Inside C-P-S: Digital Transformation in Shipping and Warehousing Processes in the Automotive Industry (Industry 4.0)

2018-11-16T11:49:59+00:00 16. November 2018|Basic|

In a five-year project with a German car manufacturer, the C-P-S Group and our Digital Transformation Center of Competence is a strategic partner in designing and implementing a global WMS standard to create transparency across supply chains worldwide.

The trend word Industry 4.0 is driving change in business and industry. Cloud functions and digitization ensure worldwide availability of data and information. For global corporations ship their goods in such complexity that intransparent and non-standardized processes can lead to inefficiency and thus limit their ability to compete. The economy is beginning to reinvent itself to meet the global mass market in all its facets.

In the automotive industry, the trend towards diversification has been evident in recent years. More models with an ever-increasing number of variants ensure an increased degree of dispositive activities. At the same time, the models will be completed globally on a variety of structures. In the process, parts from all over the world are fed into the structures. The complexity is additionally increased by various delivery strategies such as CKD (Completely-Knocked-Down) or PbP (Part-by-Part).

“In the future, processes in a global supply chain will be tangible and efficient only through IT systems. By using software-supporting applications, the processes can be made transparent.”

The shipping restrictions play an important role here. Our customer has begun building a global supply network through so-called consolidation warehouses within its supply chain.

With this strategy, the car manufacturer is turning its back on its original supply concept. Originally the supply of many parts of Europe, more precisely Germany, came out. Due to the increased international market presence and the worldwide availability of subcontracting parts, it is no longer the location of Germany alone that determines the supply of its foreign assembly and construction facilities.

The target image is clear: “Each part should supply the respective assembly plant with the requested parts via the shortest possible trade routes through the consolidation warehouse.”

From such a requirement, the measure results in standardized processes using IT systems to provide transparency within its supply chain. Our customer drives the strategy of a bilateral software deployment. From a macroscopic perspective, a new shipping system using the new SAP S4 / HANA architecture will be used for the data supply between the construction company, suppliers, loader planner, finance & controlling, the supplier and the consolidation warehouse. This software is at the heart of global information flows. Each attached organizational unit within the global supply network gets filtered the information it needs for its operations. For example, a vendor requires an advice note to process and deliver goods, whereas the consolidation warehouse requires packing orders. Planning and controlling systems are controlled centrally by an internal organizational unit, whereas storage and repacking processes can be outsourced.

Each service provider had the free choice of the WMS. This could lead to interface problems. To achieve a standardized and uniform process, the OEM has developed a WMS, which will henceforth be used in all Consolidation Centers. The Center of Competence “Digital Transformation” of the C-P-S Group has been nominated as a strategic partner for the implementation of this new WMS system.

The assignment consists of five topics:

  1. Process recording and modeling of existing and future processes in the new WMS including adjacent interface processes to GSS +
  2. Creating training materials and training key users
  3. Establishment and implementation of a test management procedure to ensure the processes during releases
  4. Start-up management to ensure a smooth go-live of new locations or service provider changes
  5. Conception of innovative logistics processes to optimize the material flow

The communication platform used in the project is a newly deployed Sharepoint server. The sharepoint gives the user access to the process modeling software ARIS from Software AG according to his authorization role. In this way, processes can be modeled according to the eEPK system and made available for inspection. The processes are also part of the training portal.

In addition to theoretical process training, the focus in system training is on the new WMS and shipping system. The training materials provided by the C-P-S Group serve as the basis for this.

Due to the increased use of IT-supported hardware, there is room for improvement in operative logistics. Within this last work package, concepts are to be developed which can be integrated into the existing IT architecture with innovations such as picking using augmented reality.

After completing the project (probably 5 years), today’s approaches to digitizing global supply chains will have become a bit of a reality. We are very excited to see what exciting tasks await us in the coming years.