Maruti Suzuki India Ltd will have shorter shifts at its factories and strict safety plans for office workers, vendors and dealerships as the country’s largest carmaker prepares to restart operations on Tuesday after more than a month’s halt due to the covid-19 pandemic.

While Maruti offices would not have more than half of the employees at any given time, there would be a one-hour mandatory gap between shifts in the factories to allow for disinfecting the common spaces, said two people directly aware of the matter.

There would also be standard operating procedures for executives at dealerships to ensure safety of customers and sales staff, the people said.

The Delhi-based automaker has put in place specific procedures to ensure smooth and safe resumption of operations, said the people cited above, seeking anonymity. It has also formed a covid-19 monitoring committee comprising top company executives and a 17-member action plan committee to implement the new processes across offices, plants and showrooms.

According to the guidelines, the Suzuki Motor Corp. unit has asked employees to maintain a distance of two metres in areas like factory gates, canteens and water coolers. The employees have also been asked to follow specific instructions from the time they prepare to leave from their respective residences. The company has also recommended travel through personal or private vehicles. Carrying a mask and a sanitizer has been made mandatory for each worker along with reporting health issues and temperature though the in-house app Wellness Mitra.

In the shop floors, partitions will be installed to comply with social distancing norms and separate set of guidelines have been issued for using washrooms and accessing canteens while having meals.

According to the first person cited above, only those in the shop floor might be allowed to access the canteen and only one worker will be allowed to occupy a table. Most significantly, it has taken efforts to reduce the use of hands or fingers while operating water filters, taps and other such machines. Instead arrangements have been made to operate such machines by foot.

“Staff have been asked to take note of their temperatures…and if anyone can’t submit it, they will not be allowed in. Also, staff in containment zones will not be allowed. The firm shared the guidelines in April and has prepared similar rules for showroom executives,” the person said.

Maruti Suzuki didn’t respond to queries emailed on Monday morning.

Several automakers such as Hyundai Motor India Ltd, Toyota Kirloskar Motor India Ltd, Hero MotoCorp, Eicher Motors’ owned Royal Enfield, TVS Motor Co. and Mercedes Benz have reopened their factories this month. This follows the Union government relaxing lockdown measures to permit gradual resumption of economic activity in certain parts of the country, identified as green and orange zones.

Mitul Shah, vice-president, research, Reliance Securities, said as most automakers have resumed production, “capacity utilisation is not expected to be more than 30% in the next two months”.

“Lack of availability of labour for tier-II and -III vendors may become a problem due to the exodus of migrant labour from cities. Also, there may not be any significant demand in the domestic market in the next few months,” Shah said.

The maker of Alto and Dzire cars has asked suppliers to abide by similar guidelines at their plants. Some of Maruti’s suppliers, especially those based in Maharashtra, may not be able to start operations at the same time. Hence, it is likely start with a modest vehicle production target of around 10-15% of the total capacity, said the second person mentioned above

Trucks from Maruti’s vendors will be fully sanitized before they enter the factory and the suppliers will also have to sanitize the components beforehand, the person added.

News Source: Livemint


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