Re-engineered process reduces Inventory & Time-to-deliver custom accessorised vehicles

In 2002, one of the world’s largest distributors, based in Saudi Arabia, used to receive vehicles centrally, at its Distribution Centre, and supply to dealers & its showrooms, across the country, after fitting accessories as per customer order. In spite of a month’s inventory of vehicles in stock, it took 3-5 days to deliver any order because it took long to physically locate vehicles parked randomly in a sprawling open stock yard & get job orders processed individually, by mechanics in the workshop, for fitting accessories in 250 to 400 vehicles each day – most of the vehicles received were against orders with customer specified accessorisation. Detailed industrial engineering study was conducted after doing process mapping & analysis of the current process flow

The process was improved with 3 major changes:

  • Stock Yard was organised into X – Y grid locations, prominently marked on ground to park vehicles and existing technology of barcode reading used to capture, in computer, the identity of each vehicle as it entered Distribution Centre, was enhanced for computer aided storage & retrieval of vehicles. The proposal to invest in a GPSS system was, therefore, dropped.
  • Accessories were fitted before Stocking the vehicles, with the basket of accessories, required as per customer order, placed in the vehicle at the point of entry to Distribution Centre.
  • Facilities were organised using Group Technology & Assembly Line concepts of manufacturing and Standard Methods & Times for all activities of accessorisation were developed through Method Study & Work Measurement and used to schedule, monitor & control actual performance.
The company could now deliver orders on the same or next day with only half the vehicle inventory.

There was a bigger gain from the study – company’s management realizing its potential to raise the output by 50 to 80% with the same manpower.