General Motors has begun mass production of the Ventec Life Systems V+Pro critical care ventilator under contract to the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHSS) and expects to ship the first 600 or so this month.

White House assistant to the president Peter Navarro said the ventilators, produced at a GM plant in Kokomo, Indiana, would be “rapidly deployed to the hospitals of Gary, Chicago, and far beyond”.

In less than a month, Ventec, GM’s supply chain and its manufacturing, logistics, legal, and talent acquisition teams were able to marshal support to deliver the 30,000 unit order from the DHSS.

The effort involved sourcing hundreds of parts and assemblies from suppliers; the design of a new manufacturing process; the transformation of the Kokomo factory; the ongoing hiring of more than 1,000 workers and the implementation of extensive health and safety protocols in the workplace.

GM has enjoyed strong support from the United Auto Workers union, community groups and elected officials in Kokomo, the US Food and Drug Administration, the FHSS and the White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy.

More than 600 ventilators will be shipped this month, almost half the order will be filled by the end of June and the full order will be completed by the end of August. GM has the capacity to build more ventilators after August if needed.

GM and Ventec executives had their first conference calls on Tuesday, 17 March and Wednesday 18 March. The next day, a GM team flew to Seattle to meet with the Ventec team. On Friday, 20 March 20, GM engaged its global supply base and, within 72 hours, had developed plans to source 100% of the necessary parts. On Wednesday 25 March, crews began preparing the Kokomo site for production. On Wednesday, 8 April, the DHSS awarded GM a contract under the Defense Production Act to build the 30,000 ventilators.