By Xie Weiqun
Machines at Tesla’s gigafactory in Lingang new area of Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone started humming again on Feb.10, after silence in the previous half a month amid the novel coronavirus epidemic.
Before entering the factory every morning, nearly 2,000 employees of the carmaker who arrive by shuttle buses or private cars must have their body temperatures checked.
The gigafactory which plans to build 500,000 Tesla models each year is a miracle in the automobile industry, as it was built in only some 10 months.
On Jan. 7, the factory delivered its first batch of Model 3 sedans. According to an employee at a Tesla Store in China, customers will have to wait for months before their orders are delivered.
However, the American automotive company had to postpone its date of production resumption which was scheduled at Jan. 31 because of the epidemic, despite its plan of capacity expansion and quicker delivery of products.
Epidemic prevention remains vital while the resumption of work is also urgent. Pledging to help enterprises overcome difficulties, the Lingang area administrative committee has sent its employees to enterprises above designated size to help the latter enhance epidemic prevention and guarantee smooth resumption of work.
Sun Xiaohe is a staff member of the high-tech industry and scientific and technological innovation department of the Lingang new area administrative committee. After being appointed as a coordinator for Tesla on Feb.5, Sun immediately got in touch with the company and worked for epidemic control and risk prevention plans.
“Tesla has taken a slew of measures to prevent and control the epidemic. For instance, it has placed disinfection cabinets every 200 meters and separated employees at factory cafeterias. Besides, it also prohibits the gatherings of three employees and above during off hours,” Sun said.
However, there were still problems that couldn’t be solved by enterprises alone, such as the huge demand for masks and thermometers of the factory when it resumed work. Thanks to the assistance offered by the management committee, 10,000 pieces of masks and two infrared thermometers were allocated to Tesla before it resumed production.
What’s more, Tesla was also facing the severe challenge of guaranteeing accommodation safety for its employees who come from different parts of the country. Most of them live in rented houses, and some with their roommates. Such problem was also bothering other enterprises in the new era, posing risks for personnel management.
To solve it, the management committee unveiled 16 guidelines to control epidemic and support enterprises’ development. Besides, the committee also requisitioned 5 apartment buildings that have not yet been put into use. Over 100 employees who used to share apartments and 500 newly-recruited employees of Tesla have moved into the buildings.
Tesla’s resumption of work was followed by its upstream and downstream enterprises, which has reassured many who had placed orders for Tesla models.
So far, about 800 enterprises in the Lingang new area have gradually restarted production, and 77 out of the 78 enterprises with a value of over 100 million yuan ($14.23 million) have set their engines rolling. The implementation of key investment projects has also been accelerated. On Feb. 13 alone, 12 such projects were inked, with total investment of more than 20 billion yuan.