To protect operator health, factories are implementing invasive sanitation and social distancing measures.
Operator health is rightly the most important concern. But there is no precedent for so much change all at once: Factories are upending years of deliberate process design, even as operator churn is high and demand is swinging wildly.
This will inevitably destabilize productivity and quality.
In normal times, the factory would rush engineers and kaizen teams to the line to stabilize a line. But in a time of social distancing, physical proximity to the line is a new risk factor.
How do you stabilize your processes when you can’t send additional people to the lines?