Used car trading platform Auto1 Group has expanded its agreement with Inform and is rolling out the logistics software specialist’s yard management and workshop optimisation systems across ten refurbishment locations in Europe.

Early in 2022 the two companies began a pilot project using the yard management system (YMS) in Hemau, Germany, enabling dispatchers and planners to track exactly where a particular vehicle was at any given time and stage of the work schedule. The 35,000 sq.m Hemau facility is an in-house centre for reconditioning used cars.

Autohero Production Center_2

Auto1 Group is using Inform optimisation software across its Autohero production centres

The success of that pilot project has now led Auto1 to broaden the application of Inform’s technology to ten production centres to provide greater transparency of the parking areas and optimise workflows within the centres themselves. Auto1 completed its first phase of expansion to include ten centres in October last year. 

The ten facilities provide refurbishment services for used cars sold through its Autohero online retail brand. With Inform’s Workshop Optimization System (WOS), Auto1 will be able to fully control cleaning, reconditioning and quality control, including through the capture of photos and videos. Inform said with the system customers can achieve an average 20% increase in workshop and PDI efficiency.

Auto1 Group currently has capacity to process 179,900 vehicles per year at full capacity across the ten European centres.

“The YMS has helped to improve our processes, giving us transparency of all vehicles at our sites at all times,” said Karol Niznik, vice-president logistics and production of Auto1 Group. “It is therefore only logical to take the next step with Inform. We expect similar improvements in the production centres by using the Workshop Optimization System.”

Inform said that refurbishment of second-hand vehicles is challenging given the range of different makes and models a provider of those services has to deal with. It means complex demands for the centre handling the refurbishments in terms of resources, spare parts and scheduling. Inform said its WOS is designed to estimate how much time will be needed to repair a specific vehicle at a given time, and make adjustments to the schedule.

Mathematical algorithms, based on operations research and artificial intelligence, enable the tool to calculate processes in real time, taking into account company-specific planning parameters, and automatically assign tasks to suitable resources.

“With our WOS, it is made clear who is working on what and at which workstation,” explained Hartmut Haubrich, director of vehicle logistics at Inform. “The goal of the software is to automatically adjust the optimised schedule if any changes need to be made in the refurbishment process.”