Garrett’s Fast Turbo Production Resumption in Wuhan, China Impresses Province Vice Governor During Visit
China’s Hubei Province Vice Governor Haishan Zhao and his team visited Garrett’s Wuhan turbocharger plant on April 8 to learn more about its successful ramp-up of operations after lockdowns were lifted as the COVID-19 pandemic was brought under control in the region. On March 16, the plant reopened with limited production in accordance with local ordinances and has continued to increase its output week after week.
Zhao and his fellow dignitaries were guided through the facility to learn more about the global auto industry’s essential need of turbochargers and how Garrett’s global production agility and customer-centric mindset helped maintain strong relationships with automakers.
“It’s amazing to reach nearly full capacity right after returning to work,” said Zhao during his plant visit.
“Since the Garrett Wuhan plant resumed operations on March 16, our teams have been actively returning to work with great passion to meet the high demand of customer orders,” said Wuhan Plant Manager Kelly Ke. “The plant is expected to be at full capacity in early May. Today, every production line is busy and running continuously, all with additional health and safety guidelines to best protect our employees.”
As production resumed in stages, many employees remotely joined the process by livestream video to support and guide the front-line operators.
“We’re always working together, and never fully apart,” said Ke. “We want to work harder to catch up the lost time for Wuhan!”
Ke also shared her appreciation with Zhao for the local government’s help in the site’s resumption of work.
“It was not an easy task for Garrett to have such a high return rate on the first official non-lockdown day of production because more than half of our employees live outside of Wuhan,” Ke said. “This was possible thanks to the support from the local government, Garrett’s proactive management measures, and the unified power of our team.”
During his visit, Zhao asked Ke how Garrett retained its Asia customer base during the more than two months of lockdowns.
“The turbo is a core component of the modern automobile engine and a highly precise, technical product,” Ke said, walking the dignitaries through the role and importance of turbochargers within the global automotive industry. “Our engineering teams spend three to five years working closely with the customer’s engine platform, making various customizations per their technology roadmap. There are also strict requirements for manufacturing consistency; taking the central rotor as an example, it rotates at up to 300,000 revolutions per minute, which requires unique manufacturing technology for super high-speed balancing. Thus, it is not a product that can be replicated easily.”
An earlier example of this effort occurred in February when Garrett received special government permission after employing enhanced sanitation and safety precautions at the Wuhan plant to build nearly 2,000 turbos for special COVID-19 ambulances used to combat the virus.
Before concluding his visit, Zhao commented that Garrett is a high-tech company which offers differentiated technologies at high standards and competitiveness and shared his appreciation for the contribution and courage of Garrett employees who resumed small-scale work in February for the ambulance project.
“Our relationships with engine and automakers are extremely strong thanks to our high-end products, global footprint and customer-first decisions,” Ke concluded. “Leveraging our other plants around the globe, including our Shanghai facility, we were able to adapt our production schedules and flex our operations to work with our customers to fulfil commitments. Our teams continue to do an incredible job supporting each other so Garrett can continue to support our customers.”