Volkswagen of America and Faurecia are collaborating to manufacture Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) items needed on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis response. Strategic planning with Volkswagen has allowed Faurecia—a fabrics and materials supplier for the brand—to begin production of facemasks and gowns to be used by medical professionals battling the global pandemic.
The shift in supply chain utilization came about from an internal Volkswagen task force, created to identify ways of meaningfully impacting the fight against COVID-19. After initial outreach to suppliers and production partners, an opportunity was identified when Faurecia communicated the ability and desire to modify the company’s production lines.
Through rapid-fire operational discussions with Volkswagen, plus an initial order of 70,000 masks and 5,000 gowns, Faurecia was able to pivot its processes and begin production at one of its facilities in Mexico. The company has since been able to significantly ramp up production capacities and is now able to make an estimated 250K masks and 50K gowns per week.
Volkswagen has donated the first run of Faurecia-produced masks and gowns to New York State’s COVID-19 response efforts. The shipment of 75,000 units is scheduled to arrive this week and be distributed at area hospitals including New York City’s Javits Center, recently transformed by the US Army Corps of Engineers into a temporary hospital staffed by FEMA and Army medical personnel.
New York is currently the epicenter of COVID-19 in the US, with 102,987 confirmed cases on 3 April, and 2,935 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University; most of those are in New York City.
The work with Faurecia is the first of numerous initiatives currently under development between Volkswagen of America and its network of suppliers to enter the operational phase.