By Amy Leary, Marketing Manager at eBOM.com
This year has seen one of the worst financial crises since 1929, the Wall Street Crash. The economy has seen a rough start to 2020, thanks to COVID-19 causing mass disruption for manufacturers globally and over 437,000 deaths within seven months. The electronics sector, much like all major industries, has been substantially affected by the virus in all divisions including events, manufacturing, supply chain and staffing. With COVID-19 grinding spending and production to a halt, official data shows that China’s economy suffered a sharp decline of 6.8% in the first quarter of 2020, according to Business Leader. However, from this date onwards, the global economy looks as if it is starting to bounce back – along with the electronics industry.
Workplace coming back together
Many organisations will have spent lockdown wisely to refurb facilities to ensure staff / customer safety and efficiency. Moving forward there will be more thought considered for social distancing within the workplace to ensure employees are safe and at respectable distances from colleagues. Strict measures are being introduced in all offices to prevent COVID-19 spreading. Changes such as spacing desks, installing accessible sanitisers and floor markings have already become highly popular within the workplace. Many large organisations such as supermarkets and manufacturing facilities have implemented social distancing measures such as installing graphics on floors displaying the ‘two meters’ distance rule. However, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has claimed many of the country’s smaller companies will not be viable unless the two metre social distancing rules are relaxed.
ECIA’s Global Industry Practices Committee (GIPC) issued a document to provide areas for consideration and best practices for how manufacturers, distributors and manufacturer’s representatives in the electronic component industry can safely and effectively adapt their selling organisations in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. One of the statements given were: to perform temperature checks the morning of any in-person meetings; any employee exhibiting signs of illness including fever, dry cough, or shortness of breath should not travel or join in-person meetings; frequent hand washing and sanitising both prior to and post all face-to-face meetings.
“The issues involved with restarting in-person business meetings are significant and changing daily,” noted Don Elario, ECIA Vice President of Industry Practices. “We want to stay close to these important interactions and assist the channel for selling components to get back to business safely. Our SME group is reviewing this topic again in July and will revise the document if needed based on how things are progressing.”Don Elario, ECIA Vice President of Industry Practices
Events starting to take place
Many events that were scheduled to take place this year were either postponed or cancelled due to COVID-19. Amongst others, these include the Electronic Component Show, Mobile World Congress and EDS. For many organisations, these events are a huge source of their marketing budgets and reliable income. However, things are looking up. With proximity facilities such as beauty parlours and hairdressers opening as of 4th July, we hope to expect many other hospitality and small events to open very soon.
Travel restrictions easing
Donald Trump issued an executive order blocking entry into the US from anyone who has been to China within the last 14 days at the end of January, and in mid-March banned travel from Europe which was at that time seeing a rapid increase in the number of cases. Similar to the US, Prime Minister Boris Johnson issued several travel restrictions which has affected many holiday and tourism organisations. However, many holiday organisations may be in luck as global travel restrictions are now beginning to ease. Johnson said the countries had agreed to a “gradual and strictly coordinated lifting” of the restrictions from July. That will not necessarily happen in one fell swoop, but the green light for a restart to international tourism appears to be there. The decision came during a video conference involving the EU’s 27 home affairs ministers, according to Forbes.
What the electronics industry can expect in 2021
With the understanding that COVID-19 will be under control by next year, it is believed the electronics industry can expect endless beaming events, more customer interaction and successful trading. Of course all events will have stricter health and safety regulations, but it is doubtful that will stop clients exhibiting and visiting at these gatherings.