Handset makers take measures to avoid impact on production amid renewed surge in Covid infectionsHandset makers such as Foxconn, Samsung, Xiaomi and Lava have taken precautionary steps including tying up with hospitals and hiring additional workers at their factories to ensure production is not hampered amid a renewed surge in Covid infections which could threaten the industry’s strong recovery in the past six months.

Rising Stars Mobile, a unit of the world’s largest contract manufacturer, Taiwan’s Foxconn, said it has kept isolation wards with necessary medical facilities ready. It has also tied up with some hospitals for emergency and isolation support, said Josh Foulger, country head for Foxconn International Holdings (FIH) in India.

The company, which makes phones for Chinese brand Xiaomi, among others, has one manufacturing site in Sri City, Andhra Pradesh, and two near Chennai, in Sungavarchatram and Sriperumbudur.

Foulger said the company is following its global standards in ensuring that the supply chain is seamless and its customer product demands are met in a safe and efficient manner. “However, end-to-end supply chain is not just dependent on us alone as there are government regulations and guidelines, customers, and local and international suppliers,” he said.

A spokesperson for Xiaomi India, the country’s top smartphone and smart TV brand, told ET that to ensure there is no shortage of manpower amid increase in Covid cases, its manufacturing partners including DBG and BYD are hiring additional contract workers so that there is no disruption while meeting continued strong demand for its devices.

“We are hoping that the pace of vaccination picks up in our country and we are able to arrest the current increase in cases,” said the spokesperson.

Handset companies had seen sales plunge to almost zero during the initial phase of the nationwide lockdown imposed by the government in March 2020. While demand recovered strongly from the festive season, the companies faced challenges in ramping up manufacturing due to Covid-induced restrictions and shortage of labour, among other factors.

Now, with Covid cases touching record levels, the handset makers want to ensure their production is not hit even as demand continues to be strong.

Local firm Lava International, which also makes Nokia-branded smartphones in India, said it is ensuring that the company and its supply chain partners use the same precautionary measures so that there are no disruptions in the supply chain.

“Social distancing management of employees at work stations, regular hand sanitisation, thermal screening during entry and exit, staggered sitting arrangement at canteen and disinfection of entire office premises are some of the key precautionary measures that we are taking, in view of sudden increase in Covid-19 numbers,” said Sanjeev Agarwal, chief manufacturing officer, Lava International.

A Samsung India spokesperson said besides taking all hygiene and social distancing measures to ensure employees at its factories in Noida and Chennai remain safe, the South Korean firm is trying to help employees and their families manage stress and has set up counselling centres at both the locations.




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