Answers from the Experts: Advice for Restarting Operations After COVID-19



open-sign-(1).jpgWith manufacturing facilities around Michigan starting to reopen, there are still many lingering questions about how to ensure a successful and safe return while continuing to advance processes. To provide assistance during this time, The Center’s experts have answered manufacturers’ most pressing questions below.

Q: How can our leaders better motivate and guide team members during this challenging time?
A: Keeping employees motivated, engaged and optimistic during times such as these can be a daunting task for leaders to accomplish. The Center’s experts can provide your management team with leadership best practices to ensure aspects such as communication, engagement and loyalty are maintained through this challenging time and beyond.

Q: How can The Center help fast track our launch process while avoiding delays and costly mistakes?
A: Our experts can quickly assess your manufacturing capabilities and operations to provide guidance on quality planning, risk analysis and process controls, with a focus on maximizing efficiency and effectiveness. Learn more about how The Center can support your launch process here or email us at

Q: My company is looking to produce larger volumes/new products. How can The Center help?
A: The Center offers expert consulting to improve areas such as workstation layout, material flow and standard work instructions, all of which help to control variation in quality and cost. Additionally, our experts can identify and eliminate constraints within workflow and calculate the takt time required to produce a target volume of a given product, ensuring production is always on time.  

Further services to support new or increased production include:

Q: How can The Center assist manufacturers with their QMS through and after the COVID-19 pandemic?
A: The Center has Quality specialists who have been responsible for maintaining Quality Management Systems and certifications through downturns. Our experts are all certified Quality Systems Auditors. We can assist with the development of your quality system documentation to meet the demands of new markets, implementation of remote audits and reviews, and advise on corrective actions. Preparing for your next ISO 9001:2015 or AS9100D certification audit? The Center can help.

Q: Are there different factors automotive firms must consider when starting back up after shutdown?
A: The standards outlined in IATF 16949 require more than just a first piece inspection. As explained in Clause 8, companies must “define and implement the necessary actions to ensure product compliance with requirements after a planned or unplanned shutdown.” Now is the time to review plans for a restart. For additional assistance with quality assurance, The Center can help.

Q: How can The Center help my company get back on its feet quickly once the COVID-19 threat subsides?
A: The Center’s certified Project Managers can assist your company with managing the critical task of getting production re-started as soon as possible. Projects, by definition, are temporary and unique, much like the current COVID-19 situation, so the methods and techniques involved with project management can easily be applied to enable your company to adapt to the new environment. Companies taking a ‘wait-and-see’ approach will likely lose precious time, as waiting things out is not a plan. To discuss remote project management consulting options, contact The Center at

For additional answers about COVID-19 and more, visit The Center’s Ask the Experts page here. To learn more about how The Center can assist your company in its return, contact




Since 1991, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses to successfully compete and grow. Through personalized services designed to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at

Categories: Continuous Improvement, U.S. Manufacturing