Little by little, the auto parts industry is getting ready to get out of quarantine

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The Cordovan autopartists began to take their folders to the Ministry of Industry of the Province to obtain the authorization that would allow them to leave the quarantine imposed to contain the Covid-19 virus.

Many of them are suppliers of exporting firms or that belong to the last items authorized by the Nation to return to work.

The first were the suppliers of the Córdoba (Volkswagen) Argentina Industrial Center Córdoba, which will start working today. In this way, the German company becomes a leading case (an example case) for the rest of the automotive industry, which has set its eyes on this process because it expects to return to activity from next May 11.

Strictly speaking, this plant will start small, so it has materials and components for around 10 days of work. Of its more than 20 auto parts companies, VW submitted a list with about half of those it considers “essential” to sustain a production plan.

In the first month back to work, the plant plans to manufacture 8,040 gearboxes, a far cry from the 60,000 units per month on average it recorded in 2019.

Individually, each autopartist has been preparing their own health protocols and the redesign of jobs for 10 days. The folders are presented to the Ministry of Industry so that the Emergency Operations Center (COE) evaluates if they are in a position to return to activity.

“They are constituting a first line of critical suppliers to achieve approvals of the value chain. Now, they are waiting for approval ”, explained Eduardo Borri, president of the Chamber of Industrial Metalworkers and Components of Córdoba (Cimcc).

An example is Pertrak, which performs parts machining for the German plant.

“We have presented (yesterday) all the documentation,” confirmed José María Manuali, general manager of the company.

The same process will be carried out with the rest of the exporting companies that have pending deliveries abroad.

The objective is not to repeat the problems that occurred when the agricultural machinery factories were enabled without previously authorizing the work of their suppliers. Several companies that had summoned their workers had to postpone production because they had no components.

Not all staff

Sources who know these processes, and who asked to reserve their name, warned that the exporting companies entered the quarantine with materials and supplies for one week to 10 days of production.

The criterion for authorizing return to work is that the process is gradual. Therefore, the company is asked to define a group of “essential suppliers” and then joins the rest.

The same criteria applies to personnel. Most will start with 30 percent to 40 percent of their workers, to control the proper functioning of the sanitary protocol and prevent a contagion from ending up forcing the factory to close again.

One of the provisions of the provincial authorities is that the return to production could collapse the public passenger transport system, due to the isolation scheme that must be applied in the collectives.

As the same sources warned, authorized companies must sign an affidavit that employees called to work will not use public transport, which is not a great impediment, since most have their own means of mobility.

Authorization: Slow process

The return to industry production will not be immediate.

From the foundry plant of Renault Argentina to the automotive terminals located in the city, everyone is thinking about how to get out of quarantine. But businessmen and officials acknowledge that the return will not be immediate and that the approval processes will be slow. This is because not all companies go at the same speed in applying health protocols.

Print edition

The original text of this article was published on 04/29/2020 in our printed edition.



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