Looking back and celebrating our teams who have been on the frontline in preparing the safe restart
We’ve heard this countless times in recent weeks: the COVID-19 pandemic has upended “business as usual”, particularly for industrial companies. Demand for products has either spiked or fallen sharply, production has either had to stop or rapidly ramp up in response to demand and a lot of staff who are able to do so have been working remotely. At Faurecia, many people’s expertise, skills, and roles have been put to very new uses in order both to keep everyone working successfully remotely and preparing the safe restart of production.
As soon as the lockdown in France and much of Europe was introduced, IT teams saw that there would be a need to expand the infrastructure supporting network bandwidth. For instance, at the R&D center in Brieres, 50 km south of Paris, the number of connections on March 15 stood at around 2000 – by March 25 that had jumped to 10,000. Within days, IT staff created the necessary infrastructure to support an exponential rise in remote connections as working from home became the norm In addition to the rise in demand, IT teams have also had to contend with an increase in cybersecurity threats and phishing attempts, improving security while expanding the network.
While regular industrial production has been suspended or severely reduced over the past eight weeks, certain plants have launched production of masks, face shields, and other personal protective equipment (PPE). In addition in order to support the procurement of PPE, Purchasing teams at sites around the world pivoted overnight to procure the necessary materials, working with new suppliers, increasingly restrictive customs regulations, and a tight market where demand has multiplied. While industrial operations are suspended, Purchasing teams have also been working with existing suppliers to navigate the crisis in partnership, supporting smaller ones in particular, working collaboratively in preparation for the safe restart of operations. In the same way our teams that interface with Faurecia’s customers have been working closely with them to assess and manage each stakeholder’s needs and manage as best as possible both the shutdown and the reopening plans. Other teams have worked around the clock to support the implementation of the Safer Together guidelines.
From Auburn Hills, Michigan to Caligny in north-western France, staff have stressed the importance of trust, openness, and solidarity as they introduced, implemented, and strengthened the Safer Together guidelines and worked through the changes and adjustments these would necessitate. Being a global company with industrial and R&D sites around the world, Faurecia’s experience of the lockdown in China has helped shape its response to the spread of the pandemic in Europe and North America, and guide the strict hygiene measures put in place to ensure a safe restart. The Safer Together guidelines, first implemented in sites in China, have been implemented in Europe and North America since April 30 as certain plants produce PPE and limited customer orders. While the pandemic will continue to shape Faurecia’s business and operations for some time, the resilience, agility and creativity of teams at the forefront of efforts to manage the crisis have been instrumental to our preparedness for the restart.
Through our series “Faurecia stories from the frontline”, you will meet some of the great people who have been on the frontline during the crisis, actively participated to maintaining operations and/or preparing for a safe restart, sharing the role they played and what this unprecedented time taught them!