Tata Motors has announced a calibrated restart of manufacturing operations for both commercial and passenger vehicles from its plants located at Pantnagar, Uttarakhand beginning last week and from Sanand, Gujarat.
The other plants in Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, Dharwad in Karnataka, Jamshedpur in Jharkhand and Pune (only for ambulance vehicle manufacturing) are in the final stage of readiness and expect to begin production over the next few days. This commencement of operations follows receipt of all necessary approvals from relevant government authorities. The company says the health and wellbeing of the workforce as the foremost priority, all mandated safety norms are being diligently complied with.
Guenter Butschek, CEO and MD, Tata Motors said, “Our utmost priority is the safety and wellbeing of our employees, customers and ecosystem partners. Therefore, we restart operations with limited, essential staff in each plant, adhering to all mandated safety norms while efficiently meeting operational requirements. The support and cooperation extended by local authorities, state and central government, our union partners and our dedicated workforce have been instrumental for a smooth restart."
"We will scale operations in a graded manner as the entire enabling ecosystem of suppliers, vendors, dealers and customers comes up to speed. We are cautiously optimistic and staying agile to cater to an evolving demand. The lockdown was our opportunity to accelerate our digital journey and evolve new ways of working, while servicing and supporting our customers. We are well positioned to redefine mobility with our new product portfolio, customised offerings and enhanced customer experience," he added.
New SOPs to maintain safety
Tata Motors dedicated ‘Restart’ teams at each location have curated detailed guidelines and conducted intensive training for maintaining social distancing at all workplaces, shop floors and canteen facilities. Enhanced sanitisation measures are being implemented and only limited, operationally required staff is being asked to come to work in personal vehicles or company transport.
Furthermore, every employee re-joining the workplace is required to download and use the mandatory ‘Aarogya Setu’ app. Employees are also required to periodically check-in and declare the status of their own, as well as their family’s health on the Tata Motors in-house health track portal. In addition, all employees and visitors entering and exiting the plant premises are also being screened for temperature checks.
The company says it has used the lockdown time to design new ways of working, respecting the mandatory safety norms and aggressively adopting digital via rigorous sessions conducted virtually, employees, dealers and supplier partners were oriented to this and trained on the feature-rich BS VI offerings for effectively selling and engaging with customers.
In addition, nearly 200 dealerships and 300 workshops for passenger vehicles and over 400 sales outlets and 885 workshops for commercial vehicles have begun operations with a new set of standard operating procedure (SOPs) defining minimal interactions and maintaining prudent social distance while engaging with customers. Over the last few days, customers have initiated new bookings, deliveries of passenger vehicles have commenced and workshops are seeing increasing inflow of vehicles for servicing.
The company says all discussions with customers are being done virtually using digital tools and any meetings, if necessary, are being conducted with prior appointments and post verification of all requirements. Documents for vehicle insurance and registration are being collected via mail or specially installed drop boxes and vehicle deliveries are being done only after all formalities are completed. Customer vehicles arriving at workshops for repairs and servicing too are completely sanitised before being handed over post service.
Test drives are being offered on request and with prior appointment at customer’s preferred location. And only 1 person drives the vehicle with a dealer staff member sitting in the rear seat to avoid any physical contact. Following every test drive, the vehicle is fully sanitised including replacing protective covers shielding the interiors of the vehicle that come in contact while driving.
Digitisation to enable social distancing
To enhance peace of mind for its discerning passenger vehicle customers, Tata Motors has recently launched ‘Click to drive’, an end-to-end online platform to select and buy cars. From the comfort of their homes, customers can log in, select the vehicle of their choice, avail a test drive and choose from variety of financing options to book their preferred car and SUV. This platform is integrated with all dealers who arrange for the delivery of the vehicle nationwide.
For its commercial vehicle customers, Tata Motors extended all possible technical support to keep vehicles running during the lockdown. Additionally, timelines of vehicle warranty, free services and Tata Suraksha AMC have also been extended.
To support local communities, Tata Motors says it is actively providing essentials to sections of society most impacted during the lockdown. Supplies of food, masks and sanitisers along with information kits on precautions to be taken for health and hygiene, have been arranged for thousands of frontline hero truck drivers, transporting goods and services in multiple locations across the country. Further, via several channels, the company is also providing educational material in regional languages to raise awareness amongst the lowest strata of the society regarding precautions to be taken to combat Covid-19.