Logistics providers Union Pacific Railroad and Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics have become members of the Automotive Industry Action Group in an effort to boost the latter’s finished vehicle activities. The project will focus primarily on information technology, particularly with application to electronic proof of delivery (epod) and damage repairs. 

The AIAG, an organisation responsible for ensuring increased collaboration between OEMs, suppliers, service providers and government authorities, has existed for more than 30 years and is committed to transparency along the supply chain. One of the most important aspects of this goal is the gradual driving down of costs, as well as maintaining a presence to attract new graduates into the industry. It recently announced the implementation of a new non-degree certificate programme in partnership with Wayne State University in Michigan, designed to educate students in all aspects of current supply chain management issues.  

In the pipeline for AIAG is a reduction in the paper trail that surrounds much of the delivery process. Creating a system where truckers and dealers alike are able to achieve visibility is key to the future success of AIAG’s activities, said Bill Kerrigan, the group’s program manager for finished vehicle logistics. “When trucks deliver cars to dealers, there is a lot of paperwork to be signed and noted. AIAG and its member volunteers are trying to develop standards and processes that get rid of paper. It's better for the environment, more efficient, and it's easier to trace information.”

Similarly, damage claims will be addressed, with new standards agreed upon to ensure fewer vehicles arrive at their destinations with additional work required. 

“AIAG and its member volunteers have a huge, ongoing effort to improve processes and establish standards to reduce damages in finished vehicle transportation and delivery,” said Kerrigan. 

Industry volunteers at AIAG will also be working on a global finished vehicle logistics quality manual in collaboration with the Association of European Vehicle Logistics (ECG), based on existing guidelines that will be released in the next two to three months. The aim of the manual will be to establish some degree of standardisation between North American and European finished vehicle operations across the three main modes of transport.  

Kerrigan added: “These two global organisations are leaders in finished vehicle logistics, and AIAG is looking forward to their support of our supply chain initiatives. We rely on a volume of members coming together to get things done. AIAG is where dedicated industry professionals join up and say, 'What can we do together to benefit the industry?’”

Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics’ executive vice president and head of commercial, Rich Heintzelman, said: “As a shipping and logistics company that serves vehicle manufacturers on a global basis, Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics is very pleased to join the Automotive Industry Action Group.

“AIAG provides a well-respected and progressive forum that auto companies look to for establishing common business practices and standards that support operational excellence, quality, and collaboration on regulatory affairs. These issues affect the entire automotive industry, and as a key supplier, WWL is excited to bring its point of view to the discussion and deepen our involvement in critical industry affairs.”

Linda Brandl, Union Pacific Railroad's vice president and general manager-automotive, also commented: “Union Pacific is committed to providing value to the automotive industry through excellent service and innovative transportation solutions tailored to customers' unique supply chain needs. As a member of AIAG, Union Pacific is interested in the pursuit of supply chain management initiatives, particularly those associated with the transportation of raw materials for auto parts, auto parts components, and finished vehicles.”