Why outbreak management software is essential to keep large manufacturing sites up and running during COVID-19.

By: Chris Hawker, CEO of OM Systems, LLC.

The manufacturing industry is the engine that drives the economy. But the industry has faced unique challenges during COVID-19, which have highlighted issues with employee rosters, absenteeism, and skilled worker replacement. Those issues are critically important to manufacturing organizations because they have little to no tolerance for some roles to go unfilled.

With new vaccines on their way to the public, many have begun to believe that COVID-19 is over. But that’s just not the case, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who recently said that even with the vaccine, everyone needs to keep taking necessary precautions, like mask-wearing and social distancing, to protect themselves through the majority of 2021.

Companies can’t wait for a positive novel coronavirus test to be reported or for all their employees to be vaccinated to prevent the disease’s spread within their organization.

That’s why good outbreak management software is essential to keep manufacturing sites up and running during COVID-19.

Save time and money

Example of user interface of outbreak management system shows a dashboard of centralized cases, health statuses, testing, and quarantines.
Example of user interface of outbreak management system shows a dashboard of centralized cases, health statuses, testing, and quarantines.

In the fight against COVID-19, contact tracing needs to be fast. Companies can’t be slowed down by cross-referencing spreadsheets, making multiple phone calls, and communicating with managers via group texting to see who is sick or coming in for their shift.

Good outbreak management software takes the guesswork out of knowing, “Who is staying home?” and “Who’s coming back?” It helps companies follow through with the necessary next steps to get ahead of COVID-19 to stop the spread within their environment. This software can quickly alert managers to potential hot spots in their manufacturing facilities and inform employees of potential exposure.

Manufacturing companies need to be ahead of any COVID-19 outbreak. One or two positive cases can quickly grow to 64 or 128. Not many manufacturing organizations can withstand the loss of hundreds of people and continue to run effectively. By proactively monitoring their organization, outbreak management software can help manufacturing companies save time and avoid unnecessary shutdowns.

Identify who can step in

Manufacturing organizations run lean. Very lean. They have a very high IQ regarding resource management, personnel, and staffing. This approach works when it works. But when you have something outside the norm happen, like COVID-19, it puts to the test some of that personnel forecasting.

Good outbreak management software can help manufacturing organizations figure out how many people possess specific skills or are cross-trained to do another job by having that information already inputted into the system. Manufacturing employees are highly skilled and have particular skill sets, oftentimes with certifications to perform specific duties. So, a company may only have one or a handful of folks that can do a specific job.

Knowing the employees’ skill sets and who you can fill which roles, outbreak management software allows companies to quickly shift gears when a positive case is reported and ensure that shifts can continue to operate safely and securely.

Open communication and compliance

In the fight against COVID-19, you can’t forget the people aspect. Outbreak management software is helping companies keep the lines of communication open with employees.

This software gives organizations the option to collect daily information in a centralized or decentralized manner and adheres to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) COVID-19 guidelines. In the centralized model, companies can choose to have staff take incoming worker temperatures and conduct health screenings, easily inputting that data into the system. Workers can self-report through an app on their mobile devices in the decentralized model.

This collaboration facilitates an outbreak management software’s ability to spot potential clusters and stop the further spread by proactively engaging employees in accordance with their proactive COVID-19 protocols.

The software can also direct Human Resources staff to check on and support the employees who are under quarantine. People forget how being under quarantine for 10 to 14 days can be very disconnecting. It’s crucial to follow up with those people who have been exposed and reminding them that by staying home, they are taking care of the health of their families, their coworkers, and their coworkers’ families.

Overall, the industry has done an outstanding job adopting measures to combat COVID-19. They’ve gotten very creative, not only with temperature checks and daily screenings but also with installing plexiglass barriers, staggering shifts, and implementing thermal imaging cameras at their facilities.

In the end, we’re making great strides in the fight against COVID-19, but we can’t let our guard down just yet. That’s why outbreak management software is essential to keep manufacturing sites up and running during COVID-19. It comes down to keeping real people and real families safe.

christopher hawker om systems
Christopher Hawker

Chris is a serial entrepreneur, inventor and professional speaker. Chris is the co-founder of OM Systems, LLC, a pioneer in COVID-19 contact tracing for businesses looking to streamline protocols that ensure compliance with rapidly changing regulations and promotes employee safety through its flagship product, Outbreak Management System (“OM System”), an easy-to-use health status intake, analysis, and reporting outbreak management software. The organization is a collaboration of serial tech entrepreneurs, software developers, and healthcare experts whose vision is to create a safe world, unconstrained by disease, by creating solutions to help all people work and live with confidence, good health, and a newfound desire to stand together.