Opel has won the 2015 VDA Logistics award for its ‘order slotting’ application.

This is the eighth year that the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) has presented an award to a company for an example of an intelligent logistics system that can serve as a model for other players in the automotive industry.


One of the major challenges in supply chains today is for OEMs to manage parts availability against their production schedules with as much flexibility as possible, and as far in advance as possible. Shortages can lead to delays if a plant has to rearrange a sequence, or lead to additional costs because of the need to use premium freight services.

Opel has successfully streamlined its operations in vehicle ordering and material supplies, managing to create a close network between the two areas both procedurally and organisationally. Incoming vehicle order for the production plants is now controlled in real-time, simultaneously, and under consideration of available materials, especially considering the material pipeline of overseas suppliers. Order scheduling at the OEM has move from being sequential, to integrated, which allows Opel to react more quickly to changing conditions.

Michael Scholl, director supply chain, Opel told Automotive Logistics last year: “To protect the suppliers from volatility created by order changes, we work with a pick-up sheet concept that fixes material call-offs two weeks prior to pickup at the supplier side.”  

The new system was developed by a cross-divisional Opel team, including logistics experts, employees working in materials management, and order management, and in cooperation with IT experts from sequencing software provider flexis. Users can benefit from a future period preview of 40 weeks, and the system considers around 45,000 part number for 20 Opel models made in seven European production plants. It offers advantages including transparency, flexibility, low material stocks, and reduction of special material shipment.

Customers also benefit from the system as vehicle delivery dates can be more accurately predicted, which is becoming increasingly important to consumers.

Katherine Worthen, vice president, purchasing and supply chain, Opel said, “This innovative solution is further proof for our `change your mind´ approach at Opel and our willingness to change the corporate culture. We changed organisational structures and, thanks to a cross-divisional team, introduced a system that allows outstanding flexibility – for the benefit of our customers.”

The hosts of the 2015 VDA Logistics Award, Prof. Dr Wolfgang Stölzle and Matthias Wissmann, with the successful Opel team around Michael Scholl, director, Supply Chain