HIGHLIGHTING the impact of load shedding on manufacturers will be the Manufacturing Indaba Conference, which will take place in October.
It looks to explore collaboration between energy providers and governmental agencies to find long-term solutions to energy supply challenges which are crucial for ensuring a stable manufacturing environment.
“Issues that will be explored at the conference are the severe impact of load shedding on manufacturers, and how they need to look at various options for reliable energy solutions,” said Qondakuhle Dwangu, the indaba’s media liaison.
Dwangu said load shedding, the intentional and temporary reduction of electricity supply to manage power demand and prevent grid overload, could have a significant impact on manufacturers.
These effects varied depending on the frequency, duration and severity of the power cuts, as well as the type of manufacturing processes involved.
Among the issues on the agenda are the challenges faced by small businesses which are unable to trade during power cuts.
Load shedding disrupts manufacturing processes by causing unplanned downtime. This leads to reduced production output, delayed orders and an overall decrease in productivity.
Manufacturers may struggle to meet customer demands and face challenges in maintaining production schedules.
Manufacturing often relies on a complex network of suppliers, partners and customers. Load shedding can disrupt this supply chain, leading to delayed deliveries of raw materials, components and finished products. This, in turn, affects the entire ecosystem and can lead to financial losses.
Fluctuations in power supply during load shedding can affect the quality of products.
Sensitive manufacturing processes, such as those involving precision machinery, electronics and chemical reactions, are particularly vulnerable to interruptions, resulting in defects and rejections.
Manufacturers may need to invest in back-up power solutions, such as generators or uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems, to mitigate the impact of load shedding.
These solutions come with initial costs, maintenance expenses and fuel expenses, all of which can strain the company's budget.
Reduced production output, increased downtime, and added costs contribute to lower profitability for manufacturers.
The inability to operate at full capacity and fulfil orders can lead to missed revenue opportunities and eroded profit margins.
Manufacturers operating under contracts with strict delivery timelines can face legal and financial repercussions if load shedding leads to breaches of these agreements.
Manufacturers may need to consider alternative energy sources, invest in energy-efficient equipment, implement demand management strategies and establish contingency plans to minimise disruptions.
These key issues will be unpacked at the indaba, to be held in Sandton, Johannesburg, from October 24 – 26.