Magna de Mexico:
Learning to Steer
in Uncharted Waters
A new remote-work policy debuted at Estampados Magna de Mexico in the summer of 2019, one that helped the division to nimbly adapt to the COVID-19 shutdown.
“One day a month, we allow the 40 members of our administrative staff to work from home,” explained Arturo Barboza, the plant’s general manager. “It’s a good retention strategy for our millennial employees, and it proved to be good practice. Even before the COVID-19 crisis, we realized that employees are productive when they are working remotely.”
We were the two captains of the ship, we developed everything from instructions for boarding and leaving the bus, to installing automatic doors at entrances to the building and shop floor, to giving everyone a COVID-19 kit with a thermometer, sanitizing gel and washable masks.
Barboza, who began his career at Estampados Magna de Mexico as a tool-and-die maker 20 years ago, describes his management style as “optimistic, data-oriented, focused on results, flexible and supportive.” The 850 employees at the stamping-and-assembly facility in Ramos Arizpe provide parts for General Motors trucks and SUVs, including the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra.
“As a veteran of this facility, I drew on my knowledge of the people and the operation,” he said. “I know how they behave in a crisis or a challenge, and that allowed me to guide, help and support them.”
Restarting operations encompassed every aspect of daily work activities, from the moment shop-floor employees step onto the buses provided by the company to transport them to the plant. Throughout the shutdown, Barboza and his human-resources manager Daniel Dominguez went into the office every day to plan the resumption of work. Occasionally, they would work from their home offices in the afternoon.
“We were the two captains of the ship,” Barboza explained. “We developed everything from instructions for boarding and leaving the bus, to installing automatic doors at entrances to the building and shop floor, to giving everyone a COVID-19 kit with a thermometer, sanitizing gel and washable masks,” Barboza said.
He adds: “But our first order of business was to accept the situation, listen to the team and their suggestions, keep everyone motivated – and then move forward and focus on the future.”
When production resumed on May 18, Barboza said his workforce initially was nervous, but when they saw the detail that went into keeping them safe and healthy, they felt “confident and happy.”
“They know we are ready if there is a second wave of the virus,” he said. “The main thing is to keep calm. We are able to steer the ship.”