Coordination Is Key In COVID-19 PPE Production
“It would be counterproductive for GM—or any other manufacturer—to compete for supplies with existing medical-mask companies,” said Shilpan Amin, vice president, GM Global Purchasing and Supply Chain.
So the OEM is working with the Original Equipment Suppliers Association (OESA) and the Michigan Manufacturers Association (MMA) to coordinate efforts to help produce what is needed by healthcare workers and first responders.
Producing Level 1 Masks inside the GM plant in Warren, Michigan. (Photos: John F. Martin for GM)
According to Amin, “By making GM’s production processes available to the OESA”—which has more than 500 members—“and the MMA”—which has 1,700 member companies across all industries—“we hope to facilitate other companies’ efforts to bring more materials, more equipment and ultimately more face masks to the community.”
John Walsh, President and CEO, MMA, said, “GM’s production plans and their willingness to share design specifications will be extremely appreciated as our members accelerate their own efforts to help during this crisis. GM’s efforts are a strong symbol of how manufacturing is driving solutions to solve this crisis.”
Ramping Up Warren Plant
Mary Barra inside the Warren plant. While she is GM CEO now, earlier in her career she was GM vice president of Global Manufacturing Engineering, so she knows more than a little something about the factory floor.
The Warren plant has the capacity to produce up to 1.5-million masks per month. This weekend it will be adding a second line for masks and a new line to produce filtering face piece respirators.
The Arsenal of Health
Kristin Dziczek, vice president of Industry, Labor & Economics at the Center for Automotive Research (CAR), refers to the transformation of the auto industry in this time of crisis as the “Arsenal of Health.”
She couldn’t be more accurate.
Generally, when OEMs produce aluminum engine blocks (aluminum rather than cast iron because cast iron weighs like cast iron), they insert sleeves into the piston bores—cast iron sleeves.
Although the term “continuous improvement” is generally associated with another company, Honda is certainly pursuing that approach, as is evidenced by the Accord, which is now in its ninth generation.
Ram Truck chief exterior designer Joe Dehner talks about how they’ve developed the all-new pickup. “We’ve been building trucks for over 100 years,” he says. “Best I could come up with is that this is our 15th-generation truck.”