When South Africa entered full lockdown, many industries were forced to shut their doors. Yet rather than remain closed, these industries adapted their offerings. We saw clothing manufacturers turn to the manufacture of personal protective equipment, and alcohol producers branch out into cleaning products and sanitizers. This required an increased staff complement in many instances, until production levelled off. In addition, essential services saw rapidly increased demand and resultant increased workforce requirements.
During the phased exit from lockdown, not all staff may return to work at once. In particular, the manufacturing sector needs to gear up slowly toward full production and may be delayed by the need to wait for imported materials to arrive. The mining sector is currently working its way up towards full production in order to stimulate economic activity.
There is also the likelihood of continued rolling lockdowns, possibly for the next several years, which means that workforces will need to be able to scale up and down accordingly. The need for essential services such as food manufacturing and distribution, medical services, pharmaceuticals and personal protective equipment will remain for the foreseeable future. However, the level of demand may fluctuate depending on the number of Covid-19 cases we experience and other factors relating to lockdown. A flexible workforce is the key to surviving and thriving in the current climate.
Skill, experience and scalability
Temporary Employment Services (TES) providers offer the ideal solution to help businesses during these challenging times. By using the services of a TES provider, workforces can be scaled on demand in an agile way to meet changing demand. For example, in the manufacturing sector, a small start-up workforce can be put into place, and as manufacturing reaches higher levels of production, more workers can be brought in as needed. Should an employee test positive for Covid-19 and a workforce needs to be quarantined, a TES provider can provide a replacement workforce quickly to minimize disruption.
TES providers also take care of the entire administrative aspect of employment, from vetting and background checks to ensuring that candidates have the necessary skills to perform a job. This allows businesses to focus on their strategy and keeping pace with change, while their workforce is taken care of. For workers, TES can ensure continuity of income, as candidates can be placed where there is work available at the time.
Ensuring business continuity
Operational planning is essential to help businesses anticipate future changes and be flexible enough to adapt. Managing the workforce more effectively is key. The reality is that we do not know what the future looks like at this stage, and it is likely that we will see spikes and dips in supply and demand as the situation changes. Surviving the lockdown is only part of the problem, and it is essential to have a plan in place for when higher levels of economic activity resume. Engaging with a TES provider now can place businesses in a solid position to adapt and ensure they have the flexible, scalable workforce they need to ensure business continuity.