It’s difficult finding good news in our media these days; but here is something; Boeing Corporation has re-opened the Renton plant in the Puget Sound area, with the prospect of opening more in the region. It’s not a full-operational opening, more of a test to ensure that the health processes, protective equipment and security that is in place is sufficient to re-open fully. The company has said that they may not see a fully engaged production line until June.
In his recent interview with CNBC’s Squawk on the Street, the CEO of Boeing, David Calhoun, said there were plans to gradually open plants system wide.
Prior to Coronavirus, Boeing already had safety as a prime goal, and were praised for their worker-friendly s red flag alert. This safety alert would shut down an assembly line immediately and could be triggered by any line-employee or manager if they thought conditions were unsafe.
In the Puget Sound region of Washington state, 27,000 Boeing employees returned to work. A few thousand more returned to defense plants outside Philadelphia and Columbus, Ohio. A plant outside of Charleston, S.C. remains closed for the time being.
Boeing has started reopening the factories in what will be a closely watched experiment in whether Americans can safely return to work, in the nation with the highest number of Covid-19 casualties in the world. Before the return, the factories were scrubbed clean and adjustments were made to combat the deadly virus in places where social distancing is difficult, if not impossible.
On the east coast, the Philadelphia facility in Ridley Township has also been activated. The company has been working to restart production with enhanced safety measures. Boeing resumed operations in the production facilities and other areas deemed essential on Monday, April 20. The number one priority is and will continue to be protecting the health and safety of their employees, their families and all of their stakeholders.
Since suspending operations on April 3rd, Boeing Philadelphia has taken a number of steps to enhance the safety of the employees including building hand sanitation stations, providing personal masks and training on usage, having virtual meetings to avoid assembly at one location, and performing temperature screening prior to going to their work location. These rules and processes are expected to be an integral part of the opening process before any plant opening.
While this is only an introductory return to test the possibility of getting to work full-time, it is a step every corporation in America will have to take before returning to full operation. We cannot afford a relapse; it will cause untold hardship and last much longer than the original problem.
However, we also should not become nay-sayers. America’s abundance and growth are directly tied into the success of our companies, both big and small. These enterprises are the machine that provides the revenue for people’s livelihoods, as well as the funding for the running of our government.
The business-people “bad guys” you often see portrayed in the movies and on TV are not the rule, they are the exception. This is demonstrated time and time again; because they are the first to act.