Starting next Monday May 4th, Porsche is back to building sports cars again. It says that it will be taking all of the required measures to maintain worker safety and will only be restarting production on a site and task specific necessary basis. Production will be slowly ramped up to full capacity over several stages. For now the main factory in Zuffenhausen and Porsche's other facility in Leipzig will be allowing employees to resume in small increments with an adapted process for production, logistics, and procurement. All of the new changes to the facility have been made with approval of the respective German authorities.
“The restart is an important signal – for our employees as well as for our customers. We have monitored and analysed the situation very carefully right from the start and flexibly adapted processes. Now is the right time to look forward with optimism and to resume work – subject to special precautions,” says Albrecht Reimold, Member of the Executive Board for Production and Logistics at Porsche AG.
So what are these special precautions?
- Production employees must observe a minimum distance of 1.5 meters from each other. That equates to 4.9 feet, which is less than the 6 feet health experts recommend, but better than close contact.
- Employees must wear a face mask in defined areas of the factory.
- Many office workers will continue to work from home.
- All business travel is still banned.
“It will take a great deal of effort to get the economic and social system moving again. Everyone must make a contribution to this,” says Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG. “It is important to have a positive fundamental attitude. Every crisis also offers opportunities. And we want to make the most of them.”
Porsche's factories have been shuttered since the 21st of March in an effort to contain the Coronavirus spread in Germany. What was originally supposed to be a two week stop work order has extended to six weeks with restrictive bottlenecks in global supply chain. Despite these measures, Germany has been the sixth-highest affected country in the world with over 160,000 confirmed cases of covid-19, resulting in the death of 6374 Germans thus far. That said, Germany has seen a decrease in new cases recently, dropping to fewer than 1000 new cases per day, while here in the United States we're still experiencing more than 20,000 new cases daily.
I hope that Porsche can truly re-start production without putting its workers in harms way. Here's hoping that they're doing the right thing.