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Batch & Job Production

GM, Others Getting ‘More Masks to the People Who Desperately Need Them’


The COVID-19 crisis has led to an unprecedented demand for medical supplies from medical personnel working on the frontlines to treat those infected with the virus. A best practice that has emerged from this is the willingness of companies to share information, products and whatever else to help out.

Take General Motors (GM), which is not only increasing production capacity for face masks at its Warren, Mich., facility, but is sharing its manufacturing plans with GM suppliers along with the Original Equipment Suppliers Association (OESA) and the Michigan Manufacturers Association (MMA) to help other manufacturers ramp up their own production efforts.

“Our ultimate goal is to get more masks to the people who desperately need them,” said Shilpan Amin, GM vice president of global purchasing and supply chain. “And we recognize 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.”

John Walsh, MMA president and CEO, noted the association has 1,700 companies across all industries, and many are looking for ways to help during the crisis.

“GM’s production plans and [its] willingness to share design specifications will be extremely appreciated as our members accelerate their own efforts to help during this crisis,” he said.

Julie A. Fream, OESA president and CEO, said the crisis presents an excellent opportunity for automotive suppliers to champion the efforts of healthcare workers and provide much-needed personal protective equipment to help fight the global coronavirus pandemic.

GM is currently producing face masks in Warren and in China through a joint venture with SAIC-GM-Wuling. Studies are underway to launch similar initiatives in other countries.

The Warren facility can now produce up to 1.5 million face masks a month.

GM is also building 30,000 ventilators for the national stockpile for $489.4 million, the first contract under the Defense Production Act issued by President Trump last month. GM will produce and deliver the ventilators to the government by the end of August.


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