It goes without saying that COVID-19 has produced system-wide disruption that is confronting businesses of all sizes with the most formidable challenges they have ever faced. But this disruption is also presenting businesses with powerful opportunities for innovation, and many are rising to the challenge by partnering with agile supply partners to repurpose their production lines. Whether it’s perfumers pivoting to hand sanitizer, electronics firms producing surgical face masks, automotive manufacturers supplying ventilators, or even restaurants that have entered the grocery business, companies are reinventing their supply chains to keep their businesses up and running.

Pivot International is helping companies worldwide surmount disruption and rapidly adapt to changing demand curves to fortify their business and bring new products to market. With nearly a half a century of product development expertise that spans twelve industries and manufacturing capability across three continents, Pivot delivers its partners the supply chain solutions and agility needed for surviving the crisis, driving rapid adaptation, and seizing opportunities for innovation.

Repurposing production not only helps companies cope with crisis and protect their workforce, it also helps keep production lines humming during low demand, stem revenue loss, and generate positive press. But how viable is this approach for your business? To answer that question, there are several considerations that need to be addressed.

Tiers of Complexity

Generally speaking, the more complex a product, the more difficult and time consuming it will be to repurpose production to manufacture it. For the sake of simplicity, we can identify three tiers of complexity: basic, standard, and specialty. Basic- and many standard-tier products, especially of the consumer variety, pose relatively few hurdles. Specialty-tier products, however, whether consumer, industrial or medical, require regulatory oversight and industry certifications, as well as a production partner with extensive experience and a proven track record. For this reason, 3rd-tier repurposing represents an advanced strategic challenge that generally only enterprise or well-capitalized startups can reasonably consider undertaking.

The Supply Chain Challenge

Whatever tier of repurposing your company may be looking to capitalize on, finding a proven partner with industry certifications and the agility to help your business navigate unpredictable spikes or declines in demand is only half the battle. With supply chain disruption and component shortages running rampant, you’ll also need a partner with an established global sourcing network and contingency plans for alternate procurement. A partner capable of successfully taking on third-tier repurposing challenges will, by definition, bring formalized processes and strategies to the table for assessing, mapping, managing, and mitigating risk in real-time.  

The Need for Speed

To capitalize on rapidly changing demand curves in a time of unprecedented crisis, exceptional levels of speed, agility, and cross-functional coordination are required for reducing lead times. If a company has already assembled a disruption-resistant, rapid-response team, they will be far better positioned to quickly identify and act on emerging opportunities and to innovate solutions to challenges as they arise.  

Regardless of whether such a team has been assembled, the process for repurposing production should involve the following five steps: 1) A comprehensive survey of existing challenges and resources. 2) Identification of solutions and success criteria, including procurement needs and vetting of partners. 3) Collaborative product design and supply chain configuration. 4) Rapid prototyping and expedited product development. 5) Accelerated, flexible production. 

Innovating in a time of crisis isn’t easy, but with the right partner, opportunities can be seized for protecting your business and charting a clear course toward a new future.

If your company is seeking opportunities to repurpose and innovate in a time of challenge, Pivot is a trusted partner. With company-owned manufacturing facilities, extensive investment in supply chain digitization, and mature risk-management processes and strategies, we have the resources and experience to help your business successfully navigate disruption. We are Essential and Critical Suppliers with IEC (60601-1) and ISO certification (9001:2015, 13485:2016, and ISO 80079-34), FDA registration, UL listing, and CSA approval. Contact us today for a free consultation. We’re here to help.