30 April 2020

Improve efficiency in your Building Materials business during Covid-19

Pondered by Sam

Last month the whole of the UK was turned on their heads when the country was essentially shut down due to Covid-19. In the construction industry building sites up and down the country turned into ghost towns, with half-finished projects and building materials manufacturers and distributors not knowing when they would be back to ‘normal’. According to IHS Markit, 75% of manufacturers they surveyed in the last month reported a drop in activity due to Covid-19. Not surprising, to say the least.  

Fast forward to the end of April and the industry is starting up again, albeit initially on a smaller scale and with strict social distancing guidelines to be adhered to. It was reported in The Construction Index that Michelmersh Brick are returning to business and firing up their kilns once again after almost a month of the shutdown. During the downtime, the business conducted extensive health and safety reviews and worked in accordance with Public Health England and the government guidelines to keep their staff safe once they return to work.  

Kick-starting the industry once again will benefit our economy and allow for existing projects to moving forward again and for the development of new ones to breakthrough. Long term restrictions will undoubtedly mean that businesses will need to work smarter and use their business software systems to work efficiently during this challenging time. 

Keep the manufacturing process moving

In many businesses, staff absentee levels may be above average for some time, meaning that some vital business roles may be out of action, or severely depleted – not ideal in the manufacturing process! But, by using an MES system on the factory floor where all technical drawings and paperwork are in one place and available at the touch of a button, allows temporary or other department staff to step in at the last minute and keep the manufacturing process moving.  

Accurate real-time data reports

An MES system will also collect real-time data, allowing for easy reporting and overall improved analysis. By knowing exactly what materials are being used will allow you to plan and source substitute materials should you require it without stopping production completely. As well as ordering the right amount, and not tying your cash up in unnecessary expenditure. 

Reporting is vital when evaluating the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on your business, using real-time data will also allow you to make your processes more efficient and your reports 100% accurate each time. Real-time data collection will allow you to keep on top of your business KPI’s and evolve business targets. 


Remote working is currently our new ‘normal’ and will likely be dominant in the near future at least. Who else is quite enjoying their short commute to work? In manufacturing and construction, it is not always possible to work from home but reducing the number of employees physically required on-site or on the factory floor will comply with social distancing restrictions and cut the risk of infection.  

A communication platform such as Microsoft Teams allows you to continue to work as a team (hence the name!) and collaborate as you would when in the office usually. The ability to video call is the biggest draw for Teams as it is like having a meeting in the same room. However, there is more to the software than video calling...  

Want to learn more about MS Dynamics 365 Business Central & Microsoft Teams?

For further information on how Microsoft Dynamics 365 Building Materials can help your business during this difficult time please visit our website www.tecman.co.uk/bm. We have also recently uploaded several Microsoft Teams webinars and blogs – click here to visit our YouTube channel and read our latest blog here. 



Enhanced on 11 Aug 2020

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