Dearborn, Mich., May 7, 2020 – Ford is targeting a phased restart for its North America operations beginning May 18, including restarting vehicle production in North America and bringing back the first wave of employees unable to do their jobs remotely.
“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,” explained Jim Farley, Ford’s Chief Operating Officer. “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.”
Plans To Restart Production
In this phased restart, Ford’s North American parts depots will resume full operations on Monday, May 11. On May 18, Ford’s North American assembly plants previously operating on three-shift patterns will return with two-shifts. Most two-shift plants will return on one shift and most one-shift plants will continue to operate on one shift. Flat Rock Assembly Plant (Flat Rock, Michigan) and Oakville Assembly Complex (Oakville, Ontario) are expected to resume production the week of May 25 on one shift. Components plants will restart production as needed to support this plan.
The ramp-up process will be gradual as workers adjust to the new health and safety protocols and the entire supply chain comes up to speed.
“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,” said Gary Johnson, Ford’s Chief Manufacturing and Labor Officer. “We are in this together and plan to return to our normal operating patterns as soon as we are confident the system is ready to support.”
Designing New Protocols
Ford is implementing a staggered approach to bring back approximately 12,000 “location-dependent” employees who are unable to do their jobs remotely. This includes product development, IT, and facilities management among other departments. The staggered approach allows Ford to effectively implement new safety protocols and provide proper personal protective equipment (PPE) for all employees as they return to work.
To guide the workforce with the new health and safety protocols, Ford has compiled a comprehensive Manufacturing Return to Work Playbook to help protect its workforce, assembled using best practices and input from experts around the world. Some of the safety protocols include:
- Daily online employee and visitor health self-certifications completed before work every day. Employees or visitors who indicate they may have symptoms or may have been exposed to the virus will be told not to come to Ford facilities.
- No-touch temperature scans upon arrival – anyone with a raised temperature will not be permitted to enter and will need to be cleared of symptoms before returning to work.
- Required face masks for everyone entering a Ford facility. Every Ford team member will be provided a care kit including face masks and other items to help keep them healthy and comfortable at work.
- Safety glasses with side shields or face shields will be required when jobs don’t allow for social distancing.
- There will be more time between production shifts to limit interaction between employees and allow for additional cleaning.
Ongoing Efforts To Combat COVID-19
Ford is producing face masks at the Van Dyke Transmission Plant for use at its facilities across North America, and face shields at its Troy Design & Manufacturing facility in Plymouth, Michigan. Company-provided face masks will be required for anyone working at a Ford site, in line with the company’s global protocols, while safety glasses or face shields will be required in some instances.
Photos & Source: Ford Motor Company.