Manufacturer Miele resumed production at all its German plants on April 20. The shutdown, which had been in effect since April 1, has thus ended. Production is also running again at all foreign plants. In some administrative areas, however, the short-time working continues. In recent weeks, Miele had taken precautions to provide the best possible protection for employees against coronavirus infection when they resume work. For example, face masks are being provided at all sites.
The company had justified the shutdown with the interruption of supply chains and a sharp drop in sales due to store closures in the retail sector. “The situation has eased somewhat for vendor parts, but is by no means stable. We are producing for the foreseeable future, with a maximum of ten days to plan. Short-time work therefore cannot be ruled out in the coming weeks in individual plants or production areas. We are confronted with a very dynamic situation worldwide, characterised by many uncertainties”, says Dr. Stefan Breit, Executive Director Technology of the Miele Group and adds: “As many dealers are allowed to reopen their shops, we hope for an increase in demand”.
Short-time working continues to be in force in assigned departments – examples include administration and areas with public access (exhibitions, Miele Museum). Which departments are affected and to what extent will be adjusted weekly. However, all services important for customers and trade are guaranteed. These include logistics, customer hotline, trade marketing and Miele customer service, in particular professional customer service. Its technicians regularly maintain disinfection and sterilisation equipment as well as laundry machines in hospitals and nursing homes and help to ensure that these facilities can continue to operate.
In order to resume production, the company provides its employees in all plants with face masks, but at the same time asks them to bring their own masks, if available. The wearing of these masks is voluntary (in Germany). Miele is following the recommendations of the German government in this respect. Plexiglas panels have been installed at workstations where there is physical proximity to others. Self-made door opening aids allow doors to be opened with the forearm or elbow. More disinfectant dispensers and information on precautionary and hygiene measures were provided. Miele has introduced staggered shift changes so that fewer employees meet at the start and end of work.
A few weeks ago, the company had already created the legal and technical possibilities for extensive home office arrangements. This has proved successful and will be continued in order to reduce office occupancy. Miele supports parents in this difficult situation of closed daycare centres by offering very flexible working hours wherever possible. In addition, the company offers release from work in the event of childcare shortages, as agreed between employers and trade unions in Germany.