A day after the nation observed a 14-hour voluntary public curfew, a nation-wide lockdown was announced on 24th March 2020 for 21 days to contain the spread of Coronavirus. It brought the movement of goods and manufacturing activities to a standstill. Uncertainty was running high as the lockdown kept getting extended and the spread of the virus kept widening. The industry was shrinking its workforce to reduce the costs. We, at FUSO, took a conscientious decision to retain our workforce, sticking to the values on which we were founded, 30 years ago. This turned out to be a prudent business decision from the management. As the lockdown was lifted in May, FUSO had capacity and capability to deliver to its customers, while the industry was struggling to build back its workforce.
Our production facilities, spread across three states, ensured operational business continuity for us. We distributed our production loads among the three facilities and optimised our production schedules to overcome the logistical and labour challenges which persisted due to differentiated state-wide restrictions even after the lockdown was lifted. In all of this, we ensured to deliver to our clients with the highest quality, in time, while abiding by all the regulations (national, state and local).
Our biggest concern after resuming operations was to ensure the safety of our staff. It was a tactical challenge to design, communicate and implement the new ways of working. We created multiple task forces each meant to review the processes, introduce safety measures and implement them.
● The Procurement Task Force: The personnel responsible for handling incoming materials were provided with personal protective equipment by FUSO. They would sanitise the material. Thereafter, the material was kept untouched for three days before it was used.
● The Production Task Force: The start / end time for the shift was staggered to avoid crowding at the gates. New masks and gloves were provided to the staff before the end of the shift for the following day and strict social distancing was observed all throughout the shift. At the end of the shift the production support team would do a complete wipe down of machinery and the shop floor before the start of next shift.
● The Personnel Task Force: The workers who did not leave for their hometowns and were stationed at the factory were provided with all the essential items and amenities to limit their trips outside the premises. The workers who were returning from their hometowns were placed under a 15-day quarantine followed by a medical check up before they were allowed to resume work.
● The Execution Task Force: Markings were placed on the shop floor to indicate adequate social distancing. Sanitiser kiosks were placed at every corner and within the lift with signages requesting the employees to sanitise their hands every 30 minutes. Lifts were monitored to allow only two people at a time.
The management oversight committee composed of Company’s Directors met once a week with each task force to take an update on the effectiveness of measures, discuss amends and check on overall status of staff health and safety. The values of FUSO, its thorough planning and meticulous execution has helped the company tide over the COVID-19 pandemic.