Saturday, April 18, 2020
Volvo to Re-Start Production Despite COVID-19 Threat
Volvo Cars is restarting production at its Torslanda plant in Sweden on Monday, April 20, following a short period of downtime related to the coronavirus pandemic.
The company, which has taken the decision to reopen following a dialogue with relevant labor unions, will also welcome back office workers to its Swedish offices on Monday. Both the plant and offices have been prepared in recent weeks to be as safe as possible for people to return in a way that safeguards their health.
A constant, close dialogue with all partners and suppliers aims to secure continued production amid ongoing yet reducing disruptions in the supply chain. Production volumes in Torslanda will be adjusted to meet demand in the market as well as existing order books.
“We have a responsibility towards our employees and our suppliers to restart operations now that the situation allows it,” said Håkan Samuelsson, chief executive. “The best thing we can do to help society is to find ways to restart the company in a safe way, thereby safeguarding people’s health and their jobs.”
Before the return of staff on Monday, all facilities have been cleaned extensively, while sanitation and cleaning routines have been intensified and voluntary temperature and pulse oximeter (to test the amount of oxygen in the blood) checks will be offered at main entrances.
In recent weeks, company officials have reviewed every single working station in the Torslanda plant from a health and safety perspective, and where social distancing is not possible, other protective measures have been put in place.
In Swedish office buildings the layout in all meeting rooms, office spaces and restaurants has been adjusted where necessary to allow for social distancing, for example by ensuring that desks are placed appropriately and limiting the number of people allowed in meeting rooms and restaurants.
As for the other sites in Volvo Cars’ global manufacturing network, the Ghent, Belgium plant will also reopen on Monday, April 20, but at reduced production output. The company currently plans to reopen its South Carolina plant in the United States on Monday, May 11.
The engine plant in Skövde, Sweden and the body component manufacturing site in Olofström, Sweden will continue to plan their production on a weekly basis and adapt according to needs in the other plants.
Office workers in other markets will continue to follow local guidelines, but Volvo Cars health and safety officials hope that learnings from the Swedish facilities can be implemented elsewhere as well.
Volvo Cars will continue to make use of the support package introduced by the Swedish government earlier this year, which means a continued reduction of working time for most employees. The welcome support by the government allows Volvo Cars to protect its fundamentally healthy business until markets stabilize.