Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' (FCA) response to COVID-19
As the Coronavir...
We look at how the eighth largest manufacturer in the world, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), is responding to the COVID-19 emergency.
As the Coronavirus pandemic continues to spread, one company that is raising to meet the pandemic head-on is Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA). We look at how it is accomplishing this.
Suspended operations in Europe and North America
The FCS has suspended its operations in both Europe and North America. Commenting on this action, FCA CEO, Mike Manley said: “Working with the UAW, and having visited many of our plants yesterday, we need to ensure employees feel safe at work and that we are taking every step possible to protect them. We will continue to do what is right for our people through this period of uncertainty.”
Manufacturing essential items
Fiat Chrysler, the Italian car manufacturer, has committed to manufacturing one million face masks a month and distributing them to the United States emergency services to fight against the pandemic.
“Production capacity is being installed this week and the company will start manufacturing face masks in the coming weeks with initial distribution across the United States, Canada and Mexico,” said Fiat Chrysler in a company statement.
Support for children during this time
The FCA has announced a commitment to supporting children during the outbreak by working with a number of charities and foundations that provide food to children. It has started by providing over 1mn meals to children within the area of its US plants in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio, with a plan to extend nationwide across North America and Mexico.
"There has never been a more important moment to help children and their families with vital needs in our communities than during this time of great uncertainty," said FCA CEO Mike Manley.
Other companies taking action
In amidst the uncertainty and fear at this time, there can be some positivity found, as communities and companies step up to help all those who are struggling or working on the front lines.
In the fight against COVID-19, it is expected that the UK will need 20,000 ventilators. Formula 1 has committed to help facilitate the manufacturing of the much-needed ventilators.
“We are working in coordination with a number of our fellow Formula 1 teams on the feasibility of supporting the production of ventilators, in response to the UK government’s request to industry for help. This is an ongoing assessment but the teams and Formula 1 are acting in concert to make a positive contribution to the cause," commented Formula 1 in a company statement.
Additionally, In a consortium led by Airbus, Dyson has committed to the production of 30,000 medical ventilators with production starting imminently, following the finalisation of the plans to supply the devices to the NHS.
Dyson has received orders of 10,000 ventilators which they will build from scratch. In a letter to the staff at Dyson, the founder of the company Sir James Dyson, stated the “race is now on to get it into production,” with promises to donate 5,000 machines to the international efforts.
For more on how companies are helping during this time, check out our 10 manufacturers providing COVID-19 pandemic support
Did you know? Yesterday, FCA announced the signing of an incremental credit facility of €3.5bn with two banks, and will be available for corporate purposes as well as the working capital needs of the FCA.
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Gartner: Leaders Lack Skilled Smart Manufacturing Workers
With organisations rapidly adopting industry 4.0 capabilities to increase productivity, efficiency, transparency, and quality as well as reduce cost, manufacturers “are under pressure to bring their workforce into the 21st century,” says Gartner.
While more connected factory workers are leveraging digital tools and data management techniques to improve decision accuracy, increase knowledge and lessen variability, 57% of manufacturing leaders feel that their organisations lack the skilled workers needed to support their smart manufacturing digitalisation plans.
“Our survey revealed that manufacturers are currently going through a difficult phase in their digitisation journey toward smart manufacturing,” said Simon Jacobson, Vice President analyst, Gartner Supply Chain practice.
“They accept that changing from a break-fix mentality and culture to a data-driven workforce is a must. However, intuition, efficiency and engagement cannot be sacrificed. New workers might be tech-savvy but lack access to best practices and know-how — and tenured workers might have the knowledge, but not the digital skills. A truly connected factory worker in a smart manufacturing environment needs both.”
Surveying 439 respondents from North America, Western Europe and APAC, Gartner found that “organisational complexity, integration and process reengineering are the most prevalent challenges for executing smart manufacturing initiatives.” Combined they represent “the largest change management obstacle [for manufacturers],” adds Gartner.
“It’s interesting to see that leadership commitment is frequently cited as not being a challenge. Across all respondents, 83% agree that their leadership understands and accepts the need to invest in smart manufacturing. However, it does not reflect whether or not the majority of leaders understand the magnitude of change in front of them – regarding technology, as well as talent,” added Jacobson.
Technology and People
While the value and opportunities smart manufacturing can provide an organisation is being recognised, introducing technology alone isn’t enough. Gartner emphasises the importance of evolving factory workers alongside the technology, ensuring that they are on board in order for the change to be successful.
“The most immediate action is for organisations to realize that this is more than digitisation. It requires synchronising activities for capability building, capability enablement and empowering people. Taking a ‘how to improve a day in the life’ approach will increase engagement, continuous learning and ultimately foster a pull-based approach that will attract tenured workers. They are the best points of contact to identify the best starting points for automation and the required data and digital tools for better decision-making,” said Jacobson.
Long term, “it is important to establish a data-driven culture in manufacturing operations that is rooted in governance and training - without stifling employee creativity and ingenuity,” concluded Gartner.