Ford, CEO, Jim Hackett discussed on All Things Considered


Back right away to ramp up production Ford closed all production facilities last week to keep workers at home during the corona virus outbreak earlier today I spoke to Ford CEO Jim Hackett I started by asking him how long it would take to retool those factories to produce medical supplies well it's important in this news to make it really clear how we're attacking this problem which helps answer the question how long the scale of ventilators to the kind of volume that the world needs we have to subdivide the problem make a supply chain for so G. E. N. four to working and consulting with each other sharing resources and this problem will get even subdivided further to other suppliers so the it's my instincts today listening to all the reports from our teams that by mid may we should start being halfway up the curve of scaling this by June you'd be put producing at a rate that would be able to make nine hundred thousand a year wow right that's working with your partners to reconfigure the supply chains reimagine them you say subdividing the different tasks for each each each entity that's right there's not a line of ventilator building in the world that can handle this demands we have to come at the problem differently let me ask you how many people do you think you will end up bringing back to work in order to provide all these men leaders because I know that you shut down production facilities earlier this month yeah just to give you again the sense of the scale here is Ford employees over for you know fifty thousand workers in factories in America today but to produce a line like this you know we're we're getting started with two hundred and eight people in one location you know three hundred and then the other night if we have what it can scale quite quickly but if you had more than two thousand people in the supply chain working of building this I would be surprised if it probably won't get much bigger than that okay builders and how involved was the federal government in creating this partnership that that you all announced today for three M. and G. E. health well I never got a call to started but I was talking to Larry Kudlow and the White House in saying Hey we have a history of Ford the arsenal of democracy is a famous story where it will run we build a bomber every sixty three minutes that we want to help and he said go for it and the department of defense has been involved so there's been total support from the government go for it Ford come back to us tell us what you need and so we've we've got a really open line of communication with them and this is something I prefer frankly which is let the entrepreneur in the innovation team work the government help us get through any kind of friction as we get these things built they're going to help us distribute them because they FEMA has an extensive network to get things to people quickly so it's hand in glove kind of working together I want to talk about this how to work with the federal government because there has been a lot of talk about the defense production act this would mobilize the private sector to provide the federal government with needed supplies during times of crisis what guidance how have you gone in general from the federal government this week on whether they will end up using the defense production act we I haven't been involved in the policy discussions of the of the application of that because I think it's my observation watching the president also in press conferences saying that he's got a business instinct where he thinks leading turning business loose to let them work through the system the way they know how to compete you get a better output versus kind of nationalizing production and you agree with that you agree that it should be on companies to step up first and if they eventually need help with from the federal government they can ask for it but in the beginning companies should act on their own initiative is that we are more than more than believe that I think it's it's by far proven that it's the best way and listen this is the state of America every time the country's ever have a challenge like this businesses came together and responded in amazing ways it's actually the most responsive fastest way to get something to happen I want to talk about the new year remaining plants will be shut down until the end of the month that was announced just a week ago about a few days ago are you considering extending that time period because the end of March is just a week from today that's a really fair question and we always said in in joint discussions with Rory gamble of the U. A. W. that our first obligation is to make everyone safe and that by you know sheltering in place and social distancing flatten the curve and we can get back to work is we look at the growth of the curve right now I think it's probably going to be premature but not by ten weeks or something that would be really damaging to the economy we're talking about you know maybe twice the time longer so we may be looking at four weeks from now got it I'm gonna switch gears a little bit and talk about the economy we're already experiencing major job loss across the country and there are a lot of economists who say that we could very well be headed for a recession how prepared is Ford to weather a recession at this point well you we've been tutors based on you know experience before and then personally I ran a company called steel case through the last great recession so anyone who's been in business for the last twenty years noon to get your balance sheet ready for unexpected event management is what we call it so Ford did not take any bail out money in oh six oh eight and in in in the company came roaring back in this case we kept the balance sheet stocked with more cash than we probably needed and in fact last week we took the extraordinary action of pulling down the line of credit a fifteen billion so we have we're sitting on about thirty seven billion in cash this is more than enough this would be much more than we need and then the last great recession but we modeled what we would need if there was no sales you know how worried are you about a major drop in demand for new cars is that a real concern here's my optimism if we can find ourselves to be really disciplined about the shelter in place we can come out of the economic effects in mid may and the country can be turned back on rare really rapidly we're we're certainly in financial shape to keep things going we are going to get rid of workers were trying to really take care of them during this period so that when this is over we just turn the thing back on Jim Hackett is the CEO of Ford motor company thank you very much for joining us today thank you the corona virus pandemic has hospitals and doctors scrambling to find enough medical supplies like masks and hospital gowns some states are ordering a stop to non essential medical procedures to help preserve those supplies but what are non essential procedures there's a debate now over whether abortion should fall into that category NPR national correspondent cinema cameras following this and joins us now hi Sir how ARE abortion has always been a politically charged issue in normal times how is this corona virus pandemic amplifying the debate some anti abortion rights advocates activists are calling for abortion to be considered an elective procedure and to be banned by states during this outbreak in an effort to conserve medical supplies in a letter today to the federal department of health and Human Services a few dozen anti abortion rights groups including Susan B. Anthony list family Research Council and the southern Baptist ethics and religious liberty commission among others are asking HHS secretary Alex azar to urge abortion providers to quote cease operations during the corona virus outbreak I spoke to Mallory Quigley whose with one of those groups the Susan B. Anthony list abortion is never it's never necessary you know there are other alternatives and we want to see a state health officials and governments be promoting alternatives during this time and quickly argues that one women who would be required to continue pregnancies rather than having an abortion would likely give birth in several months fleet freeing up supplies right now so that letter went to federal officials what's happening at the state level more than a dozen states have ordered elective procedures to be stopped for now and this is true in both states that are led by Republicans and Democrats some have not clarified how or if that applies to abortion others like New Jersey and Massachusetts have explicitly said this does not apply to abortion and then Republican officials in at least two states so far Ohio and Texas have ordered abortion providers to stop performing the procedure during the pandemic and so water abortion providers in those states doing well in Ohio Planned Parenthood officials are essentially saying they disagree with the state Attorney General interpretation of their governor Mike DeWine's order to stop elective procedures they say abortion is an essential health service they believe continuing to perform the procedure does comply with that order but they're scaling back other services as they can in Texas Planned Parenthood says they're reviewing an order from governor Greg Abbott and also making an effort to conserve supplies there any queues abortion rights opponents of politicizing this pandemic here's Jacqueline errors with Planned Parenthood federation of America abortion is an essential time sensitive medical procedure and we know that medical experts have made this clear and we should not be delaying or creating additional barriers for people to get access to the healthcare that they need including abortion act that and that's in line with what some major medical groups like the American college of obstetricians and gynecologists are saying that abortions essential and time sensitive so far we're not hearing of any legal action but we will be watching this as this continues NPR national correspondent Sarah McCammon thank you very much thank you.

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