Ford, like other companies, has announced it will begin the process of reopening plants and bringing shifts back on. According to Jim Farley, Ford COO, “We’ve been working intently with state and federal governments, our union partners and a cross-section of our workforce to reopen our North American facilities.
“We have reopened our facilities in China, successfully begun our phased restart in Europe and have been producing medical equipment in Michigan for more than six weeks and are using the lessons from all of that to ensure we are taking the right precautions to help keep our workforce here safe.”
It’s the least you can do. (Images: Ford)
And Gary Johnson, Ford Chief Manufacturing and Labor Officer, said of the steps, procedures and methodologies that are being deployed, “We’ve developed these safety protocols in coordination with our union partners, especially the UAW, and we all know it will take time to adjust to them.”
It will be business as quasi-normal.
But here’s the thing. Whether you work at Ford or any other OEM, whether you work at a major supplier or a Tier 3, whether you are a provider of parts or services, there is one thing that has to be kept in mind first and foremost:
It all comes down to people doing the right things.
Do the Right Things
How many times have you seen someone on TV being interviewed who is wearing a face mask—good—but whose mask is below their nose—bad (we do breathe that way; what’s more, where do they put those l-o-n-g swabs when testing for the virus?).
While it is good that companies like Ford are initiating temperature scans before people enter their buildings, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine (if you Google for information about COVID-19, please use reputable sites), “It is possible to be infected with the new coronavirus and have a cough or other symptoms with no fever, or a very low-grade one, especially in the first few days. Keep in mind that it is also possible to have COVID-19 with minimal or even no symptoms at all.”
“NO SYMPTOMS AT ALL.”
Although if there are no symptoms you won’t know it. But you may know whether you have other symptoms, which include shortness of breath, muscle aches, sore throat, unexplained loss of taste or smell, diarrhea and headache. You’ll know it. And a temperature scanner isn’t going to find those.
Ford will have employees fill out a form indicating that they have no symptoms and that they haven’t been in contact with those with the virus. It will be self-certification.
Honesty—the Essential Policy
You have to be honest. No matter how badly you want to get out—anywhere—recognize that according to the most recent numbers (again, using Johns Hopkins), if you divide the number of deaths by the number of cases, there is about a 6% mortality rate.
While you could say, “Well, that means 94% don’t die,” do you want to risk infecting your coworker who may be pushing 65 or that new mother who may go home to her infant? Do you?
Yes, people need to get back to work. But it is going to take safety measures combined with honesty.
And honesty is an individual thing.
Many countries who once were major players from a vehicle production/export perspective are finding it difficult to even find their niche today.
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.”
According to Kunihiro Hoshi, chief engineer for the GX 470: “Three of my top goals were to create a body-on-frame vehicle with sweeping off-road performance and unibody-like on-road capability, and, of course, it had to meet the Lexus quality standard.” He met his goals. But why would anyone want to bang this vehicle around on rocks?