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Manufacturing Playbook

This playbook provides guidance to manufacturing and industrial firms located in Greater Des Moines (DSM).

Sample: Midsize Manufacturing Facility

Manufacturing Risk Profile Frequency

Manufacturing Risk Profile Duration

Manufacturing Risk Profile Variety

The sample risk profile has been determined for a 100-employee manufacturing facility in DSM. The profile shows frequency, or how many people in a day; duration, or length of typical interaction; and variety, or the number of different people.*


Current Impact 

Current Impact

Future Trends 

Future Trends

Recommended Practices 

Recommended Practices

Community Partnership 

Community Partnerships

Additional Resources 

Additional Resources

Current Impacts

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit manufacturers in unexpected and unprecedented ways. For the first time in modern manufacturing history, the critical variables of demand, supply and workforce are all impacted globally at the same time. Some companies that provide and deliver vital goods like personal care, paper and pharmaceutical are struggling to meet demand driven by panic buying. Others are experiencing dramatic drops in demand and extreme pressure to cut operational costs. Every major manufacturer is now experiencing disruptions across their supply chains of parts and raw materials, driven by what may now become recurring volatility of supply from South Asia. According to a survey by Fictiv, 89% of manufacturing companies reported business impacts from COVID-19, with a large portion of that impact coming from supply chain problems. Despite the damage the pandemic has done to manufacturers, 97% of respondents said that COVID-19 has created new business opportunities, particularly pertaining to supply chain resilience and innovation.

Manufacturing Financial Impact

78% Anticipate
a Financial Impact

Manufacturing Operations Changes

53% Anticipate
a Change in Operations

Manufacturing Supply Chain

36% are Facing
Supply Chain Disruptions


Future Trends

Manufacturing Resilience

Supply Chain Resilience

Manufacturers must brace for disruptions to their supply chains. COVID-19 will impact supply sources and may slow down production once business volume returns. Manufacturers should consider a combination of centralized and decentralized supply options to adjust to external market conditions. Identifying alternative suppliers and robust communication and information sharing will accelerate this approach during COVID-19 and help prepare for disruptive events in the future.

Manufacturing Processes

Change in Workforce Capabilities and Processes

Due to increased use of technology and generation of analytics, employees will need to learn how to leverage data to drive decision making in their facilities. Organizations should consider creating decentralized teams to react quickly to insights generated by advanced analytics, and leaders should adjust incentives to privilege learning and promote greater flexibility.

Manufacturing Technology

Enhanced Data and Technology

Organizations feel a greater sense of urgency to leverage automation and use of technology to improve collaboration, materials movement and optimize production. Organizations who employ analytical platforms and cloud-based tools will unlock insights from data and increase speed in decision making.

Manufacturing Employee Safety

Increasing Employee Safety

Leverage tracking systems, heat mapping and monitoring devices to track the health and safety of workers. Companies, such as MakuSafe, of West Des Moines, monitor EHS data to mitigate workplace hazards and risk exposures for workers. Organizations should also seek ways to mitigate worker interaction by scheduled staggered shifts, deliberately routing human traffic in their faculties, creating physical barriers when possible and leveraging digital applications to conduct collaboration and planning offsite.

Recommended Practices

Health & Sanitation

  • Conduct a health screening with all employees before their shifts in accordance with the most up to date recommendations from the local public health department.
  • Encourage employees who feel sick to stay home. Employees who have had close contact with someone with COVID-19 should take precautions, including self-quarantine, in accordance with CDC guidance.
  • Train workers on how to properly put on, use/wear, take off and maintain protective clothing and equipment.
  • Allow workers to wear masks over their nose and mouth to prevent spread of the virus.
  • Increase frequency of cleaning, including in process cleaning and sanitizing by operators both periodically during their shifts and between shifts. Ensure managers and senior leadership audit process and results daily.
  • Find ways to minimize contact surfaces, such as leaving all doors open inside the facility.
  • Ensure employees are trained on good hygiene practices and promote them by having an adequate supply of cleaners, soap, hand sanitizer, paper towels and tissues on hand.

Manufacturing Health

Workspace & Process

  • Implement facility modifications by removing unnecessary items in work areas, removing lids, covers, doors and other items that require contact to operating. Limit the number of seats in meeting and break rooms. Increase ventilation rates and increase percentage of outdoor air in circulation.
  • Ensure social distancing at all times by staggering shift start times and breaks. Have entire shifts vacate building before the next shift starts. Limit staff to zones within the plant, rearrange workstations, eliminate alternating workstations, install protective barriers, use floor markings as guides, separate key operations to minimize their chance of exposure and review policies for all common areas, including meeting rooms, break rooms, cafeterias, locker rooms, smoking areas and anywhere else employees congregate.
  • Minimize people on site by restricting visitor and contractor access, transitioning as many staff as possible to remote work and having clear policies and HR practices that allow sick employees to stay home.
  • Identify required modifications based on the size of your facility and production process.

Manufacturing Workplaces


  • Continue virtual meetings, minimizing face-to-face meetings where possible.
  • Perform contact tracing to identify employees who may have been in close contact with someone who may have COVID-19 and place those employees on company-issued quarantine.
  • Share preventative measures individuals can take to protect themselves from COVID-19 based on updated guidelines.
  • Advise all stakeholders if a positive case is reported.
  • Consider creating health and sanitization rating scales for each department that are widely communicated to ensure accountability.
  • Frequently communicate with teammates through emails, text or an employer app.

Recommended Practices include preparedness checklist items developed by the Iowa State Center for Industrial Research and Service which can be found here.

Manufacturing Communication

Community Partnerships

Pella Logo

Producing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Manufacturers offer unique capabilities in being able to quickly produce necessary equipment to protect frontline workers. Organizations who have created and donated PPE in DSM include Area 515, BDI Signs, Beeline and Blue, Corteva Agriscience, John Deere, Pella Corporation, Weiler, Nationwide, NCMIC and DMACC, among others.

John Deere Logo

Partnering with Other Manufacturers to Support Essential

John Deere launched an Innovation Center and welcomes other manufacturers to use their blueprints, designs and templates in manufacturing products in their facilities for frontline workers and protecting their employees. Consider offering tools and resources for other manufacturers or partnering with other like-minded organizations.

MidAmerican Logo

Supporting Nonprofits

Consider supporting local nonprofits on the frontlines of COVID-19 and those impacted by the virus. In early April 2020, MidAmerican Energy donated $500,000 to over 30 local organizations including food banks, community foundations and United Way agencies.

Additional Resources

Recommended Playbooks

The business function playbooks include takeaways that are specific to professional functions that could be present in any business, regardless of industry.

Finance Button

Human Resources
HR Button

Information Technology
IT Button

Legal Button

Operations Button

Sales and Marketing
Sales and Marketing Button

*We note that these assessments are qualitative and based on expert-led judgment (Johns Hopkins, 2020). Currently, there are not enough detailed data available to enable quantitative risk stratification. Businesses will need to make decisions about re-initiating business activities before there are validated data to know the precise levels of risk.

Legal Disclaimer

The Greater Des Moines Partnership's DSM Forward playbook is not intended to constitute legal advice or provide specific direction. The preparation of a business continuity or preparations plan should be undertaken with the advice and direction of appropriate specialists and personnel, in consideration of the unique circumstances impacting each business. Third-party websites or material linked to or referenced in DSM Forward are for informational purposes only and do not constitute a recommendation of The Partnership of that material or its authors.

Last updated: 8/17/2020