On April 28, New Zealand will move to Level 3 after four weeks of lockdown at Level 4. This means restrictions around going to work will be relaxed somewhat, and the New Zealand Government will be doing all it can to stimulate our economy. Of all the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, kick-starting the economy of every country is one of the biggest we will face.

A move to Level 3 means ENI Engineering can restart its manufacturing facilities. We were voluntarily operating to Level 3 requirements prior to New Zealand’s lockdown, so can quickly become operational.

The manufacturing and design sectors will play a major role in revitalising the NZ's economy. Trade expert Charles Finny told MPs on the Epidemic Response Committee that New Zealand needed a plan to restart trade, including an immediate resumption of manufactured exports. These exports, worth around $9 billion a year, were at risk of losing global contracts if they were not allowed to restart quickly, he said.

That's why it's so important for Kiwi manufacturers and designers to be in a state of readiness, to hit the ground running once New Zealand moves to Level 2 and Level 1. We all have projects that are in the pipeline or underway; those of us in the manufacturing and design sector need to do our part and share ideas that we can proactively submit to ensure that these projects start at a running pace, not at a stroll.

Be prepared

As the lockdown eases, it's important for all businesses to prepare for it. Some sectors can go to work, as long as social distancing measures are maintained, so business owners and senior managers need to communicate this to their workers and have clear policies in place to enforce it.

Throughout the lockdown, manufacturing businesses would have kept in touch with their customers. Now's the time to let them know that your facility has re-opened, and get discussions started about projects that are in the pipeline, or that were underway before the lockdown began. Circumstances may have changed, with a need to re-scope. Meet with your customers via video conferencing technology and put plans in place to get those projects humming again as soon as possible.

It's also essential to stay in touch with your suppliers and contractors. When it comes to suppliers, you need to confirm that they, too, will be in a position to resume operation and provide you with the materials you'll need to re-start. If you outsource some of your manufacturing, you likewise need to be talking to your contract manufacturer and discuss their status.

Communication is key; it's essential that your staff, suppliers, customers and contractors are all aware of your plans and are in a position to work with you as everyone's businesses move to a Level 3 operational capacity.

An important factor to consider is the current unemployment levels in New Zealand. While some businesses have been able to maintain their staffing levels with their own resources, or by utilising the Government wage subsidy, many have had to close and lay off workers. These people will be seeking re-employment as the Covid-19 crisis eases, and they may well be considering a change in direction. Many manufacturing and design businesses offer apprenticeships; the post-virus era could well provide a goldmine of new talent that will revitalise the industry.

Helping to 'make it big' for the manufacturing sector

ENI, and our partner Stoddart Infrastructure, bring together our combined skills and knowledge around contract manufacturing, design and fabrication. In recent years, we've worked together on shelters and walkways, concept shelters facades, balustrades, false ceilings and the use of perforated screens for decoration.

Stoddart stainless steel plumbing products have earned a reputation for quality workmanship in the plumbing industry, and are widely used in commercial applications for hospitals, police stations, detention and correctional centres, commercial kitchens, laboratories, schools, parks and public amenities.

Hygiene standards will need to be enforced, with new regimes to ensure the Covid-19 virus doesn’t have a chance to spread. We’ve expanded our offerings and introduced hand sanitiser dispensing solutions and hand washing solutions. Even as we move from Level 3 to Level 2, there will be a new kind of ‘normal’ for Kiwi businesses, and it’s something we need to be prepared for and get used to – and staying healthy and hygienic is critical.

ENI has played a significant role in bringing the Christchurch CBD back to life after the earthquakes, not only with bus shelters and walkways, but several street projects that are intended to help with the City's rebuild and contribute to the facelift. Picnic benches and an ode to paradise ducks and kereru at the Margaret Mahy Playground, shade sails in New Brighton, and several installations at Evolution Square are some of the examples.

We're equally committed to revitalising NZ's economy in the wake of the Covid-19 era. We've been 'making it big' for over 25 years, and we're ready to hit the ground running to restart our manufacturing and design sectors.

Give us a call to discuss the projects you've got in the pipeline, and how we can help to get them humming.