May 6, 2020
Dear GILLIG Family,
As I write this letter from my kitchen, which over the past eight weeks has become my home office as well as my kids’ classroom, and where we have enjoyed more consecutive family dinners than I ever thought was possible, I am met with mixed emotions. I have been reflecting on what is undoubtedly one of the most challenging periods in GILLIG’s history: eight weeks of idle production coupled with a crippled U.S. economy. Although the days, months, and possibly even years ahead will be challenging, I continue to remain encouraged and optimistic about our ability to endure and strengthen our competitive position. Pre-pandemic normalcy may be many months away; however, we seem to be turning the corner with positive news of better testing, increased hospital capacity, successful treatments, and the anticipation of a vaccine by as early as the end of this year.
I am looking forward to next week’s much-needed return to production. Our Supervisors and Working Foreman will be at the facility this week, conducting final preparations for our return to building buses on Monday, May 11. There are a number of people across our Leadership Team, Safety Team, Supervisors, Working Foremen, Manufacturing Engineers, and Maintenance Crews who have been working hard over the past eight weeks to ready the plant for restarting production. If you haven’t had the chance yet, please review the return to work communication that was posted on our website last Friday, May 1.
With the resumption of production this upcoming Monday, a subset of our Office Team will be back in the office to provide production support. Those that we ask to continue to work remotely, please understand the importance of supporting our organization in a production environment. We must be committed to timely responsiveness and be willing to make a trip to Livermore when needed.
I want to take a minute to compliment how well everyone transitioned to the remote work environment. Although production has been idle, a significant amount of progress has been made at GILLIG over the past eight weeks:
Aftermarket Parts has been busy helping customers fill their need for Driver Protection Systems and working to ensure our customers have their parts.
Engineering has used this time to catch up on a large backlog of REIs while making significant progress on new product introduction programs like our electric bus. Read the latest news about our ebus here: “Trusted Because It’s Tested: Cummins-Powered GILLIG Battery Electric Bus.”
Fabrication has produced parts for essential Aftermarket Parts Service Orders so our customers can keep their buses in service.
Finance has been hard at work completing their daily activities while simultaneously supporting the Leadership Team’s decisions through forecasting and analysis during this very fluid and unpredictable time.
Human Resources has been working countless hours around safety, payroll, benefits, the early retirement program, and all of the communications.
Inside Sales Operations has made great progress on bus orders, analyzing and completing new bids and conducting remote pre-production meetings with customers.
IT has been instrumental in making sure that our remote work environment has gone flawlessly. In addition, they have helped with the new digital communication boards across the plant.
Product Planning & Strategy continues to work with customers on their charging infrastructure procurement and installation planning in anticipation of the production launch of our e-buses.
Publications has completed cross-training exercises, while also significantly reducing the backlog of manuals and helping with the vast amount of internal and external communications.
Sales has held hundreds of virtual meetings with our customers to provide information on their bus orders and the availability of drivers’ barriers for their existing buses.
Service has also been supporting customers, completing PDIs, working programs at our customers’ sites, and undergoing extensive new training.
Supply Chain has been working to ensure an adequate supply of components through supplier health assessments and risk mitigation programs.
These are just a few of the many accomplishments while working remotely. I am proud of everything that we have done over the past eight weeks, and I look forward to what we will do in the coming weeks after production resumes.
As we return to production–now more than ever–we must remain diligent about practicing safe behaviors both at home and work so that we don’t put ourselves, our families, and coworkers at risk. Even though our state is making headway against COVID-19 and Governor Newsom is beginning to loosen the statewide shelter-in-place order, we must remember that the pandemic is not over.
As always, if I can be of help, I hope you will feel free to reach out to me at CEO@gillig.com. For HR questions, please contact Human Resources at HR@gillig.com.
President & CEO