[AL AWARDS Stories #3] We achieved the impossible for a large car manufacturer!

30 May 2018

The third entry for the Automotive Logistics Awards Europe 2018 has been shortlisted in the category “Supply chain resilience award”.

Following an important incident in a tier 2 supplier plant of a large car manufacturer, discover below how our experts have succeeded to put in place in record time a solution to ensure the continuous supply of some specific automotive parts.

What happened in January 2017?

At the very beginning of 2017, a fire strikes at a car manufacturer tier 2 supplier’s plant in Central Europe. 

The supplied parts concerned are: dashboard skins with different levels of finishing, door panels, cup holders, central ventilation vent, glove box, etc. 

Immediately, an obvious solution comes to mind as these parts are also manufactured in other European sites: Slovakia, Czech Republic and Germany. Unfortunately, the volumes were too low for a car manufacturer production.

Faced with the risk of having to shut down the production line for some very popular models, the car manufacturer turned to our teams for a solution.


What solution has been found by our teams?

The models concerned are also marketed in China, which meant that it was possible to have exactly the same type of parts as used in European production. the parts thus had to be supplied from the Chinese site in Ningbo, near Shanghai. 

However, some parts needed an adaptation to European market: for instance, the panel skins had to be transited via the European sites to stitch the colors offered on the European market.

Besides, another problem appeared and not the least: it was the week of the Chinese New Year... All of the airports and customs posts were closed, except in Shanghai, which was running a minimum service - 2 hours a day.


No such thing as impossible for GEFCO

Our experts team immediately set up a crisis cell coordinated from France. They were responsible for ensuring the liaison between all GEFCO business lines in different countries (China, Germany and France) and GEFCO HQ site, as well as the client at the other side. 

An air flow was thus put in place from Shanghai and Wuhan (China) to Frankfurt (Germany) and Paris (France) according to the part types so as to supply the tier 1 suppliers and the supplier’s sites. Part of volumes was delivered by Rail from May 2017. 

Collaboration above all: 

  • the Chinese teams handled: 
    • the supplier pick-ups 
    • pre-carriage 
    • outbound customs clearance
    • flight reservations
  • the German and French teams handled 
    • import coordination
    • site delivery 
  • Road capacity was ensured by GEFCO Special Time Critical Solutions



  • Minimum production loss for the car manufacturer
  • Pick-ups made 7 days a week by our teams against a particularly complex backdrop
  • Key figures
    • More than 1,000 air shipments made
    • More than 8,000 handling units delivered

Pick-ups 7/7


Air shipments


car parts transported