Booming automotive industry requires new one-stop-shop provision from adapting logistics providers

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Strategic time-sensitive shipments avert supply chain failure for major vehicle manufacturer

An emerging trend for vehicle manufacturers to require multimodal capability from logistics providers has been proven by an accelerated recent shipment completed for a major OEM by emergency logistics specialist Evolution Time Critical. As the industry evolves to include more frequent vehicle launches, wider model ranges and often near-boutique levels of option packs, time-compression places heightened pressure on a more dynamic supply chain to maintain links despite often conflicting, turbulent lead times. In order to safeguard often fluctuating production deadlines, this change has driven a need for logistics providers to display genuine emergency expertise and for premium logistics suppliers to increase agility.

“While completing a recent express road shipment, our OEM customer’s production schedule changed and a quantity of parts was required to be accelerated to avert a production stoppage. Evolution Time Critical was in control of the lead vehicle and we were able to communicate with the driver and divert the vehicle to a suitable local airport where we had simultaneously arranged for a charter aircraft to position in order to make the dash to the OEM,” says Evolution Time Critical managing director, Brad Brennan. “Rather than re-route the entire shipment and necessitate the need for a larger, more expensive aircraft, we were able to establish with the OEM which parts were critical and deliver two pallets on a smaller, more economical aircraft, which maintained production until our vehicle arrived with the balance of the material. We were able to not only avert a potential production stoppage, but also use our multimodal expertise to ensure that the cost of the corrective action was kept to a minimum.”

Such short-term changes to production volumes or timescales are typical of the flexibility driven by turbulent demands from within the automotive industry, and demonstrates the need for transport companies to adapt: “The ability for a logistics provider to offer a one-stop-shop is a huge bonus for OEMs, who know that fluctuations in supply or demand can be countered by its chosen partner without jeopardising its supply chain dependability: in this case, because we were already in control of the road transport we knew exactly what was in transit, the quantity that was required to maintain production, how we would deliver it in time and by which method,” explains Brennan. “The visibility that operating throughout the supply chain affords us is that OEMs are able to approach Evolution Time Critical with a problem, to which we can provide a range of options and explain the associated risks and costs of each. OEMs value the ability to discuss the resolution and better understand emergency processes, why a solution is deemed the most suitable and how they can safeguard against repeat problems.”

The recent shipment is the latest in a series of operations where vehicle manufacturers have sought to protect their supply chain through a range of emergency logistics techniques, which have been modified as ultimate resolution draws closer. For example, a vehicle manufacturer required contingency measures to maintain supply from its major Tier 1 supplier following an increase in demand: “Three aircraft charters a day were originally employed to ensure vital material reached the production line, but as the Tier 1 began to catch up, air charters were switched to dedicated road deliveries over a four-month period to ensure the supply chain gradually returned to a manageable level and to provide a longer term solution,” concludes Brennan. 

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