems. But there are software tools to help manufacturing companies make tough decisions as fast and effectively as possible.

Microsoft has taken its technology a step further – developing the Crisis Communication app for Manufacturing by combining the proven strengths of Microsoft Power Apps, Microsoft Power Automate, Microsoft Teams, and SharePoint.

Critical at this time of crisis is manufacturing firms’ ability to communicate across the organisation. Whether staff are on site or at home, the app can be easily set up to connect everyone to sources of information they need. Designed for any work location, it can be used on the web, on a mobile device, or for convenient collaboration in Teams.

The app will also relieve managers worried about getting urgent information to out-of-sight staff. News updates can be ‘pushed’ from selected websites, or even from the company’s own intranet.

And vitally important for managers trying to keep tabs on remote staff movements and for planning workflow, employees can report their work status at any time via the app.


For people used to the hubbub and interactions of a manufacturing site, working at home can be particularly lonely. Chatbots can be a great way to establish two-way questions and responses. Power Virtual Agents Crisis Response Bot from Microsoft doesn’t need developers or data scientists for easy set up, and manufacturers can embed the chatbot on any website.

Firms can also customise the chatbot with their own Crisis FAQ bot. So common and urgent questions can be quickly answered, and managers get more time to focus on urgent priorities.

Firms can use both in-house information and content from any websites for including in the chatbot. They can even integrate commonly used staff services, so core employee information is all kept in one place.

Perhaps the biggest challenge for manufacturing companies right now is to make sure they survive COVID-19. Enabling departments and teams to communicate between multiple locations and stay up to date with information they need is imperative for achieving that.

Watch our recorded webinar: Managing Crisis Communications remotely to firstline workers and teams