Supporting Manufacturing Clients During Change

Automotive assembly line with automation and robots

The one constant in manufacturing is that things change. From new technologies to new labor landscapes to changing customer demands, manufacturers must remain agile if they want to survive.

Today, manufacturers increasingly control their own supply chains to minimize disruption and provide the customized service their customers now demand.

As their broker, you can help your manufacturing clients manage their insurance needs by staying on top of their changing business practices.

Use these tips to add value to your service offering and turn clients into strategic partners.

Get to Know Clients’ Challenges

In the manufacturing world, challenges aren’t just roadblocks. They result in transformative process changes, which have knock-on effects across the company. A change in labor or technology will directly impact operations, and it will indirectly affect your clients’ insurance needs.

The biggest challenges manufacturing companies face right now is the change in employee and customer demands. Customers increasingly want a personalized experience from their suppliers. At the same time, the labor shortage makes meeting those requests tricky.

So, new technologies, including automation, microcomputers, and robots, are all filling the labor gap. (Half the world’s robot population work in automotive factories.) However, innovation creates new challenges, such as increased complexity in processes and issues with testing.

Then, there are all the other issues manufacturers face outside their control. Manufacturers increasingly find their clients and customers want to engage in more sustainable operations, such as circular economies, which can upend core processes. And of course, there are the political unknowns. A change in any one country or trading block’s policies can impact supply chains, profits, labor, and even technology.

Whatever your clients are facing, get to know the problem and relate it to the insurance question. The last thing they need when facing change is to find out they don’t have the coverage they need.

Communicate Early and Often

How often do you check in with your clients? There are always those few who you may meet regularly. But there are others who fall through the cracks between loss runs.

Those customers who you see quarterly — if at all — are the ones who need you most. They may not have significant problems now. But little setbacks can snowball.

Manufacturing clients rarely find themselves in a snag overnight. Even supply chain issues created by COVID-19 weren’t caused by the virus itself. Instead, these problems the product of both an increasingly fractured mode of working and an unsustainable supply chain. Both of these long predate the pandemic.

By staying in touch to learn about smaller, seemingly surmountable obstacles, you can help them clear hurdles that could have had big impacts on their premium when it’s time to renew. The benefits are mutual: they actively manage one of their biggest expenses, and you help them manage their pain points and premiums and win their business again next year.

Beyond picking up the phone, be sure to send them over relevant information. If they have to make a process change that increases their risk, provide them with data from OSHA, manufacturing resources from the National Safety Council. Don’t be afraid to reach out for other available information from manufacturing safety groups. Few manufacturers are going through change alone!

Tip: If a client’s process change requires a Management of Change procedure, help them navigate that process by reviewing the impact on their insurance lines, too.

Review Their Coverage Requirements

One of the most relevant insurance issues is their changing coverage requirements. If you have been in insurance long enough, you remember when manufacturers had floors with dozens or even hundreds of people. Those clients are few and far between today.

Small-scale manufacturing is increasingly economical, but payroll isn’t the only thing that’s changing. Be sure clients get the most for their payroll by carefully reviewing their other core reports. You should also revisit their risk profile after a big process change and MOC: a switch from heavy tools to automation creates a wildly different type of risk. And don’t forget to double-check their class codes, particularly if a new process causes them to pivot.

Be Their Insurance Advocate

Today, manufacturers need to be experts in their vertical and dozens of other areas, from automation to cybersecurity. You can save them time and headache by being their insurance expert and advocate.

What kinds of resources can you provide? A few value-added service offerings include:

  • Ensuring they provide accurate payroll
  • Sharing knowledge about their policy
  • Empowering their risk management programs
  • Guiding them through claims
  • Communicating relevant industry, carrier, and policy changes
  • Reviewing Ex Mod reports and fixing errors

Help Your Manufacturing Clients Grow Stronger in 2021

The only constant in manufacturing is change. While new developments keep U.S. manufacturing at the forefront of the global economy, they also present real challenges to core processes. Your clients don’t need to go it alone. You can help them manage costs, protect their workers, and find a competitive advantage. And you can do all that by ensuring they get the insurance coverage they need and the resources to help them manage risk.

Do you have a few clients whose risk profile is about to look very different? Learn more about Foresight’s innovative risk management technology to see how we empower brokers and their clients to grow their businesses.

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