With its recently opened, 36,000m2 production supply center, Schenker AG, a logistics service provider for Volkswagen Nutzfahrzeuge since 1988, has significantly simplified and sped up the transportation of vehicle parts to the automobile maker’s assembly lines. By way of a 360-meter bridge linking the logistics center with its supplier park and the production facilities of VWN, components are transported to the VW plant’s assembly lines in some 1,100 JIS (just-in-sequence) containers daily — each component arriving at the right time, in the right sequence, and in the appropriate version.
For production of the new T5 transporter, 90 employees at the Schenker supplier park manage a daily turnaround of some 40 truckloads of components from about a dozen suppliers, ranging from outside mirrors to complete high roofs. Approximately 2,000 different items are entered, controlled, placed in intermediate storage, partially pre-assembled, and provided to the production line in the precise rhythm required for assembly. SAP for Automotive ensures that all these processes run smoothly.
Processes largely mapped in the SAP standard
“As we were looking for a software solution for the supplier park, we recalled the positive experiences we’ve had with SAP in previous projects,” says Nzo-Nkatu Kusu-Kanza, systems engineering project manager at Schenker headquarters in Essen, in explaining the selection process. “A deciding factor was the high degree of system availability and performance, the ability to meet future demands, and the good price-performance ratio,” he adds. Widespread use of the SAP solution in the automotive industry also influenced Schenker’s decision, the project manager emphasizes: “A manufacturer or system supplier will prefer to work with a logistics service provider with whom he can communicate securely and easily.”
On the basis of a feasibility study, SAP specialists from Schenker headquarters in Essen and business consulting firm IGZ worked together with on-site logistics experts to introduce the system. The process requirements of the supplier park were for the most part realized within the SAP standard. “SAP has developed outstanding industry standards for processes and IT environments in the automotive industry,” emphasizes Marc Hennecke, manager of the Schenker supplier park in Hannover.
After a nearly six-month implementation phase, the following SAP R/3 functions went into production in late 2002: Materials Management (MM), Sales & Distribution (SD), SAP Logistics Execution System (LES) — a component of mySAP Supply Chain Management (mySAP SCM) — as well as Warehouse Management (WM), and Just-in-Time processing (JIT). Today, the SAP industry solution maps all processes within the supplier park: goods receipt, put-away, picking and sequencing, pre-assembly, fork-lift control, labeling, stocking, and just-in-time delivery to the assembly lines at VW Nutzfahrzeuge.
Moreover, the SAP system supports pre-assembly of modules. All floor coverings for the T5 transporter are punched by Schenker employees and delivered to VWN assembly lines just in time.
Increased customer satisfaction
The investment has proven worthwhile: “Thanks to optimized processes, delivered goods can be turned around faster and orders executed more rapidly,” summarizes Marc Hennecke. “That reduces costs and significantly increases customer satisfaction.”
The JIT processing of SAP for Automotive ensures that vehicle parts are delivered to VWN assembly lines just in time and just in sequence. Schenker also benefits from continual improvements to the solution by SAP and its consulting partner. “The productivity and quality of the product is constantly increasing.”
Hennecke especially appreciates the flexibility offered by the SAP environment: Because of its modular structure, it can be adapted to meet changing requirements and reused for similar processes. “This will enable us to easily integrate additional partners into the VWN supplier network.”