Toronto, April 29, 2020 – Whether it’s a health care worker, grocery store worker or bus driver, Canada’s frontline workers are justifiably in the news at the moment. But there’s another type of worker who has continued to go to their workplace every day throughout the pandemic. Large companies supporting essential service work also rely on hundreds of employees to keep their business running behind the scenes, in order to supply the front lines. And many companies are taking extraordinary steps to keep them safe, healthy and ready to serve.
One example of this behand-the-scenes effort can be found at Toyota Canada, which operates two parts distribution centres (“PDCs”) located in the Toronto and Vancouver areas. These warehouses provide Toyota and Lexus dealerships across the country with a steady supply of automotive parts which, in turn, allows dealers to keep their customers’ vehicles safe and reliable to drive.
At Toyota’s Canadian PDCs, more than 160 team members process thousands of vehicle parts every day – everything from standard wiper blades to body panels to every piece required to rebuild an engine or transmission. Dozens of trucks are dispatched each day, delivering thousands of parts to dealers across the country.
For Toyota, the safety of their employees comes first, so the company has taken several steps to minimize the chance of the virus entering into or spreading at the workplace.
“We started preparing several weeks ago, when news of the virus first emerged,” said Ryan Parry, National Manager of Toyota Canada’s parts distribution centres. “It’s impossible for our team members to work from home – they have to be on site to receive parts from suppliers, organize them in our warehouses, and then pack and ship them to dealers as required. This is why we’re working as hard as we can to make our facilities as safe and healthy as possible for them.”
To do this, Toyota’s PDCs have undertaken significant new cleaning and physical distancing measures, including:
- Added cleaning crews to extensively clean the facilities between shifts and at the end of every day.
- Time built into each team member’s work day so they can clean their work station at the end of their shift.
- Carts used to move parts are tracked and cleaned thoroughly after each use.
- Added markings on the ground to stay two metres apart.
- A 30-minute gap between the morning and afternoon shifts has been added, so morning team members have left well before afternoon team members arrive. (And to provide the cleaning crew time to clean between shifts.)
- Staggered lunch breaks to reduce the number of people sharing lunchrooms, helping to ensure physical distancing.
While many Canadians are braving the front lines, a different type of essential service worker is also showing up at their workplace every day to keep Canadians moving. At Toyota Canada, these workers have embraced necessary changes and are proud to be playing an important – albeit behind the scenes – role in helping Canadians get through the COVID-19 pandemic safely and reliably.