Infor, a leading provider of beautiful business applications specialised by industry and built for the cloud, has announced that the automotive manufacturer Ford is implementing Infor SCE (Infor’s flagship warehouse management solution), in seven European countries. Infor’s cloud-based software will automate the process of transferring goods at Ford’s ten cross-docking centres (called ODCs), thus enabling a more efficient use of personnel and resources. Since the solution is not implemented in a traditional on-premise manner on Ford-owned servers, its external partners can also conveniently and securely access the system.
Ford operates its European cross-docking centres (ODCs) in Germany, Italy, France, Spain, the Czech Republic, Hungary and the United Kingdom. In these warehouses, such as Cologne or Saarlouis, hundreds of truck deliveries are serviced daily, and only within one and a half days, by the local logistics service provider to ensure consistent production supply. The workflows in the warehouses must be perfectly coordinated, as the supply of parts are transported just-in-time to Ford’s final assemblies. The parts are supposed to be stored for no longer than half a day in the buffer stocks that are placed circularly around the production lines, so-called ‘marketplaces’. After that they are assembled just in sequence.
All ODC processes are to be fully digitalised. Infor SCE will receive advanced shipping notes that announce projected deliveries including their scheduling and quantity. Shippers are notified about the unloading point and the respective time slots. Upon reception all delivery notes are scanned and tendered through cross-docking processes in accordance with the delivery plan. Larger transport volumes for different final assemblies are divided into several assigned staging zones for shipping preparation.
Damaged pallets or handling units are also digitally reported in the Infor warehouse management system in the returns process. Damage must be documented photographically during goods receipt and sent to the supplier for the purpose of complaint resolution by means of an electronic workflow in order to trigger a direct subsequent delivery.
Consistent scanning processes in these centers enable fast and accurate parts handling, largely without interim storage. From the staging zones in the dispatch, scanner-supported loading is carried out at the loading station electronically assigned to the forwarder. With dispatch notification, Infor SCE notifies the final assembly plant about the incoming consignment.
With this optimised overall process, the software also increases transparency in the supply chain. Ford can track the order fulfillment in real-time and thus respond proactively to potential supply bottlenecks.
The warehouse management system makes staff deployment more efficient for service providers, too. Standardised processes help employees of newly found providers quickly familiarise with the solution. Since the software is to be used in all ODCs processes and KPIs can be measured, monitoring, benchmarked, and optimised across all locations.
“The automotive industry is in a state of change. Now it is important to further optimise the margin situation for the current car models in order to prepare for future developments in electronic mobility,” said Michael Weidel, Director of Supply Chain Management at Infor for the DACH region. “It is therefore essential that car manufacturers integrate their suppliers and service providers into logistics networks to gain further efficiency and alignment in the supply chain. Cloud applications such as Infor SCE enable this collaboration. Ford will soon be able to make the processes at its cross-docking centers across Europe more efficient, cost-effective and transparent.”