“The result is a reduction in complaints from internal and external customers.”
The Volkswagen Chakan plant in Pune, India, opened in 2009 as one of the company’s most modern, efficient and green production facilities. In fact, the plant was awarded Volkswagen’s Think Blue award for ecological sustainability.
Nevertheless, Volkswagen saw that it needed to change its logistics service provider at the plant in order to manage complete post-production activities for new vehicles from the assembly line to the point of dispatch and the transporters. Volkswagen is globally known for its very high quality standards, and the company wanted to mirror these same standards in India. This was at a critical time for Volkswagen, as it scaled up production at the Chakan plant to exceed 10,000 units per month.
“So during a tender process, Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL) was invited to our yard for multi-week workshops to get to know the processes, volume and the yard management situation,” says Carsten Steincke, Deputy General Manager, Logistics at Volkswagen India Private Ltd. “They really had a good look into the Volkswagen process here and what our demands were for quality.”
WWL recognised that Volkswagen needed to stabilise a variety of operational process at the plant, such as lowering the high percentage of incidents and damages, improving the quality control measures, and raising productivity output that was lower than customer expectations. WWL’s close collaboration with Volkswagen at three other facilities, providing technical services, yard management and domestic distribution for more than 250,000 cars a year, also proved that the logistics company had a good track record with Volkswagen.
In December 2013, WWL was awarded the contract for yard management services at the Volkswagen plant in Pune. The WWL team put together a detailed plan to take over the yard management project from the existing service provider, which involved setting up a core team of experts from across Asia and assigning tasks to the team members based on specific deadlines.
“WWL worked very well with us, and they understood what we were talking about,” Steinicke says. “It was fairly easy for us to make the decision about who was going to do this job. They clearly had the best offer, and showed the best performance and the best understanding.”
The WWL India team took over yard management activities on 1 March 2014, and within two months were able to stabilise the plant’s operational processes and improve overall quality standards. The work included a variety of services: picking up finished cars from the assembly line, scanning them into the Volkswagen system, inspecting and wrapping them in protective foil, driving the cars to the yards and parking them according to Volkswagen’s system, storing and maintaining the vehicles, retrieving cars ready for delivery, washing and checking the cars during the pre-delivery inspection (PDI), scanning the cars again after completion of PDI, handing over the vehicles to transporters, and handling all other needed documentation.
The improvements at the plant were immediately apparent, with reductions in damages and incidents, improved handling and dispatch quality, simplified administration, and with upgrades in performance reporting, overall quality control and reliability.
“The result is a reduction in complaints from internal and external customers,” Steinke says. “The handling is much better, as the drivers don’t damage the cars because they are nicely lined up, people know where they are and they know how to move the cars. The operation is really smooth because WWL has a real understanding of the processes. When we say, ‘Let’s try and do that a little better,’ or go in a new direction, they implement it. Also, it’s an in-time response—we don’t have to wait for two or three days. The people at WWL come together and talk and figure out how to improve. We get quick response, and that’s great.”
The Volkswagen Group in India is headquartered in Pune, Maharashtra. The facility is the only production plant operated by a German automaker in India that covers the entire production process, from press shop through body shop and paint shop to final assembly.The Chakan plant represented an investment of some EUR 580 million, the most ever by a German company in India.
WWL in India
WWL began its work in India in 2009, and over that time has developed a strong base of local experience in yard management, providing service to Renault Nissan’s factory in Oragadam (near Chennai, Southeast India). Today the company has some 500 employees in the country, and works not only with passenger vehicles for Renault Nissan and Volkswagen, but in heavy equipment for Caterpillar in Tiruvallur (also near Chennai) as well.