Toyota Motor Europe (TME) will resume production at its two remaining manufacturing sites in the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom in the week commencing May 25, after restarting its other vehicle and component plants in France (Yaris), Poland (engines and transmissions), Turkey (C-HR and Corolla Sedan), the United Kingdom (Deeside engine plant) and Russia (Camry and RAV4) earlier in May and April.
After restarting TMUK engine plant in Deeside on May 13, Toyota’s UK vehicle plant located in Burnaston is to restart activities on May 26. Burnaston produces the Corolla Hatchback and Touring Sports and production has been suspended since March 18. TMUK Burnaston will organise two induction days for its employees to familiarise themselves with their new working environment and the measures that have been taken to address social distancing requirements, the reduction of common touchpoints and increased hygiene measures.
TPCA, Toyota’s joint venture with PSA, is home to the production of the Toyota AYGO. The Czech plant, which had previously halted production since 19 March following the COVID-19 outbreak, plans to resume its manufacturing activities on May 25. After a full induction day intended to train the members on the correct implementation of the new practices, production at TPCA is scheduled to initially start for both shifts at reduced volume before the plant gradually ramps up the number of units produced to pre-suspension levels in view of meeting customer demand.
Ready to restart
During the feasibility study, several factors were assessed and carefully evaluated before making the decision to restart operations at TPCA and TMUK Burnaston. A key condition from the outset has been to ensure the safety of our employees, contractors and visitors. An extensive range of health and safety measures have been put in place to address the required levels of hygiene and social distancing, and reassure employees returning to work.
Recently, both national and regional governments across Europe have taken tentative steps to partially ease some of the strict lockdown measures that had been introduced in an attempt to contain the COVID-19 virus. In some European countries, these circumstances permit car retailer showrooms to reopen their businesses, allowing us to react to customer demand and the developing market conditions, step by step. Supplier and logistics readiness also had to be secured in advance of a possible restart.
Safety is paramount
The health and safety of all our employees restarting on the production lines is our main concern. Additional shift time will be allocated to allow them to take the time to absorb and build confidence in the vast and detailed range of health and safety measures, which have been taken in line with national government and authorities’ recommendations and guidelines.
In the Toyota tradition of ‘Yokoten’ or ‘best practice sharing’, the health and safety protocols were shared from the other European plants as a starting point and then tuned to TPCA’s and TMUK Burnaston’s facilities. After validation by management as well as employee representatives in union and health and safety committees, these sanitary measures will continue to be reviewed and improved as required.
A non-exhaustive list of the health and safety measures:
- Floor marking to visualise social distancing
- No physical greeting allowed, limit to in-person meetings and preference to phone calls
- Clear hand sanitising instructions (wash frequently, don’t touch face)
- Face masks mandatory and adapted to type of work
- Workplace management to include closing of showers, providing additional space outside of smoking room, etc
- Limited seating in meeting areas, keep doors open and clean after meeting
- Limited catering offer in the restaurant
- Intensive disinfection and cleaning of common areas
As is the case for the other Toyota plants in Europe, TPCA and TMUK have also devoted resources and time to contribute to society by means of donations and onsite production of medical health devices to the benefit of local hospitals or care centres in the close neighbourhood.
Our plants in the UK have been supporting a number of local and national initiatives.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK members continue to support the National Health Service (NHS) and other support organisations, through undertaking volunteer work during this difficult time.
From the outset of the crisis, they have provided extensive supplies of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) including gloves, hi-vis jackets, goggles, overshoes and seat covers to multiple NHS hospitals & first responder units, hospices and county councils.
For the NHS trust, TMUK has been involved with the reception, testing, repair and refurbishment of medical equipment. 3D printed visors have been provided to hospitals and care homes in England and Wales as well as the creation of a 3D printed ventilator adaptor. On a national level in collaboration with Made Here Now, TMUK is supporting the creation of respirator hoods for NHS staff.
There has also been collaboration with South Derbyshire District council in the provision of logistics support and our Quality Audit team are involved in a study to investigate the possible use of Air Bag material to create surgical gowns.
Finally, numerous donations and specific vehicle loans have been made to local charities with causes ranging from foodbanks to mental health.
At the beginning of the outbreak, when the needs were high, TPCA has donated and financed the purchase of personal protective equipment such as 35 pieces of protective eyewear for the fire brigade of the city of Kolin as well as over 2,500 face masks to be given to senior citizens and the local hospital.
In addition, TPCA assisted the city by providing 30 respirators and 5.5 litres of disinfectant liquids.
Lastly, as the Kolin city firebrigade serves as the central hub for the distribution of disinfectants in the region, TPCA has given them a forklift on loan to facilitate these logistics operations.
SOURCE: Toyota Motor Europe