Throughout the corona pandemic, Volvo CE China has supported both the country’s employees, customers and the society as a whole.
Producing important equipment
Far from everything is normal since the outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic. During spring, Volvo CE employees around the world have spent their spare time producing important personal protective equipment (PPE) in order to help fight the virus. Meet a few of those who mix the power of initiative, technical skills and a strong will to do good.
The U.S. is one of the hardest struck countries in the world when it comes to the spread of the coronavirus. Like everywhere, hospitals and healthcare workers struggle to keep patients and staff safe. Important equipment like face masks, gloves and face shields are used constantly and a steady flow of material needs to be secured. In Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, where Volvo CE has one of its sites in the U.S., Brian Rudge works as Engineering Manager. He has been working from home since the beginning of March, and quickly learned about the shortage of PPE that the local hospitals experienced. So, when his boss Tony Zambito reached out to ask if Brian was willing to represent the Shippensburg site in a new Volvo Group North America covid-19 PPE task force, the answer was a definite yes.
“We set up a campus to connect each of the sites, and share ideas and materials to help combat the virus in the areas surrounding our Volvo facilities. For Shippensburg, we chose to operate from our own houses in more of a grassroots style operation,” tells Brian.
A very concrete example of the production of PPE in Shippensburg is the story of the face shield. Brian started building a prototype himself right after he joined the PPE task force.
“It wasn’t perfect, but we could continue to tweak it to make it work. I then sent an email to my colleagues and asked if anyone was willing to help with 3D printing. That alone led to that 15 people joined the effort immediately.”
Within a few days, the prototype was developed to the standards that were required, and the team could produce up to 250 face shields each week. Face shields in particular are much sought after products and has been lacking in many hospitals in the area.
The Shippensburg campus’ efforts feed into the broader Volvo Group North
America pandemic outreach. The group is providing financial aid,
medical supplies, purchasing expertise and other in-kind donations to
nonprofits in multiple locations across the U.S. and Canada.
“I’m proud to be part of a company that cares so much for people. We have so many talented employees, a huge pool of resources and a lot of unique character and culture at the Shippensburg site. It seemed clear that we should get involved and help make a difference,” says Brian, who himself has volunteered in many ways throughout his life and recently trained to become a volunteer firefighter for his community.
Overseas, in Eskilstuna, Sweden, equal efforts have been made to support
with PPE production. Here, local healthcare contacted the Automation
& Connected Services (ACS) at Volvo CE.
“They were expecting to run out of material and reached out to us. For me, it felt natural to help out. Since the short term lay-off, we have had a lot of time on our hands, and I have friends that work in healthcare. It felt like an ideal opportunity to give back to the local community,” says Mally Mclane, Solutions Leader, Volvo CE Eskilstuna.
He and several colleagues started to do four-hour shifts over two weeks, producing face shields. Other co-workers went to the actual hospitals in Eskilstuna and helped making gowns for the staff. And the circumstances for these sessions were somewhat special. In early spring, Susanne Karlsson, Manager Brand Management, was contacted by her son’s daycare friend’s mom, who herself works at Region Sörmland, the authority that is in charge of the PPE distribution in the region.
“She told me about a local competition that had just been launched, where companies could participate and have an ‘After Work’, where they would produce gowns for the staff. I though this could be a great opportunity to both gather some colleagues and make a difference together,” says Susanne Karlsson.
Said and done, she and a few colleagues started a chat group and they
soon had two events organized. In total, they have produced 2,500 gowns
together. To care for a covid-19 patient, a total of approximately 57
gowns are needed in one day.
For Susanne Karlsson, the initiative and this period have meant a lot.
“It gives you a purpose in a way. I have also learnt to not take anything for granted. I think it has brought out the best of us as co-workers. I hope that will continue after the crisis,” she finishes.
Other volunteer initiatives within Volvo CE
The need for masks, hand sanitizers, visors – but also food – is almost endless in times like these. Here are some other examples of what has been done during spring in the Volvo CE family.
Read more about the many initiatives here