Automotive works on its mojo
Top of the list here is reducing transportation costs. In fact, transportation is the largest single cost in the supply chain for automotive, says Matt Bush, vice president of engineering and innovation at KPI Solutions. The challenge, he says, is to increase the density of parts and components inside the trailer. But as Freeberg points out, LIB components can easily weigh out a truck faster than it can be cubed out. The other challenge is to maximize the return ratio of collapsed containers on their trip back to the manufacturing plant, wherever that might be, says Freeberg. The standard ratio today is 3:1, reducing the number of trucks needed to return sustainable containers by two for every three shipments.
As Bush of KPI explains, it’s a continuing battle for automakers to manage the flow and relative state of assembly completion of parts and components lineside, where space is at a premium. For instance, a key question continues to be: Is it better to send kits of parts to the line or stage all inventory there for on-the-spot assembly? “The kitting process takes space but reduces the number of steps people must take along the line,” adds Bush.