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Elon Musk of Tesla and His Expeditors Deliver Respirators to Treat COVID-19 Patients As Promised

Elon Musk promised ventilators for help in caring for patients impacted by the COVID-19 virus. Here's the update and our guess as to how the miracle happened.

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Earlier this week, Tesla's Elon Musk stepped forward to offer what help he and his many companies could in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. He promised masks and said that in addition, he was planning PAPRs and ventilators to help. Here's the positive news update.

Watch how Elon Musk delivered the Tesla Ventilators and who probably helped him and click to subscribe to Torque News Youtube channel for daily Tesla News.

Elon Musk's Expeditors To The Rescue
In every manufacturing company I have worked for (5, including Thermo Fisher Scientific) in an engineering or marketing role, one of the hardest jobs at the corporation was that of the "expeditor."

An expeditor is a person whose job it is to make deadlines move forward. Think of a situation where a customer suddenly wants something that you make or provide. Be it a medical device, a vehicle, or even a service. Your company can do the job, but not in the time required to earn the customer's business. Making the end product is not the problem. Your company has the capacity to do the part that they themselves perform. The problem is always the widget that is part of the machine. It comes from Upper Scubbobia and there is just one supplier. The normal lead time is 6 weeks, but to earn this big order your company has to have it in 3. Including transit.

At this point, the managers, owners, and engineers have done what they can do. It's time to let the expeditor work his or her talent. In every company I worked for, that person was a woman. Sharon, Barbara, Jean, and a few whose names I shamefully have forgotten.

The expeditor is the purchasing agent usually who sources the components and has built a relationship with the folks at the widget company.

In some cases, the widget company actually owns yours. They supply the key ingredient in a pie you make as their "value-added" agent or their local market joint venture partner. So threats are not the best course of action. Rather, persuasion is. The expeditor will be asking the contact at Widgets R Us to bend some rules, or to ask workers to stay late or add a shift. Or they will be asked "Rob Peter to pay Paul." In other words, to steal away an order already ahead of yours and move that allocation to your company. In some cases, there are even monetary exchanges to make that happen. In others, it is a "favor" that is asked. "We will help you next time if you help us now."

Bloomberg has reported that California Governor Newsom has said in a media briefing, "Elon Musk: how about this? I told you a few days ago he was likely to have 1,000 ventilators this week. They arrived in Los Angeles and Elon Musk is already working with the hospital association and others to get those ventilators out in real-time. It’s an heroic effort."

Tesla did not produce the ventilators. The ventilators were purchased from a company and shipped from China. A place where the Coronavirus is having a big impact. Yet, those important machines were shipped away from there and into the state of California. Maybe it was Elon Musk who made all the calls to get those ventilators out of a country that needed them. Maybe it was Musk and a team of assistants who did the job. Or maybe it was a single person who worked her talent. Regardless, it was not Tesla or SpaceX or The Boring Company's engineers and machinists and fabricators who delivered those machines. It was a person acting in the role of expeditor who did it. As we give thanks for Elon Musk's successful effort, let's not forget the folks at manufacturing companies who really make it happen when the crunch comes. The expeditors.

John Goreham is a life-long car nut and recovering engineer. John's focus areas are technology, safety, and green vehicles. In the 1990s, he was part of a team that built a solar-electric vehicle from scratch. His was the role of battery thermal control designer. For 20 years he applied his engineering and sales talents in the high tech world and published numerous articles in technical journals such as Chemical Processing Magazine. In 2008 he retired from that career and dedicated himself to chasing his dream of being an auto writer. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American newspapers and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin.

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Eddie (not verified)    March 24, 2020 - 8:44PM

I would like to congratulate the expeditior but if this is a quid pro quo, I'll ask the obvious question is what is Musk getting for this and is it a price too high?

I believe this is a classic example of stealing from Paul and would question the morality of all involved, including the expeditors. They could be just good soldiers but is that not the same soldiers in the second world war that unquestioningly sent 6 million Jews to their death?

With blood on our hands for looking away who can be truly happy with this outcome?

DeanMcManis (not verified)    March 25, 2020 - 3:10AM

Wow Eddie, what a way to overreact! The way that pandemics work historically is that they spread silently until people and hospitals are overwhelmed, but then as precautions are taken there are fewer new cases, and then eventually none as vaccines are produced. China is well past the worst of the spread of Covid-19 with very few new cases and over 73K people recovered. So they don't need this equipment much any more now. The U.S. has been slow at getting test kits available, and we are relatively early in the course of the infection nationwide. It is likely that the true number of infected people is actually 2X-3X the posted numbers because so many sick people have not been tested yet. The good news is that with many states shutting down we are limiting the spread, so hopefully with added medical equipment like this made available, the hospitals will not be overwhelmed and there will be fewer deaths. So kudos to Elon and his expediting Tesla team in moving so quickly to help.