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GM rolls up sleeves to fight COVID-19

Extra measures put in place by GM to fight virus including increased mask production

14 Apr 2020

GENERAL Motors has stepped up its efforts in the fight against the COVID-19 virus, with the US auto giant announcing it will share its face mask production plans with other suppliers, while also increasing its production capacity.


The company revealed that it will be sharing its manufacturing plans with its suppliers as well as with the Original Equipment Suppliers Association (OESA) and the Michigan Manufacturers Association (MMA), in an effort to help others increase their own production capabilities.


GM vice president of global purchasing and supply chain Shilpan Amin said the aim of information sharing was to make face mask manufacturing as easy as possible for all parties.


“Our ultimate goal is to get more masks to the people who desperately need them,” he said.


“And we recognise it would be counterproductive for GM – or any other manufacturer – to compete for supplies with existing medical mask companies.


“By making GM’s production processes available to the OESA and the MMA, we hope to facilitate other companies’ efforts to bring more materials, more equipment and ultimately, more face masks to the community.”


The MMA comprises 1700 companies across various industries, while the OESA sports 500 members who are happy to lend their manufacturing expertise to the cause.


GM is currently producing face masks at two facilities – its plant in Warren, Michigan and in China through a joint venture with SAIC-GM-Wuling, with studies currently underway to launch similar operations in other countries.


The Warren production facility is now able to ramp up mask production to a considerable 1.5 million units per month, with the first examples having already been delivered to local hospitals.


The brand also opened two new production lines over the weekend, with a second line for face masks and a new line for filtering face-piece respirators.


Existing automotive suppliers including JR Automation, Esys Automation and GDC have been used to provide material for manufacturing facemasks, with the companies altering their manufacturing processes to provide GM with the materials they need.


The American auto giant has also announced it is investing $US2.65 million ($A4.12m) in 40 different non-profit organisations.


GM’s donation includes a $US1m donation to a program called Keep Kids Learning, which provides $1000 credits to 1000 teachers in high-need school districts, with the money to be spent on resources such as books, pencils, notebooks, food and cleaning supplies which will be sent to students’ homes.


An extra $US1.65m ($A2.57m) is being sent to GM facility communities across the US, which will be diverted to charities that help provide food and housing assistance, small business support and at-home learning resources.


Additionally, over 2100 GM employees have volunteered their time and money to help in the COVID-19 fight, with 931 salaried employees having volunteered to manufacture and deliver PPE from the Warren facility.


178 employees have donated over $14,000 to support the COVID-19 response efforts, while 1051 employees and their families have pledged to the Red Cross Sleeves Up blood donation campaign.

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