Renault investment in Cergy-Pontoise
Renault is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its Cergy-Pontoise spare parts warehouse with a €2.5m refit to its workshops that it said will improve ergonomics through better organisation.
The improvements to the 92,000m2 facility include the introduction of a system that will enable operators to move both horizontally and vertically via a platform that positions itself in front of the part required for picking, removing the need for operators to reach up or bend down.
As part of the improvements, 40,000 out of the 86,000 line items stored at the facility will be reorganised.
The investment and redesign is part of the Cergy 2012 project, which aims to reorganise the reception, storage and shipment areas the facility and also optimise the fill rate of storage areas. On completion, five storage areas will have redesigned and reorganized in the site’s five logistics buildings.
DHL developing urban aftermarket concept
DHL is developing a new aftermarket distribution concept that would see distribution centres, mega- and micro-local dealer centres delivering to dealers, a model that could be applicable for distribution in growing megacities in developed and particularly developing markets. The concept is already being used for Volvo in Sweden.
The model would see DHL take control of more aftermarket inventory whilst consolidating traditional distribution centres as well as dealer parts warehouses. At a regional level, DHL would operate a central dealer city distribution centre that would then deliver to a mega local dealer city distribution centre (which would replace traditional distribution centres); from the mega-local centres, parts would then be distributed in to micro-local dealer centres (replacing dealer parts warehouses). Finally, the micro-local dealer centres would deliver in high frequency, sameday deliveries and night replenishment.
According to Fathi Tlatli, senior vice president of automotive and aerospace for DHL Global Customer Solutions, such a model can reduce dealer stock by up to 75%, reduce obsolete parts and also allow for the use of electric and hybrid vehicles for the urban deliveries, an important point considering the trend in some cities, particularly in Europe, to place increasing restrictions on logistics and transport to put relief on infrastructure and reduce emissions. DHL is already trialling a fleet of electric vehicles in Germany and is using around 30 such electric vans for parcel deliveries in Manhattan. 
The Swedish model in place for Volvo, for example, includes a main distribution centre in Gothenburg, two mega-local centres in Stockholm and in Malmö and six micro-local centres throughout the country.
While Sweden is perhaps an unlikely model for serving a megacity such as Shanghai or other centres in developing markets that could see populations of up to 40m people, the principal of consolidating distribution centres mixed with low stock, high frequency local deliveries is relevant to relieve infrastructure stress in the supply chain.
“Logistics supporting emerging aftermarkets will need dramatic change to cope with both rising consumer expectations and volume throughput,” Tlatli said.
In other DHL news, Tlatli has also said that the company is involved with Volvo Trucks to develop a commercially viable truck that autonomously decides, similar to modern aircraft, when and what type of maintenance it needs based on actual wear and tear. Such technology would have significant implications for the pull-orientated nature of the aftermarket supply chain.
The project is supported by the EU and is made up of a consortium of ten different companies and research institutes, including Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute.
VW begins shipments from Chattanooga
Volkswagen has begun distribution of vehicles from its Chattanooga plant in the US to dealers nationwide with the shipment by rail of 126 newly redesigned Passats to Washington state, California and Maine.
Over the next month, cars will go to dealers closer to Chattanooga. The first shipment will be to dealers for events and early test drives by customers who may want to order a vehicle.
VW began production at the new $1 billion plant earlier in the spring and officially opened it in May; it is the German carmaker’s first US production plant.
At full production, the plant will be able to make 150,000 vehicles a year. It lays the foundations for Volkswagen to meet its target of boosting group sales in the US to more than 1m vehicles per year by 2018 at the same time as winning a market share of about 6% for the Volkswagen Group.
Gefco refreshes look for global fleet
Gefco has unveiled a new look for its vehicle fleet with redesigned livery that includes a new lighter shade of blue and a frieze along with the Gefco logo. The redesign includes a signature that reads ‘Logistics for manufacturers’, something the company said highlights “the international expansion of the Gefco brand”.
The new livery, which applies to short and long trucks, vans, semi-trailers, vehicle carriers, wagons and containers, will take one of two forms, depending on whether it is group owned or rented.
Gefco’s own vehicle fleet (and part of the managed fleet) will feature the Gefco logo, the signature “Logistics for manufacturers” and the light blue frieze. Both will be placed on either side of the vehicle.
Rented vehicles will still have white bodies but will include a blue strip with the logo and signature.
The design will be rolled out worldwide with the gradual renewal of the fleet but will begin in France, Spain, the UK, Russia and Germany.