Ford is taking what it has learned in the restarts of its facilities abroad and creating a plan for reopening its North American facilities in mid-May.
“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,” said 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 the 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.
Employees returning to work will have new safety measures in place, including a daily online health self-certification that must be completed before coming in to work. In addition, the company has developed a comprehensive safety playbook that pulls together best practices and input from experts around the world that will be implemented at the plants.
“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,” said 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 it.”
All employees will receive masks and safety glasses with side shields or face shields, which will be required to be worn in the plant. 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 Michigan.
By producing the face masks and shields, Ford is helping reduce demand on stretched supply chains for personal protection equipment also needed by medical services and other industries.
Ford has two assembly plants in Louisville, Kentucky, including a truck manufacturing plant in that makes Ford F250-F550 Super Duty Trucks.