10 ways manufacturers can add COVID-19 support preparedness

Ask these 10 questions to improve support preparedness for manufacturers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

By Matt Ruth May 3, 2020

It’s a tense time for all of us as COVID-19 changes how we work, socialize, travel, exercise and shop. Communications with neighbors (at a distance), friends and colleagues by phone and video conferencing has revealed everyone’s willingness to help one another, as best we can, given the circumstances. Businesses need to do the same. 

Priority for a control systems integration company has been to support customers in any way possibleThese are tough times as many balance employee health and safety. Some on the “essential” list must expand operations with a reduced staff.  

10 tips for preparedness 

Contact with customers resulted in a list of 10 questions to ask to help prepare for current and future disruptions. 

  1. Do you have a plan for restricted access/accessibility to your plant?
  2. Who decides who can works remotely and who is essential to on-site operations?
  3. Who has the authority to approve partners for engineering and remote support?
  4. What is the structure if partners, vendors or suppliers need remote access to your systems?
  5. Do you have virtual private network (VPN) for more secure remote access? 
  6. Have you setup credentials and confirmed access for those who’ll need it? 
  7. Are there any devices or processes that you can’t access remotely?
  8. Do you have the knowledge bandwidth to support these on-site and what is the back up? 
  9. Do you have quick access to contact info to all your original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), suppliers and partners in the event you need to request support? 
  10. Do you have a backup for the above in the event they don’t have a structure to support an emergency?

These questions set structure and game plan to approach when in an emergency situation. Knowing how to handle these areas will help in addressing the “line down” crisis amplified for essential suppliers or during normal production as part of a just-in-time supply chain. 

Reaching out to partners is one component of preparedness that will help see us through this time of crisis. We will get through this if we work together. 

Matt Ruth is president of Avanceon, a CFE Media content partner. This was originally published on the Avanceon blog and edited for use here by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media and Technology, mhoske@cfemedia.com. 

KEYWORDSEmergency preparedness, COVID-19, remote operations 

Remote support and backups 

Access credentials, permissions, and partners 

Emergency contacts and alternate suppliers. 


Working with a system integrator could improve the answers to these 10 questions. 

Learn more about Avanceon in the Global System Integrator Database. 

Original content can be found at Control Engineering.

Author Bio: Matt Ruth is president of Avanceon.