Executive Briefings

Technology Advances Support Automotive Warehouse Operations

Providing parts and sub-assemblies to automotive production lines is a highly complex activity, requiring rapid, automated sequencing and sophisticated error proofing. Bo Cheng, director of the automotive business at Comprehensive Logistics, explains how his company is keeping pace as automotive volumes return to pre-recession levels.

The U.S. automotive industry is back, with 2014 sales on track to hit 17.5 million vehicles for the first time since 2006, says Cheng. With 19 U.S. warehouses dedicated to automotive clients and plans to expand into Mexico, Cheng says Comprehensive Logistics is prepared for this resurgence and for continued automotive industry growth.

Warehousing solutions in the automotive industry require specialized capabilities, says Cheng. “It is not a matter of simple storage and picking. There are a lot more value-add services, such as sequencing, kitting and sub-assembly,” he says.

This requires significant automation and error proofing, says Cheng. “When you are building 17.5 million vehicles annually, there is really no room for error.”

For this reason, Comprehensive Logistics developed its own software solution, complete with built-in error proofing, to support this “high-volume, highly complex and high-touch environment,” Cheng says. “The last thing anyone wants is a red fascia showing up for a white car. Sequencing materials is critical and it has to be error proof.”

Comprehensive Logistics’ automotive facilities are located near OEM assembly plants, says Cheng. “OEMs and tier one suppliers want us to be nearby or even on site to manage the material flow,” he says. “We run 240 to 300 shuttles per day between our facilities and OEM production lines.”

Tight communications also are important. OEMs and suppliers send live broadcasts to the warehouse that enable it to sequence the right products and colors for vehicles being assembled. “In our environment, everything we operate is in real time and is completely paperless,” says Cheng.

To view this video in its entirety, click here

The U.S. automotive industry is back, with 2014 sales on track to hit 17.5 million vehicles for the first time since 2006, says Cheng. With 19 U.S. warehouses dedicated to automotive clients and plans to expand into Mexico, Cheng says Comprehensive Logistics is prepared for this resurgence and for continued automotive industry growth.

Warehousing solutions in the automotive industry require specialized capabilities, says Cheng. “It is not a matter of simple storage and picking. There are a lot more value-add services, such as sequencing, kitting and sub-assembly,” he says.

This requires significant automation and error proofing, says Cheng. “When you are building 17.5 million vehicles annually, there is really no room for error.”

For this reason, Comprehensive Logistics developed its own software solution, complete with built-in error proofing, to support this “high-volume, highly complex and high-touch environment,” Cheng says. “The last thing anyone wants is a red fascia showing up for a white car. Sequencing materials is critical and it has to be error proof.”

Comprehensive Logistics’ automotive facilities are located near OEM assembly plants, says Cheng. “OEMs and tier one suppliers want us to be nearby or even on site to manage the material flow,” he says. “We run 240 to 300 shuttles per day between our facilities and OEM production lines.”

Tight communications also are important. OEMs and suppliers send live broadcasts to the warehouse that enable it to sequence the right products and colors for vehicles being assembled. “In our environment, everything we operate is in real time and is completely paperless,” says Cheng.

To view this video in its entirety, click here