Widespread delays, production cuts and possible shortages: the effects of absenteeism on activity
The Effects of High Absenteeism they are felt in the day to day of companies, consumers and users. In factories, employers juggle maintaining production levels. They use stocks, cut shifts and delay deliveries, which are impacting their offer in the market. With concern, they warn that, if the current numbers of positive cases of Covid are sustained, In the next 15 days, the supply problems in gondolas, shops and service attention will worsen.
The Boulogne Sur Mer branch of a renowned hypermarket has a total of 37 checkouts. On Thursday afternoon, only 12 were busy and serving, some with commercial service staff replacements or shelf replenishment. As usual, there are two types of lines to pay: less than or more than 15 units. Both queues stretched at least 150 meters into the aisles, with an average of 40 people waiting and a 30-minute delay.
Customer service, both in street shops and online services, is under stress. Absenteeism in the AMBA, according to various sources, is about to hit the 40% mark. With the reduction of employees, waiting begins, procedures suspended and blinds closed. “I had to make a signature in a bank. My scheduled shift was suspended because there were only two people serving the public in the entire premises,” laments a customer.
In the call centers, the lack of employees on the other side of the telephone lines multiplied the waiting times to make queries and claims. The groups pass less frequently because many drivers are isolated and the delivery applications are collapsed due to the lack of delivery men.
Some businessmen warn that the impact of this phenomenon will be seen in the activity figures for January and February. “If the situation continues, there will be shortages. We bet that it will not happen, if they allow us to minimize the impact of absentees within the factory so that they can work. It is a direct impact on the economy,” said Daniel Rosato, president of Industriales Pymes Argentinos, who filed multiple claims with the Government in the last week, such as a reduction in the isolation of close contacts, the occupational health pass and that the ARTs be Take charge of testing staff.
According to his calculations, production losses reach up to 30% in some companies. The impact is stronger in industries, with two particular characteristics. On the one hand, those that have continuous lines and cannot easily stop the machines. On the other hand, those that do not have large amounts of stock, such as food SMEs.
The most mentioned problems are: temporary closures, suspension of projects, cuts in shifts, drop in the quantities produced, delays in deliveries of suppliers or products, reduction of transport for merchandise and companies that are forced to use their stock (many to the point of breaking it) .
Cibasa is one of the many companies that reports delays in their deliveries to customers. It is dedicated to producing cables for the automotive and agricultural industries at its plant in Lanús, province of Buenos Aires. Due to the fact that they are receiving less copper, insulating materials and spare parts from their suppliers and due to “mass shortages”, They reduced their production by 20%, according to Enrique Ruffo, vice president of the SME.
Its 40 employees were divided into “cells”, another denomination for the already well-known “bubbles”. Two of them are isolated. The rest “are being punctured”, due to “intra-cell” infections. “It makes continuous production processes difficult. We have uninterruptible lines, so our production is affected”Ruffo explained.
Although they temporarily remedied with stock, the SME will have supply problems starting this week. “It will impact the consumer due to the lack of products or, surely, the transfers to industrial costs and, therefore, to prices,” said the owner of the SME, who has been running it for 44 years.
In Coaerdel, located in the Plátanos Industrial Park, they had to stop one of their production lines before a 40% absenteeism between isolated and vacationing staff. “I no longer know if my certificates are falsified or not”, complained David Vázquez, CEO of the company. They specialize in the design and development of rubber, plastic and thermoplastic parts, through injection, molding and extrusion processes for the automotive industry and white goods.
With fewer machines turned on, they are managing to meet their deliveries for the automakers because they have a month’s supply. “We are eating the stock, which is theoretically security”, Vazquez reveals. In the case of their white line, for which they produce kitchens, they had to close it and suspend deliveries.
“We play with planning. We don’t know who will come back and who won’t, or when. Nor how many will be infected next week and if they will compensate those who rejoin. We will try to recover the lost hours at another time. It is going to affect our growth,” Vázquez said.
Metalcrom, the company of Alejandro Bartalini, employs 42 people. Today, 18 of them are at home. “We broke a record, with 43% absenteeism,” he laments. He has not yet made a drastic decision, although he considered that he might be forced to close the plant. In Berazategui, they produce pumps and spare parts for the energy and oil sector. Its main clients are Pan American Energy and YPF.
For now, Metalcrom managed to continue producing. “We are delaying deliveries and we agree to postpone vacations until we settle into work,” explained the president. Although he would have liked to hire employees on a temporary basis, his business does not allow it due to the training required by the staff, because most of them are technicians.
Bartalini is also president of the Berazategui Industrial Union. The calls from SMEs in the area, which he represents, multiply every day. “Many companies had to cut some shifts. The food, plastics, and textiles industries, in particular, cut the night shift and grouped people together in the day shift to be able to meet production, but the consequences are going to be strong, both in terms of units and billing. This month is going to fall flatly”, he warned.
In Luján, province of Buenos Aires, Italcolore is located, a company with 75 employees dedicated to industrial dyeing, textile finishing and fabric manufacturing. In January they usually close 15 days for vacations, but this year they decided to keep their plant open, where 75 people work, because they prioritized attending orders that suddenly arose and to replenish stock not generated during the pandemic.
With an absenteeism 20% continue to produce with difficulty because “in this type of company there are very specific tasks, very divided”, explained Marco Meloni, partner of Italcolore and former president of the Pro Tejer Foundation. For him, the measure adopted by the Ministry of Health under which personnel vaccinated with three doses must not comply with preventive isolation is a relief. 20% of their campus have the booster shot.
“It can be absorbed because we are in a period of lower demand. Working with low stocks due to the pandemic. Having them was very expensive. Strong activity begins on February 15. If it continues like this, by then it will not be possible to meet the demandMeloni said.
Chill Golosinas produces more than 50 products for gondolas and kiosks. Salty sticks, sweet potato fries, cassava, cones, candies and jams such as caramelized, chocolate peanuts, crisps, nougat, nachos, gummies and liquor chocolates. Some are distributed directly to the public and others are produced for the chains Walmart and Dia.
Alejandro Delre, owner of the SME that employs 65 people, explained to THE NATION who today do not have problems in the factory due to absenteeism, although they register complications due to scheduled deliveries with your suppliers. “They don’t have people to meet the demand and they extended our delivery times. We had problems with potatoes and packaging, especially film. In turn, they are delayed by their own suppliers”, he commented. Today, like other companies, they use their reservation.
Tremblay, the brand of cheeses, yogurt, spreads, butter, dulce de leche, cream and grated cheese reported that the transports with which they move the merchandise from Santa Fe to Buenos Aires did not provide services for several days. “This will definitely affect delivery to our customers. Represents a delay of between 24 and 48 business hours in normal delivery times”, reported the company.