This year, Audi is expected to produce 150,000 vehicles at its new assembly plant in San Jose Chiapa in Mexico. The plant manufactures Audi’s Q5 for all markets and is also set to become the worldwide sourcing point for this successful model. The vehicles from San Jose Chiapa are distributed to the domestic market by truck and to the U.S. and Canada, and on to the rest of the world by train.
To optimise handling and logistics operations in San Jose Chiapa, Audi has chosen to outsource VPC operations to WWL, putting it in charge of two key activities: yard management and railcar shunting for Finished Built up Units (FBU). WWL is responsible for managing and operating railcar operations within the new facility, which includes operating inbound railcars with parts and materials as well as automotive railcar management. In addition to this shunting operation, WWL also carries out FBU yard management, which refers to the handling of the finished vehicles within the outbound yard of the plant, as well as inventory management and outbound operations via truck or rail.
Omar Mendoza Vega, Vehicle Logistics Manager for Audi in Mexico, explains why yard management forms a crucial piece in the puzzle of the company’s supply chain.
“Yard management provides the basis for efficient vehicle distribution operations,” says Mendoza. “When the vehicles are in the right place, we can mitigate a lot of activities, such as unnecessary movements, quality or security risks, and loading mistakes.”
Yard management is the part of the supply chain in which responsibility is handed over from manufacturing to logistics, storage and delivery. Meanwhile, the shunting process involves moving empty rail wagons and preparing them for loading, all the while ensuring that there are no quality or security issues.
Mendoza adds that various criteria were considered in Audi’s selection of WWL as its yard management partner in San Jose Chiapa.
“Most important were its experience with vehicle handling, and the accuracy and transparency of the information provided,” he says, adding that yard management and shunting represent two of the key activities at the VPC.
“WWL supports the business by delivering inspection, handling and loading with the highest quality and performance,” says Mendoza.
Audi has secured a number of operational benefits by outsourcing these two activities to WWL. Firstly, having one supplier providing the FBU operations and shunting ensures greater coordination. For instance, railcar availability can be matched to fit in with manpower deployment for rail loading. Meanwhile, reporting is consolidated, ensuring greater transparency. Finally, an extra administrative step is eliminated as one overall General Manager can be put in charge of both activities.
“WWL has become one of the most important suppliers to Audi in Mexico, because it performs major operations so successfully,” adds Mendoza. “This ensures the optimal planning of our limited storage and technical area, thereby improving our operational efficiency and all vehicle movements.”
“WWL offers the perfect blend of experience and commitment,” he concludes.