Businesses propose “buffer zones” at “3 on-site” factories to protect supply chain

Masan Group is making efforts to maintain production of essential goods. (Photo: NDO)

NDO – Enterprises of essential goods cannot supply enough goods for market demand due to the lack of workforce for production and the “3 on-site” model has proved ineffective at these businesses.

Measures to overcome weakness of “3 on-site” model

On the morning of August 8, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh chaired a Government online conference with associations, businesses, ministries, agencies and localities to listen, share, and remove difficulties for production and business for enterprises amid the COVID-19 pandemic. At the conference, Nguyen Thi Phuong, Standing Deputy General Director of VinCommerce (a member company of Masan Group), said that the “3 on-site” model is a goof policy but only effective in the short term (about 1-2 weeks). If it is applied in the long term, the model will be at risk of becoming a major source of infection.

Therefore, Masan proposed the Government and localities allow the establishment of “buffer zones” around the factories and other facilities such as schools, vocational schools, warehouses, stadiums and gymnasiums. Workers at the enterprises can eat and relax at safe distances to prevent them from becoming infected in these “buffer zones”.

The “3 on-site” model is an initiative from industrial parks in Bac Ninh and Bac Giang. In these localities, this model was considered an effective measure for businesses to maintain production and avoid disrupting the supply chain.

When the epidemic outbreak spread to Ho Chi Minh City and many southern provinces, the “3 on-site” model was also implemented. However, reality shows that this model is not suitable for labour-intensive production conditions like the factories have in the southern region.

Specifically, the VISSAN Joint Stock Company has strictly applied the “3 on-site” production model since June 24; however, many COVID-19 infections were reported in its factory, forcing this business to cease operations since July 29. As a result, the supply of pork to the Ho Chi Minh City market was reduced by 30%.

“Currently, the company has 700 F1 cases related to F0 infections, affecting its production severely. They are isolated at many places, even on the company’s premises. This has severely affected the psychology of workers and many people want to quit their jobs”, said Nguyen Ngoc An, Director of Vissan.

General Director of Acecook Vietnam Company, Kajiwara Junichi, said that the number of workers registering into “3 on-site” model is only half the total number of employees, so production output has been greatly reduced compared to normal.

According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), around 30% of seafood enterprises in the southern provinces and cities can ensure “3 on-site” conditions are observed and the number of mobilised workers only accounts for 30-50% of total employees. Average production capacity has been reduced to 40-50% of that beforehand. It is estimated the overall capacity of the whole area will decrease to only 30-40% of that previously.

A similar situation has been evident in many enterprises in fields such as textiles, garments, leather, footwear, wood and electricity in Binh Duong and in many localities applying social distancing under Directive No.16/CT-TTg.

Up to now, following a month of conducting “3 on-site” production, many businesses in the southern region have in turn proposed the government top this model. In recent times, employees have also requested to stop staying at the workplace.

Thus, the “buffer zone” solution at the “3 on-site” factories proposed by Masan Group could be an important improvement of the “3 on-site” model, more practical and effective.

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Protection of supply chain of essential goods is a key measure to maintain social stability.

Vaccines needed for the right people

Earlier, at a working session with Vissan on August 6, Deputy PM Vu Duc Dam noted that the fight against pandemic in Ho Chi Minh City is not to be measured in weeks but in months. Therefore, measures should be calculated in the long term. “The most important thing is to maintain the production and distribution of essential items such as medical equipment and supplies and food”, said the Deputy PM.

Pressure from the authorities forced businesses to take extraordinary measures to maintain the production of essential goods for the market. However, the “3 on-site” model is risky for workers.

The leader of Vissan said in order to improve workers’ psychology and encourage them to return to work after COVID-19 infections was detected in the company, the best solution is the on-site vaccination of workers.

Confirming this, the Department of Industry under the Ministry of Industry and Trade noted that the Government should focus on prioritising vaccination for employees in these enterprises.

However, workers are confused and do not want to stay at work. In many factories, workers who have been vaccinated have quit their jobs in bulk. Some factories and supermarket chains have lost over 50% of their workforce and production has dropped dramatically.

Meanwhile, in many localities, vaccines are being arranged for real estate and construction businesses. In Quang Nam Province, the list of people prioritised for vaccination in the third phase of 2021 includes many real estate, construction and hydroelectricity businesses.

Representatives from many enterprises have affirmed the protection of production and the supply chain of essential goods is a key measure to maintain ingsocial stability amid the current sepidemic situation. Therefore, specific measures are needed to achieve this goal.