3 Benefits of IPC Training and Certification during the COVID-19 Crisis
In the early months of the pandemic, China’s factories were shut down, and this caused a domino effect on the whole electronics manufacturing industry. The supply chain was the primary aspect that took the brunt force of that effect.
In this article, we’ll be looking at the reasons why getting virtual IPC training and an IPC certification online makes a lot of sense during the COVID-19 pandemic, but first, let’s examine the impact of the Coronavirus crisis on the tech industry in general.
According to this Institute for Supply Management (ISM) follow up survey released on July 20, 2020, 76 % of the respondents reported reducing their revenue targets by an average of 23 %. The same study reveals that a staggering 81 % of respondents reported decreased demand for their products by an average of 15 %.
ESM companies also suffered delays in shipping. Even if there were stocks available, there was no way to reach its destination because of the travel restrictions, and so, new product launches were pushed back to later dates.
Though production resumed, it was never the same. According to the ISM survey mentioned earlier, domestic manufacturing is operating close to 3 quarters of its standard capacity, at 74% while Chinese production is at 76 % and European output at 64 %. This may continue to the last quarter of the year.
There was also a significant headcount reduction upon resumption of manufacturing in a limited capacity. Staffing levels in China had recovered to only 88 % of its regular workforce. 47 % of the respondents to the ISM survey also reported that their companies would delay hiring in the last quarter of this year.
How Electronics Manufacturers are Coping with the Crisis
Back in March, IPC surveyed its members to understand the impact of the pandemic on electronics manufacturers. 55 % of the respondents of the survey are looking for alternative sources for components and materials, as their prices increased. According to a Supplyframe Electronics Sourcing Report back in May, 37 % of the surveyed electronics industry leaders said their component costs have increased.
54 % of the respondents of the same Supplyframe survey also reported restricting business travel, while 30 % of IPC members encouraged or mandated telecommuting to maintain a healthy workforce. Moreover, 31 % of respondents said that they’d been onboarding new suppliers under more relaxed vendor qualification processes to quicken access to the essential inventory.
Companies have also updated their manufacturing operations to comply with CDC and WHO guidelines like the following:
- Work From Home Policies for non-manufacturing personnel like sales, finance, marketing, and admin staff
- Strict sanitation protocols for manufacturing employees like requiring face masks, frequent handwashing, and social distancing
- With the stringent guidelines mandated by the CDC and the World Health Organization, changes also had to be made to the facilities to allow manufacturing personnel to work six feet apart from one another.
The Benefits of Training and Certifying Employees
The timeless benefits of training and certifying employees remain the same – consistent products, improved cross channel communications, and cost reduction. This is the core value of IPC online training. What this means for you as an ESM organization is that the training and certification provide skills and knowledge needed to grow your business and the electronics industry in general.
Here are other good reasons why you must get your employees IPC trained, and certified during the COVID-19 pandemic:
1. Higher demand for PCB
Demand for consumer electronics had increased ever since more people were ordered by their respective governments to stay at home as much as possible. The production of entertainment electronics, specifically gaming consoles Nintendo switch skyrocketed to solve the need to pass time by those cooped up in their homes.
Moreover, the inability of people to meet physically arises the need to be connected digitally. Wearable electronics like smartwatches are sought after for tracking progress in-home workouts such as walking and running on the treadmill. Home offices required computers, laptops, monitors, and network devices. And because there’s more time for people to shop online, many are purchasing electronics that suit their lifestyles.
Production, assembly, and integration of all the in-demand remote tech will likely increase in the coming months as more people opt to work from home. These techs, without a doubt, will require high-quality soldering skills and electronic inspection, which an IPC online training can provide to meet this increasing demand.
2. Government Support/Funding Of Manufacturing and Research
The US government has bolstered its support for the electronics manufacturing industry during the pandemic. Just recently, US congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which aims to strengthen US semiconductor manufacturing in research, by establishing federal grant programs and federal investments in semiconductor research.
The NDAA also includes IPC-backed measures to maintain a stable and robust supply chain by allowing the private sector to provide a rising percentage of printed circuit boards and assemblies to the US defense systems.
3. More Convenient IPC Training and Certification
Aside from online training and online proctored exams, the guidelines for obtaining and renewing IPC certifications have been updated to better suit the times we live in. IPC training centers such as Blackfox offers virtual IPC training for CIS, CSE, and CIT certifications.
The value of keeping employees certified never changes. It has become even more critical during this crisis. EMS workers need to stay current with industry standards and never fall behind, and that is all possible now that it’s more convenient to get an IPC certification online. This ensures investment in the future and the trends of the electronics manufacturing industry. And as IPC president and CEO states, “There is continued value in training, education, and the certification of qualified workers.”
IPC certification and training need to be an ongoing process even during the COVID-19 pandemic because documents and standards will continue to get updated or revised with the times regardless of the crisis the world is facing. Even more so now that there is a great need for delivering high-quality products, especially to the medical industry, to help them in their fight against Coronavirus.