DEARBORN, MI — 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.
“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,” says 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.”
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 operate on one shift. Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Flat Rock, MI and Oakville Assembly Complex in 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,” says 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.”
Ford is implementing a staggered approach to bring back approximately 12,000 “location-dependent” employees who are not able to do their jobs remotely, encompassing functions including product development, IT, facilities management and more. The staggered approach allows Ford to effectively implement new safety protocols and provide proper personal protective equipment 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, no-touch temperature scans upon arrival and requiring face masks for everyone entering the facility.
Additionally, 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 also be more time between production shifts to limit interaction between employees and allow for additional cleaning.
Ford is producing face masks at Van Dyke Transmission Plant for use at its facilities across North America and face shields at its Troy Design & Manufacturing facility in Plymouth, Mich. 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. By producing face masks and face shields, Ford is helping reduce demand on stretched supply chains for personal protection equipment also needed by medical services and other industries.
Employees able to do their jobs remotely will continue to do so until advised otherwise.