Iphone Factory ChinaSource: Apple

What you need to know

  • A source says that it could take Foxconn at least 1-2 months to resume normal production.
  • That's according to a report from Nikkei Asian Review regarding Foxconn's attempts to manage the impact of the coronavirus on its factories.
  • It has taken plenty of preventative measures, including setting up quarantine spaces and infrared temperature scanners.

A report suggests that it could take Foxconn "at least one to two months" to resume normal levels of manufacturing.

According to Nikkei Asian Review:

For Foxconn, in particular, the challenges are huge. The world's biggest electronics contract manufacturer had intended to resume production at Longhua on Feb. 10, when the holiday officially ended, but authorities put the brakes on those plans, citing concerns about poor airflow in dorms, restaurants and production facilities. The company has since received the OK from officials, indicating it has satisfied the anti-virus guidelines, but staffing issues remain.

"It will take at least one to two months rather than just one to two days, for normal resumption of manufacturing," a source familiar with matter told the Nikkei Asian Review. "We have to extremely lower the risks. ... Foxconn's current priority is not to churn out as many products as quickly as possible but instead ensure the recovery of small-scale production proceeds smoothly and later gradually pick up."

"Furthermore, for most sites, we currently only have staff who live nearby, while many of our usual production line workers come from distant towns thousands of miles away and still can't come back," the source said, adding that the staffing issue could only be resolved once the coronavirus was proved to be under control.

Recently, Foxconn had denied reports that it was planning to resume 50% production by the end of February.

The revelation was made as part of a wider story into how Foxconn is managing the coronavirus outbreak and the impact it is having on its operation. Measures include setting up quarantine spaces, installing infrared temperature scanners, and stocking up on surgical masks and disinfectant. Local government guidelines mean companies must use infrared thermometers and have a two week supply of masks and disinfectant on hand. Numbers of daily meetings have been reduced, and everyone must sit at least a meter apart with the windows open.

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Foxconn has also reportedly developed a smartphone app that can alert its employees if they are close to infection hotspots, or if they are gathering large groups on campus. Employees have been advised to eat alone, talk less and reduce meetings with friends.

Whilst that all sounds very strict, another 14,840 cases were reported on Thursday, and another 242 people are said to have died because of the virus. As such, local authorities and businesses will be extremely keen to mitigate any further impact and prevent loss of life.