Covid-19 impact: FCA introduces emergency measures

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 16 Mar 2020

Responding to the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting supply chain interruptions, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced that its subsidiaries, FCA Italy and Maserati will temporarily suspend production across the majority of their European manufacturing plants.

The temporary suspension, which will be in effect through March 27, 2020, continues the implementation of a comprehensive set of actions in response to the COVID-19 emergency and enables the Group to respond to the interruption in market.

The updated production plan will temporarily close the following facilities with effect for the month of March: 

Italy: Melfi, G. Vico (Pomigliano), Cassino, Mirafiori Carrozzerie, Grugliasco, and Modena 

Serbia: Kragujevac and at Poland: Tyche.

As previously communicated, FCA has been proactively modifying production protocols at several plants including enhancing social distancing between employees at work-stations.

Across all facilities, FCA has increased cleaning and sanitisation and other improvements for employee safety. Strict controls and security measures have been applied to canteens and to external access to all Group sites. 

At FCA offices, the company has accelerated the deployment of working remotely (‘Smart Working’) with this option now widely available to employees across the world.

The Group will make use of these stoppages to implement revisions to production and quality control protocols to benefit our customers and enhance overall productivity.

The Group is also working with its supply base and business partners to be ready to deliver previously planned total levels of production despite the suspension when market demand returns.

With respect to its India offices, FCA India has permitted over 50% of its staff, from its Mumbai and Pune offices, to work from home, at least until March 31 to ensure ‘social distancing’. FCA, which operates from three locations in India – corporate office in Mumbai, an engineering office in Pune and the main Engineering Centre in Chennai, has prioritised the option of ‘work from home’ (WFH) for its staff in Maharashtra based on precautionary advisories by the Government of India and also state governments. The WFH alternative for the mission-critical Engineering workforce in Chennai is under consideration and not in play as yet.

FCA India’s president and managing director, Dr Partha Datta said, “The health and welfare of our employees and various partners is of utmost importance to us as an organization. We have to endure these challenging times together as responsible citizens and care for our families, friends and colleagues, while at the same time, ensuring business continuity. Although no employee of FCA India has reported or tested positive, we are fully aware of the gravity of the situation and are taking quick, proactive steps every day that are necessary for everybody’s well-being.”

FCA India has taken the following steps to help its workforce remain unaffected:

1. Work from home (WFH) option – FCA employees, who use public transport, are advised to work from home. They can remain connected via the tools provided in their laptop computers and remotely manage and attend critical meetings. Employees with business critical needs and those using company vehicles are permitted to work in the office subject to their manager’s approval. FCA field sales personnel have been advised to coordinate business from home, pan-India. A health advisory has been sent to FCA’s national dealer network instructing them on steps that need to be taken at showrooms for their own hygiene and also while dealing with customer walk-ins and sales events.
2. International and domestic travel – All FCA employees have been advised to cancel or postpone their domestic or international travel until further notice. For any emergency international travel, a governance process for business-essential travel has been established with concurrence from the MD and FCA top management.
3. Social distancing – Employees have been requested to postpone meeting visitors in person, in the office premises with an intent to enable ‘social distancing’; critical / unavoidable meetings can be held only with prior permission from FCA India’s senior management. Meetings among office staff have been curtailed and, if at all, employees are advised to restrict meeting attendees to less than 10 individuals.
4. Office management – Most meetings are now conducted via available audio / video conferencing technology in office or remote locations. A mandatory temperaturecheck of all employees and visitors, during entry, is conducted through state of the art apparatus. Cleaning regime of the entire office has been stepped up and the staff is encouraged to use freely available hand sanitizers and other hygiene upkeep methods. Employees are advised to take staggered breaks with longer lunch breaks in the cafeteria to maintain distance between each other.
FCA in India has a total employee base of 1500 across its offices in Mumbai, Chennai and Pune.