Production resumes for much-needed ambulances

By YUAN SHENGGAO (China Daily) Updated: 2020-02-28


Dozens of donated Toano-branded negative-pressure ambulances are ready to head for Wuhan, Hubei province. CHINA DAILY

BAIC Motor Corp and 10 of its subsidiaries, including Foton Motor Group, will donate 58 Toano-branded negative-pressure ambulances to the China Charity Federation, in an effort to support the fight against the novel coronavirus pneumonia epidemic nationwide.

The donation ceremony took place in Weifang, Shandong province, on Feb 13, with the first batch of eight vehicles delivered to seven hospitals in Hubei province.

In the fight against the virus, negative-pressure ambulances, which allow fresh air in but not out before being properly treated, is much-needed in transporting patients. The negative-pressure ambulances are also equipped with life-support equipment such as a respirators and an automatic external defibrillators.

Work resumed at Foton Shandong Multifunction Plant's negative-pressure ambulance production line, a subsidiary of Foton Motor Group, in the Weifang Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone on Jan 25, the first day of the 2020 Lunar Chinese New Year.

"We talked to every member of the Communist Party of China in our company about the situation and importance of our tasks (to expect them to take a leading role in ensuring smooth resumption). We also took an all-around approach to virus prevention in a bid to alleviate workers' concern in the workplace," said Zhang Jimin, head of Foton Shandong Multifunction Plant.

Though staff members were ready to work, another problem constrained the plant-it did not have enough parts to assemble ambulances because its suppliers had stopped production. Its inventory could support the production of no more than 20 vehicles at that time, according to Zhang.

Foton Shandong Multifunction Plant then sent business representatives to key suppliers' production lines to ensure products were sent out as soon as possible. It also sent its own vehicles and drivers to other regions in China to transport parts rather than waiting for a third-party logistics service providers.

In the quality control process, the company said it used infrared thermal imaging for the first time, to increase the efficiency in final products testing.

By Feb 13, the company had received orders of more than 800 negative-pressure ambulances, many of them from big cities such as Shanghai and Guangzhou, Guangdong province.

Zhou Jinjiang and Feng Yucheng contributed to this story.