Critical Success Factors for Manufacturing Industries to Mitigate the Impact of COVID-19.

AuthorDas, Debashree


An invisible enemy, COVID-19 has spread worldwide with a growing adverse impact on the global economy (Carlsson-Szlezak et al., 2020). Almost all nations halted their production activities by imposing a global lockdown to mitigate the risk of Coronavirus's spread (Lancet, 2020; Ivanov, 2020). It has the potential to collapse all sectors of the economy, and the manufacturing industry is no exception. The manufacturing industry can be severely affected due to the difficulties in importing raw materials, supply chain disruptions, labor migration, and reduced market demand (International Labor Organization, 2020; McKinsey and Company, 2020). Governments across the globe have extended the lockdown period to save lives; however, it has generated a new problem to save the economy from slipping into recession (Deloitte, 2020). This life versus livelihood debate has put policymakers in a fix and creates an urgent need to develop a policy framework that can be implemented for the sector's economic sustainability.

From both economic and social point of view, the manufacturing industry is one of the most critical sectors that have been severely affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this study, the textile sector (a highly labor dependent segment under the manufacturing industry) is considered as the unit of analysis. From the manufacture of raw material (fiber) to the final product (fabric), various activities are executed in the textile sector; the workers associated with this sector are also exposed to a wide variety of toxic substances. Apart from the textile manufacturing process, which is vast and highly hazardous for the workers' health, the organizational structure is also quite dreadful. The workers work in a group in different departments of a mill with inadequate precautionary measures are exposed to vapors of various volatile chemicals, the superheated steam, boiler's heat, fragments of fiber, and macroparticles of dyes; all make the workers engaged in the textile sector prone to severe lungs, kidney and heart-related diseases. The contagious spread of the COVID-19 virus via physical contact or aerosol transmission has further intensified these workers' physical distress. Respiratory deterioration, obstructive pneumonia, pleural or pericardial effusion, pulmonary embolism, and heart failure are the utmost symptoms of COVID-19 (Al-Shamsi et al., 2020, Li et al., 2020). The mortality rate of COVID-19 infected patients with a history of lung, kidney, and heart ailments is also high. Thus, the onset of COVID-19 has not only affected the health and socioeconomics of the world society up to a large extent (Haleem et al., 2020) but has also led to a severe impact on the textile sector. Several other logistical challenges faced by this labor-intensive sector regarding the procurement of raw materials that are mostly import-driven, massive supply chain disruptions, and severe demand shocks have created irreparable damage. In the light of this, there is a need to investigate the critical success factors that can help policymakers and higher management to devise strategies to achieve the sustainability and boost the sector. The study identifies critical factors that can be most efficient in mitigating the risk and evaluates the interrelation between the factors which enable the decision-makers to prioritize and integrate these factors into their policy framework. The following research objectives are evaluated:

* To assess the textile sector's existing functioning and dynamics and overall functioning of the manufacturing industry as a whole.

* To identify critical success factors that could help mitigate the risk of spread of Coronavirus, ensure the economic sustainability of the manufacturing industry, and safeguard social wellbeing.

To answer above listed research questions, an extensive literature review has been undertaken to find the critical success factors which can help stimulate the manufacturing industry. Further, Interpretive Structural Modelling (ISM)-MICMAC analysis has been used to find the interdependencies between these factors and compute the personalized weights of these factors that can enable the policymakers to prioritize among the critical success factors suggested in our study (Das et al., 2020; Mangla et al., 2018).

Literature Review

Approximately 70% of overall textile manufacturing workers engaged in spinning, dyeing, and finishing departments are profoundly affected due to curbs imposed during the lockdown period. Besides, transportation and shops being closed, even the distributors and consumers were severely affected. Lack of protective equipment, insufficient ventilation, inadequate working procedure, and ineffective environmental control systems are frequent causes of new cases of occupational contact infections for textile workers (Gallagher et al, 2012).

Lack of protective equipment, insufficient ventilation, inadequate working procedure, and ineffective environmental control systems are frequent causes of new cases of occupational contact infections for textile workers

All textile industries the worldwide have halted operations in the lockdown period, affecting the export of yarn, fabric, and other raw materials (Pratheeesh & Arumugasamy, 2020). The magnitude of the economy's downturn will depend on the duration of the lockdown period and the severity of the health crisis. As a preliminary precaution against the physical contact or aerosol transmission of the virus, it is suggested that it be curbed through social distancing and effective use of personal protective equipment (Cook, 2020). However, there is an urgent need to understand the industry-specific critical success factors that can help to mitigate the risk of further spread of the virus among textile clusters and other allied sectors, which have been captured in our study through a detailed methodology as presented in the next section.


The research methodology framework has been illustrated in Fig. 1 that summarizes the structure of our study.

In the initial stages, the research team conducted several brainstorming sessions with the textile sector experts, qualitative surveys, and an extensive literature review. A total of 25 interactions were conducted using video conferencing. The sample included two senior managers, three assistant managers, five executives, three academicians, four research professionals of textile technology, and eight shop floor workers from Indian textile firms. The qualitative data on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is also collected through online resources such as newspapers, social media, webinars, blogs, and articles. After the data collection process, a qualitative analysis was carried out using Excel and NVIVO-11. The ten critical success factors are proposed after considering the literature review, content analysis, and expert opinions. Finally, ISM-MICMAC analysis is carried out for the ranking and interrelationship of proposed critical success factors from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Content Analysis

The interviews and qualitative data were typed for coding. The text in Hindi language was translated into English using trained translators. First, descriptive coding was undertaken to identify significant themes (Miles et al., 2014). The word cloud of essential themes is generated using NVIVO-11, and that is presented in Fig. 2.

Fig. 2 shows that health care management, hygiene factor, coordination, environmental issues, digitization, innovation, medical audit, and a pandemic are essential themes emerged from the qualitative data. In the word cloud analysis, the larger the word's size, the higher are the frequency in qualitative data.

Critical Success Factors

Using the literature review, expert opinions, and content analysis of the manufacturing sector, below mentioned critical success factors are proposed for the manufacturing industry to come out from the impact of the pandemic.

CSF 1 Personnel Hygiene Awareness: In the textile sector, workers work under boiling and humid working condition, which is physically very draining. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has further added to the misery of the workers. Therefore, there is an urgent need to promote awareness among the workers to maintain optimal social distancing at work, adoption of compulsory masking policy, and ensure compliance to other hygiene standards as stated by the government to mitigate the spillover effect of the virus among the workers (World Health Organization, 2020(a); Bedford et al., 2020).

Several other guidelines that must be followed to evade the deadly effect of the COVID-19 are, for example, periodic temperature monitoring of the employees, use of alcohol-based sanitizers to disinfect every work station and...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT