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While truck drivers are out delivering freight to restock bare shelves or deliver medicines and other vital goods, commercial vehicle manufacturers, dealers and suppliers in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic are focused on keeping their employees healthy and ensuring services, equipment and components remain available to fleets.
The concerns and efforts at four companies illustrate what is occurring. A truck maker, a tire-related component supplier, a truck dealership and a trailer manufacturer, separately, detailed their new attitudes and workplace procedures.
“This thing is changing by the hour,” Daimler Trucks North America spokeswoman Andrea Corso told Transport Topics. DTNA is the leading North American truck maker. “We will continue to support our customers at this crucial time while protecting the health and well-being of our employees.”
Portland, Ore.-based DTNA is taking all the appropriate precautions and following health officials’ protocols, she said, to minimize the negative effects of the coronavirus and keep its workforce healthy. The company has suspended business travel.
“We play a critical role in our national infrastructure; without our trucks, our communities will not thrive,” Corso said.
Pressure Systems International manufactures automatic tire-inflation systems, tire-pressure monitoring systems and related products for commercial trucks and trailers and exports to 45 countries. It has taken several steps that will change how it will work with customers “over the next several weeks and perhaps months,” said Tim Musgrave, CEO of PSI.
“We are doing everything we can to be responsive to the ever-changing business environment as governments, businesses, schools and medical industry react to the pandemic and prevent the spread of the virus,” Musgrave said.
Among other steps at its San Antonio headquarters, office and production employees undergo daily temperature screenings. Management communicates daily with employees with instructions on how to remain healthy and precautions they should take for themselves and family. The company also has suspended all nonessential San Antonio office visits by suppliers or other visitors while working with its suppliers to manage any potential impact on the supply chain.
Meanwhile, Worldwide Equipment Inc. is offering flexible working arrangements with employees and customers to provide uninterrupted service, Worldwide Chief Operating Officer Scott Blevins said.
Worldwide has increased the frequency of its cleaning of common surfaces including door knobs, keyboards and other frequently touched items or areas with guidance provided by local health agencies and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is encouraging more frequent hand-washing and increased the availability of hand sanitizer throughout its dealerships. Employees wear nitrile gloves in the service and parts departments as well as its cashiers and money handlers. It restricted all nonessential travel.
“All of our locations remain open to service and support our customers in these stressful times. Our technicians are working to keep your trucks and trailers on the road as you require,” Blevins said. “Our delivery vehicles are working daily to provide parts to your door or locations.”
The Prestonsburg, Ky., company is a truck and trailer dealer representing multiple brands including Mack Trucks, Volvo Trucks North America, Kenworth Truck Co., International Truck, Hino Trucks and Isuzu. The company operates in six states and has 16 full-service dealerships and 15 leasing locations, among other facilities.
At the same time, Wabash National Corp. is focused “first and foremost” on taking precautions to reduce the risk of COVID-19 within its workplace and its communities and is prepared “to respond swiftly as required,” Wabash CEO Brent Yeagy said.
Lafayette, Ind.-based Wabash, he said, is creating flexible planning scenarios to maintain its strategic course, summed up in the phrase “changing how the world reaches you.”
The leadership team is engaged and doing everything it can to be agile and responsive to the emerging environment in the short term and changing world of logistics in the long term, Yeagy said.
“Let us all hope the impending crisis is short-lived, milder than expected, and we can all move forward accordingly,” he said.
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