A member of the Giltrap Group, European Motor Distributors (EMD) recently opened a new 6,000 square metre parts distribution facility near Auckland Airport. Editor Robert Barry spoke to EMD parts and distribution service GM Douglas Blair about plans for further expansion.
The mission statement outlined on the white paper presented by EMD parts and distribution service general manager Douglas Blair to the Giltrap Group board was simple: “Become the benchmark automotive parts and service distributor in the country.”
Five years ago, when Douglas Blair took over the role of general manager parts distribution service for European Motor Distributors, the importers of Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, and Skoda, he found himself and a team of 26 people constrained to a 1,100 square metre facility in Nixon Street, Central Auckland.
Sales of the Porsche, Audi, Skoda and Volkswagen brands had increased substantially and the demands on the staff and the facility from the dealer network dealerships and independent workshops meant that efficiencies weren’t been met.
The office team were split over two levels and the warehouse staff were almost tripping up over each other in order to get the orders to dealers and independent service centres out the door. With limited space for stock, massive daily airfreight orders were being used to keep service levels as high as possible
And with new cars sales of those brands forecast to double in the next decade it was obvious that a new logistics facility for EMD was needed and quickly.
The wish list according to Douglas: to name a few things, more space than was needed initially for future growth, a drive through yard with a canopy for de-vanning shipping containers in wet weather, and plenty of natural light and windows for everyone to enjoy.
Most importantly, Sir Colin Giltrap wanted the ability to buy the prospective premises as this was seen as is an important part of the Giltrap Group business model.
It took eight months but a suitable building that met most of the wish list was found in Pavilion Drive, Airport Oaks, and the planning and fit-out of the 6,000 square metre warehouse and offices began in earnest almost 12 months before moving in.
Currently EMD only occupy 70 percent of the actual warehouse space, the other is leased to parcel company UPS, but it will allow for future expansion when needed.
Dexion won the contract to outfit the warehouse with a fully barcoded racking system and moving from a building with a six metre stud to one with a nine metre stud also saw the need for three new high-reach Crown picking units which accompany the lower reach units already owned by EMD.
Three automated carousel stock holding units were also dismantled from the Nixon Street site and have been reinstalled in the new facility to be recommissioned as they are will be an efficient way to hold large quantities of small stock items.
Another vital piece of new equipment is the Multipick warehouse management computer software package from Interlogic which is integrated with EMD’s Navision (Incadea) Vision ERP system. All stock items are scanned when they come into inwards goods, then again when placed on the shelf, stock is then scanned again when picked and finally scanned when packed, which allows complete tracking of stock movement.
Through Navision Vision and Multipick dealers and EMD customer service staff can see which items are in stock and then place orders accordingly.
Moving to the new logistics facility more than three months ago, saw a 20 percent increase in orders out the door in just the first three months of operation due to the combination of space and efficiency allowing in excess of 53,000 pieces to leave the building in a month.
Around 82 percent of total orders are currently fulfilled on first pick across all brands and vehicles, with, dealer stock orders are running at more than 95 percent fulfilment rate and daily ordered items are reaching more than 70 percent fulfilment rate.
Now that the constraints of space have been taken away, and with the ability to handle larger volumes of sea freight even more effectively, Douglas Blair says that EMD parts and service will be able to provide a far greater level of service to the dealer network and ultimately the owners of our brands of cars price advantage to its customers as well as greater efficiency when they order.
“We had a 20 percent efficiency gain in the first three months of operation and there is yet more to come as this latest investment in the future of our brands allows us to we continue to find more ways to manage our inventory and resources even more effectively,” he says.