General Motors has started mass production of the Ventec Life Systems V+Pro critical care ventilator to fight the coronavirus pandemic. The task is being carried out under contract to the US Department of Health and Human Services.
In less than a month, Ventec, GM’s supply chain and its manufacturing, logistics, legal, and talent acquisition groups were able to provide a 30,000-unit order from the American government.
Over 600 ventilators are going to be shipped this month, almost half the order will be completed by the end of June and the full order will be completed by the end of August. The automaker has the capacity to build more ventilators after August if required.
GM and Ventec executives had their first conference calls on March 17 and March 18 to find out how GM could help Ventec boost ventilator production. The next day, a GM team traveled to Seattle to meet with the Ventec team.
On March 20, GM involved its worldwide supply base and under 72 hours, they had developed strategies to source all the necessary parts. On March 25, GM staff started preparing the Kokomo site for production.
On April 8, the US Department of Health and Human Services awarded GM a contract under the Defense Production Act to produce 30,000 Ventec V+Pro critical care ventilators in order to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
“Thousands of men and women at GM, Ventec, our suppliers and the Kokomo community have rallied to support their neighbors and the medical professionals on the front lines of this pandemic,” said Mary Barra, CEO of GM. “Everyone wants to help turn the tide and save lives. It is inspiring and humbling to see the passion and commitment people have put into this work,” Barra added.
The automaker said the effort involved sourcing hundreds of components and assemblies from suppliers; the design of a new manufacturing process; the transformation of the automaker’s Kokomo factory; the ongoing hiring of over 1,000 manufacturing team members; and the implementation of health and safety protocols in the workplace.
“GM’s rapid mobilization of America’s manufacturing might in defense of our nation is a proud salute to the ingenuity of its engineers, the true grit of its UAW workers on the line, and America’s doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals fighting for our lives at the front lines,” said Peter Navarro, White House Assistant to the President.
About 645,621 people in the US have been confirmed as being infected with the coronavirus. The virus has killed 29,216 people in the country.