Volkswagen has recently held a meeting at its Emden plant in Germany to discuss the progress of a range of improvement and innovation projects being undertaken there, as well as to provide an outlook on the challenges ahead for the plant. The focus of discussions this year was on preparations for production of the next-generation Passat and the increase of manufacturing efficiency.

Amongst the supporting logistics innovations being implemented at Emden, VW is reducing production time through the use of RFID technology, which enables members to identify and document vehicles throughout the production process. According to VW, the use of RFID reduces production time and increases process reliability, compared to the previous manual entry of barcodes.

VW is also building a 40,000-square metre logistics centre, due to open during the summer this year. It is designed to reduce truck traffic at the plant through the use of a centralised goods entrance and will also feature production supply without the use of forklift trucks.

“With the completion of the new technology and training center in September 2013, the Emden plant will also better qualify the staff and thus increase the level of production quality further,” said the company in a statement.

Peter Jacobs, chairman of the Emden plant, said that construction at the plant will strengthen future viability and secure employment for VW’s workforce.

He also said the company was facing the challenges of the current market and that to secure a sustainable future it was essential to develop policies beyond 2013. This included aligning the factory so that other models can be built there.

Volkswagen is planning a fourth model at Emden, where it currently builds the Passat Saloon and is the only plant to produce the Passat Variant, Passat Alltrack and the Volkswagen CC.

The plant is located in the vicinity of the port of Emden, which exported 1.26m vehicles in 2012.

Emden has become the third-largest automobile shipment port in Europe, after Zeebrugge and Bremerhaven. Vehicles from the European and overseas plants of almost all Volkswagen Group brands pass through the port.

Every year, about 800 ships, 80,000 rail cars and 40,000 trucks come to the port to deliver or collect vehicles. About 5,500 vehicles pass through the port every working day.