Nearly three months after the first effects of the COVID-19 pandemic suspended manufacturing operations, Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) says it has reopened all nine of its manufacturing locations in North America.
The reopening of Saltillo and Santiago truck manufacturing plants in Mexico on June 1 marks the beginning of a full restart of operations and the start of resupply for commercial vehicle operators across the world, DTNA said. The Saltillo and Santiago plants are key nodes in DTNA’s production network, and help support the trucks manufactured for export to the 35 countries in which DTNA sells commercial vehicles. Daimler’s supply chain relies heavily on the US and Mexico for all new truck manufacturing in North America, with components and subassemblies crossing the border in both directions.
Leveraging the learnings from a global network of new vehicle production facilities from Daimler AG, DTNA says it implemented universal safety protocols, along with measures tailored for each facility in its network, to make workspaces as safe as possible and fully comply with all federal, state and provincial, and local regulations. At all of its facilities across the US and Mexico, DTNA also established localized task forces comprised of plant leadership and labor union representatives to routinely assess and fine-tune its protocols.
Among the safety measures implemented are standardized cleaning regimens, redesigned workflows in observance of social distancing, redesigned layouts of common spaces, employee and visitor temperature screening with health questionnaires, and frequent communications to the employees. Although facilities in Mexico did not open for full production until June 1, following the precedent of sites in the US, operations in Santiago and Saltillo did reopen for employee training, testing of safety protocols and limited production the week of May 18, following certification by the federal government.
In North America, anonymized data collected from 130,000 telematics-enabled Freightliner Cascadias provide a real-time picture of the effects of stay-at-home orders and depressed economic activity across the continent, DTNA added. As the COVID-19 pandemic advanced, the weekly mileage accumulated by the connected, collective Cascadia fleet began to drop markedly, decreasing approximately 15% by the end of April.
Through May, DTNA has observed a reversal in the trend, with the weekly mileage increasing every week and projected to return to pre-crisis levels by the end of June. In answer, the pace of manufacturing at DTNA continues to advance, with more than 500 trucks, buses and specialty chassis produced per day in the past few days.
“Our commitment to the customers and drivers on the road for us, our families, and the world remains steadfast,” said Roger Nielsen, president and CEO of DTNA. “Whether at our dealers’ sales and service centers, our parts distribution centers or at our manufacturing operations, DTNA is open for business, and we are here for you.
“Thank you for keeping the world moving.”