Sep 10, 2020

Automotive Manufacturing during Covid - Ford

Matilda Pilkington
2 min
Ford Logo in the sky
As the world looks at how to return to work, Manufacturing Global takes a detailed look at how certain companies are able to continue production...

Earlier this year, Ford released its “Return to Work Manufacturing Playbook” accessible on their website, it details the processes and procedures in place during the pandemic. 

They identify key goals that they are going to achieve while maintaining a close working document that allows the wider company to know the changes they are making. One of the defining statements throughout this document is “One Ford - Rely on and care for our Ford family. Practice empathy, respect and openness. We will get through this together”. This attitude is reflected in other such documents around the return to work processes of other organisations and emphasises that whilst manufacturing is important, they are putting their people first. 

The next portion of the document goes into detail about the various members of the team’s roles within the playbook, identifying which member of staff will be responsible for “development of protocols to ensure the wellness of all employees” compared to “Ensuring PPE distribution methods are defined and monitor usage”. This allows Ford’ employees to have clear instructions on who to direct queries too. 

The document goes on to lay-out the specific rules and regulations that they expect all personnel to follow. From a daily self-certification on symptoms, through to the closure of breakout and common areas, the document reassures Ford’s staff that they have covered everything. There are examples of the signage they plan to use on the production floor, a flow chart to follow if there is a confirmed case, and recommended practices for social distancing in the lunchroom. 

Overall, this document allows a small window into the clear and concise changes that Ford has made to ensure that their manufacturing plants can return to work without endangering their staff. There are other examples of this being seen across the automotive sector but this example is a great starting point and relays how much Ford cares about their staff. 

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Jun 16, 2021 x BSH: Voice Automating the Assembly Line

2 min and BSH announce plans to bring speech-to-intent AI to the assembly line that will increase factory efficiency and improve worker ergonomics

Coming soon, will deploy its voice recognition solutions in one of BSH’s German factories. BSH leads the market in producing connected appliances—its brands include Bosch, Siemens, Gaggenau, NEFF, and Thermador, and with this new partnership, the company intends to cut transition time in its assembly lines. 


According to BSH, voice automation will yield 75%-100% efficiency gains—but it’s the collaboration between the two companies that stands out. ‘After considering 11 companies for this partnership, we chose because of their key competitive differentiators’, explained Ion Hauer, Venture Partner at BSH Startup Kitchen.


What Sets Apart? 

After seven years of research, the company developed a wide range of artificial intelligence (AI) software products to help original equipment manufacturers (OEM) expand their services. Three key aspects stood out to BSH, which operates across the world and in unique factory environments.  


  • Robust noise controls. The system can operate even in loud conditions. 
  • Low latency. The AI understands commands quickly and accurately. 
  • Multilingual support. BSH can expand the automation to any of its 50+ country operations. 


How Voice Automation Works

Instead of pressing buttons, BSH factory workers will now be able to speak into a headset fitted with’s voice recognition technology. After uttering a WakeWord, workers can use a command to start assembly line movement. As the technology is hands-free, workers benefit from less physical strain, which will both reduce employee fatigue and boost line production. 


‘Implementing Fluent’s technology has already improved efficiencies within our factory, with initial implementation of the solution cutting down the transition time from four seconds to one and a half”, said Markus Maier, Project Lead at the BSH factory. ‘In the long run, the production time savings will be invaluable’. 


Future Global Adoption 

In the coming years, BSH and will continue to push for artificial intelligence on factory lines, pursuing efficiency, ergonomics, and a healthy work environment. ‘We started with on one factory assembly line, moved to three, and [are now] considering rolling the technology out worldwide’, said Maier. 


Said Probal Lala,’s CEO: ‘We are thrilled to be working with BSH, a company at the forefront of innovation. Seeing your solution out in the real world is incredibly rewarding, and we look forward to continuing and growing our collaboration’. 



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