Inform and Volkswagen are the joint winners of this year’s elogistics Award from AKJ Automotive for an inbound control and appointment system being used at the carmaker’s Wolfsburg plant in Germany.
AKJ Automotive is a body made up of experts and executives from the automotive and supply industry and each year the panel presents the award during its annual congress for “innovative concepts and solutions in logistics and production management in the car industry”.
Inform, the Aachen-based planning and management software provider, has been working with Volkswagen on the application of its SyncroSupply solution at 11 of the carmaker’s plants where it is run under the working title LKWcontrol. The system is implemented for “the optimum management of incoming and outbound materials” and at Wolfsburg the software sees to it that inbound volumes and demand at the plant is synchronised with daily truck deliveries and loading bay capacity.
The system has been in place and under development at Wolfsburg since 2007 where it integrates all internal and external information from hauliers making deliveries to the plant, as well as from the HGV drivers and workers in the management and loading areas.
Matthias Berlit, head of industrial solutions at Inform’s Logistics Systems Division, and one of the recipients at AKJ’s award ceremony, told Automotive Logistics News more about the advantages of the system.
“The optimiser collects all necessary information about incoming trucks, such as time slots planned and the situation at the loading ramps, and decides on its own where to send which truck,” said Berlit.
He explained that previously truck drivers were given a smart phone with GPS information on arrival at the plant on which they received information about individual truck assignments communicated by a dispatcher. While drivers still receive a smart phone at the gate, communication to the phone has now been automated and no longer comes from a dispatcher.
“The decision, which comes from SyncroSupply (LKWcontrol), is automatically sent to the smart phone on which a SyncroSupply application assures that the information is displayed to the driver and he can report back a status or other information,” said Berlit.
This solution has led to a significant reduction in the number of people required to man the inbound control office.
The system has also reduced processing times, improved the ability to plan and enhanced the reliability of agreed deadlines and delivery times.
In tune with AKJ Automotive's mission to develop concepts and solutions for the optimisation of the processes and structures in the automotive and supplier industry, Inform and VW are working on further developments to the system so that carriers can install Inform’s mobile phone client on their own phones making it possible to scan the material at the ramp of the supplier with a connected barcode scanner, thus eliminating the need for picking up a smart phone.
“This would allow early event and alert management if material was not loaded,” said Berlit. “Then we could track the trucks to the plant, again allowing us to predict the ETA at the plant with online information.”
This latest development, which should be in place at the end of the year, will also speed up the check-in process as trucks with correct information could use a ‘quick check-in’ procedure and remove the need for VW phones to be allocated on arrival and collected on departure.
The SyncroSupply system is also in use as the standard solution for inbound management and truck appointment at ten of BMW’s plants and is in development at Daimler’s plant in Sindelfingen.
Inform has won the AKJ elogistics Award previously, again with VW, for application in finished vehicle logistics at the carmaker’s plant in Mexico.
This year, Klaus Mennenga and Alexander Stadler from VW Wolfsburg logistics planning, Gustav Achtermann from Konzern IT and Matthias Berlit from Inform were presented the award by Saarland Minister for Economic Affairs, Dr Christoph Hartmann.