Apr 29, 2020

Editorial Letter: Coronavirus Impact Overview

This editorial letter originally appeared in iWWD May 2020 issue as "Coronavirus Impact Overview"

Bob Crossen, senior managing editor

During this time of uncertainty, I hope that I can provide some information to help you all guide decisions throughout 2020. In late March to early April, we surveyed our audience about the impact of the coronavirus on the industry, including industrial users. Based on those survey results, I have a few takeaways after filtering the results to only industrial respondents.

First is that respondents overwhelmingly expect projects to only be delayed, rather than be terminated entirely. This is encouraging for the market’s future. In terms of those delays, 46% of industrial market respondents said they’ll be delayed three to four months. An additional 26% of industrial participants said they believe projects will be delayed five to eight months.

The second is preparedness, which was strikingly poor based on these survey results. 25% of respondents said they were not prepared at all for an event of this kind. I can only expect that this pandemic will result in internal changes for some facilities as it relates to risk and crisis management. If investment in technologies to overcome these emergencies have not been made, this would suggest a wakeup call to do so and become more resilient to future issues.

Lastly, three aspects of organizations most likely to be affected were in a dead heat with each other: staffing and scheduling, billings and revenue, and workflow. There’s no surprise here for me. In times of social isolation, workflow will always take a hit, and particularly in this industry where one’s physical presence often is necessary to maintain critical functions, staffing and scheduling would certainly be challenged as well. 

If you’d like to learn more about the survey, you can watch our webinar of the full results (including municipal responses) at bit.ly/wwdcovidwebinar or view the industrial respondent breakdown at bit.ly/iwwdcovidreport.

I wish you, your families and your friends all wellness during this time. If you would like to share any of your experiences with me, please send me an email at the address below.

About the author

Bob Crossen is senior managing editor for WWD and iWWD. Crossen can be reached at [email protected] or 847.954.7980.