A little over three years ago the HR legal team at DENSO Manufacturing Mexico wanted to establish a production line tailored to associates with a disability. So, with the help of DENSO HSE and a Mexican government organization that focuses on the needs of people with disabilities, the site began looking at studies and conducting trials to identify the specific disability that could safely and effectively be implemented in a production environment.
The group determined that a molding line for those with hearing impairments would work. Today, 14 associates with hearing disabilities work on the line, alongside associates with no hearing impairments. But it didn’t happen overnight. The HR legal team, along with plant leadership wanted to ensure that everyone was prepared and informed, so there was awareness training on non-discrimination and harassment for team leaders and associates. And to assist with communication outside of writing, team leaders and associates that would be working directly with the hearing-impaired associates learned basic sign language.
But it wasn’t just the people that adapted – some plant processes and systems had to be changed. For example, all plant safety and security measures are now visual – alarms/alerts are not auditory – and training on what each light means and what they need to do when they are activated was provided.
Admittedly there were some bumps along the way – getting everyone on board for new processes and mindsets took some time, and awareness training had to be expanded to people working in areas within the facility, such as the cantina, to ensure everyone was comfortable interacting with the hearing-impaired associates.
The line has successfully operated for more than a year and there are plans to not only expand the line to 20 associates, but establish lines, possibly for those with other disabilities, in other plants on the campus.
Congrats to the local DENSO HR legal team in Mexico for making this happen. It’s a great example of how everyone can work together to create a successful, thriving D&I culture at DENSO.
All photos were taken before the COVID-19 pandemic. During COVID-19, DENSO established and continues to maintain safety precautions at all of its locations, including the wearing of face coverings, social distancing and screenings.Manufacturing